The Teen Musical Theatre program will return to Qualicum Beach’s Village Theatre (110 Second Ave. W) this summer and will include four performances of Godspell.
The camp starts July 25 and runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for three weeks, until Aug. 14. The students will put on an evening show Friday, Aug. 12, followed by a matinee and evening performance on Saturday, Aug. 13 and a matinee on Sunday, Aug. 14.
Godspell was chosen because it will allow the actors to share roles, so that in two performances one person can play a main character and then switch to a smaller, chorus role for the other two shows, according to Hilary Whelton, vocal coach, co-ordinator and one of the camp’s two instructors.
She and Miranda Murphy, co-director and choreographer, had the idea several months ago, while discussing the possibility of bringing the camp back.
“We were in the middle of the Omicron wave at that point,” Whelton said.
“And so we were casting about in our minds for a show that we loved and wanted to do, but also one that had a smaller cast, so it would be less crowded backstage in the time of COVID.”
Double-casting the roles also provides a backup, in case of illness, Whelton said. They are hoping to have approximately 15 young players attend the camp.
Godspell is a musical composed by Stephen Schwartz, based on a book by John-Michael Tebelak. It opened off-Broadway in 1971 and has since been produced by multiple touring companies and in many revivals.
The musical is structured as a series of parables, primarily based on the Gospel of Matthew, interspersed with music set primarily to lyrics from traditional hymns.
2022 will be a bit of a rebuilding year, according to Whelton, both because of the COVID gap and the folding of Bard to Broadway earlier this year.
Fortunately, ECHO Players stepped in to adopt the teen musical theatre camp.
Whelton was involved with Bard to Broadway, in one capacity or another, since its second season and coached nearly all the main stage musicals for 20 years, in addition to the education programs.
For some teens, the camp will be their first theatre experience, while others may have previous experience with the ECHO Players. Often kids will graduate from the JUMP (Junior Music and Performance) program for six-to-12-year-olds into the teen program.
“The fact that most of them come back, I think speaks for itself,” Whelton said. “There’s a lot of camaraderie.”
Whelton is a qualified voice teacher and Murphy is a triple threat — proficient in singing, dancing and acting. The instructors also encourages teens to mentor each other.
Grads of the musical theatre camp have gone on to post-secondary training in the performing arts at institutions such as Randolph College for the Performing Arts, York University, Canadian College for the Performing Arts and the UBC School of Music’s opera program, according to Whelton, who holds diplomas in Classical Voice and Jazz Voice and has been teaching in the mid-Island since 1999.
Students will also get a chance to learn the ropes of putting together the production’s sets, costumes and props.
They will likely be joined by returning alumni, who often come back to help with front of house, marketing and ushering, Whelton said.
“It takes all of those people to make a production, not just the people you see on stage,” she added.
For information and registration, contact Whelton at 250-954-9253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.