The annual Norfolk Youth Theatre summer camp and performances were held last week in the Cox Activities Center at Northeast Community College.
This year’s performance, entitled “Under the Stars,” featured a quartet of Native American legends adapted for the stage.
NYT was created through a partnership between the Norfolk Community Theatre (NCT) and the Norfolk Arts Center.
It offers youth ages 10-18 the opportunity to experience all facets of the theatre. Headed up by Libby McKay, NCT Board of Directors president, the week-long camp immerses the students in hands-on theatre education.
Participants help build sets, create costumes and props, learn technical aspects and take acting workshops. The week culminates in two performances held for the public on stage at Northeast.
The unique aspect of NYT is that the program is not just for actors. Students interested in art, set design, make-up or lighting, for example, get hands-on experience in bringing a production to fruition.
All students take part in each aspect of the production, but they are given the opportunity to choose which areas they’d like to emphasize.
Students who live for the stage can try out for larger parts while those who prefer to hone their off-stage craft can opt for smaller roles that leave more time for development of their other skills. Experiencing each aspect of the theatre gives all the students an appreciation for everyone’s part in bringing the stories to life.
Though this is youth theatre, the production is sophisticated. The “Under the Stars” production included music, projection, a fog machine, puppetry and costume and set changes.
The scripts were adapted by members of the NCT and remained respectful to their cultural origins.
The directors, production manager and other instructors are experienced thespians as well, providing the students with knowledge gained from experience and an enthusiasm for the medium.
The NYT camp has been offered for five years. Now children ages 5-9 can have their own theatre experience geared specifically to them.
The inaugural NYTjr camp will be held the week of July 26. Like their older counterparts, all of the junior theatre players will participate in workshops for acting and tech.
The week culminates in two performances on the stage at Northeast. The theme is “Down on the Farm.” Limited spots are available, so reserve your child’s spot early. Registration can be made through the NAC website or by calling the NAC.
Upcoming student opportunities
Summer vacation may be half over, but there are still some exciting opportunities for students to experience the arts.
The Elkhorn Valley Museum, the Norfolk Public Library and Northeast have teamed up to present Student Short Film Camp on July 15 and 16.
Students entering ninth grade through 12th grade will work with the Northeast media arts instructors to learn story structure and adaptation for film.
Students will develop and create short stories, learning visual storytelling and camera work as part of the process.
The NAC has a variety of classes available to youth of all ages, from phone photography to paper making to slime. Check their website for class information.