Some of the young actors rehearse for last year’s Summer Youth Theatre Workshop production of the Secret of Summer Island. — NEWS file photo

Summer Youth Theatre Workshop in 20th year

Spaces still left for one-week program at Village Theatre

Time flies when you’re having fun, so it’s no wonder the founder of the Summer Youth Theatre Workshop can’t believe the program’s 20th year is already here.

Thea Stavroff started the one-week workshop after putting out a casting call for children for an ECHO Players production of Aladdin, she said.

Eighty-six kids arrived at the audition. “I had said anyone who wants to be in the play can be in the play,” said Stavroff with a chuckle. “So I realized there was a huge interest in theatre in the area.”

True to her word, all 86 young actors got to take part, with Stavroff splitting them into two groups so they could alternate being in the show, she said.

She’s now spent 20 years teaching kids ages seven to 14 how to act and put on a theatre performance, often writing the shows herself.

This year’s workshop runs from July 16 to the 22 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach, with 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances taking place the last day.

The play this year, Camp Kanata, is a bit of a celebration of Canada’s 150th, and focuses on children attending a summer camp of the same name, said Stavroff.

There’s still space for more young actors to take part — no prior experience necessary, said Stavroff, who hopes to have 35 or 40 kids each year. Cost is $145 for the week.

Many have gone through the program over the years, including Nathan Medd, who’s gone on to become managing director of English Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre, as well as Zachary Stevenson, an actor/musician known for portraying Buddy Holly in the Buddy Holly Story, Stavroff said.

But whether you go on to have a career in the theatre or not, acting on stage has plenty to offer, said Stavroff.

“I love the imagination, I love the working together as a team, I love the confidence you get. It takes a lot of courage to walk out on stage sometimes. I love that you practise at something and then you succeed at it,” she said.

For more information, contact Stavroff at tstavroff@telus.net.

“I’m kind of excited at it being 20 years,” she said. “It’s gone by really fast, but they’ve been a lot of fun.”

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