All the world’s a stage for students who attend Micanopy retreat


Published: Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 6:03 p.m.

A new summer theater camp for young people is adding the outdoors to the study of drama.

Facts

If you go

What: Pop Up Theater Camp, a weeklong camp for children ages 10-16
When: 8:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. July 29 to Aug. 2
Cost: $375 per child, includes a one-night sleepover and daily breakfast
Where: Casa Micanopy, 22259 NW 75th Ave. Road, Micanopy
Registration: Through July 24. Go to wethepeopletheater.org

Gabrielle Byam, who has been involved in teaching young people about the theater for more than 17 years, said she got the idea for the Pop Up Theater Camp a few years ago while watching a movie.

Byam, who is a prevention specialist with the Hippodrome Theatre's education department, recently established the We The People Theatre Arts Initiative, a local nonprofit organization that uses theater arts to foster positive character development and growth in youths.

"We wanted to use theater to give young actors a voice," Byam said.

The weeklong Pop Up Theater Camp for students ages 10 through 16 takes place July 29 to Aug. 2.

The camp is taught by veteran theater professionals from Gainesville, Boston and New York, Byam said.

In addition to play writing and improvisation classes, students can take lessons in Brazilian martial arts, hip hop dance and yoga.

Byam said the variety of classes will help students learn the different aspects of acting.

"We want to enliven their imaginations and show them how to tell a story in different ways," Byam said.

Students will spend the week at Casa Micanopy Retreat Center, a six-acre facility with a yoga room, swimming pool and other amenities.

The outdoor environment at the center sets the camp apart from other theater camps, said Liberty Phoenix Lord, board president of the We The People Theatre Arts Initiative.

Throughout the week, students will write and rehearse 10-minute plays inspired by the town of Micanopy, which they will visit and photograph.

Six plays will be chosen to be performed on the final night.

Students will take part in a music video produced by Bears & Lions, a Gainesville rock band whose members wear bear and lion costumes during performances.

Students also will spend one night at the retreat center "glamping," as Byam calls indoor camping with amenities.

For the final act of the week, students will perform a contemporary version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Ashlyn King, who will teach classes at the camp, said Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a great classic for the students to tackle.

"It's about going into a magical world and coming out with a new perspective," said King, who has taught theater at Hoggetowne Middle School. "It allows for the kind of imagination and play we want to foster."

Students will perform the play on an outdoor stage beneath a pop-up tent.

Pop Up Theater Camp registration is open through July 24 and costs $375.

To register, visit wethepeople theater.org.

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