Hackmatack Playhouse to offer two youth summer theater camps

·3 min read
Hackmatack Youth Camp production of The Jungle Book Jr.
Hackmatack Youth Camp production of The Jungle Book Jr.

BERWICK, Maine — Hackmatack Playhouse, in Berwick, Maine, is returning this summer with two theater opportunities for young actors. For the past 44 years, aspiring actors aged 7 to 13 have found their way to Hackmatack youth camp to develop their artistic voice and love for theater. The camp is a staple in the Seacoast region, providing many local kids with the experience of learning about theater in a rustic farm setting.

"I have been going to kids' camp since I was seven years old," says Delaney Baldwin, age 14, "Something about being at the barn in the summer and learning about theater while making lifelong friends will always hold a special place in my heart."

This summer, the camp is directed by Hanna Street, an established local performer with a B.A. in Musical Theatre from Plymouth State University.

"I am thrilled to be the Youth Camp Director for Hackmatack this summer," said Street, "I have both attended and been a counselor for theater camps for children and found the experience rewarding. Many of the techniques I use now as an actor I learned at theater camps in my youth."

The three-week summer camp provides kids early exposure to acting, music, and theater. Through a curriculum emphasizing agency and empathy, the young actors are taught the fundamentals of theater and showcase their talents at final performances.

According to Street, "Campers will be taught the process and details of staging a play over three weeks of experiential learning. My hope is that the campers leave more excited about theater than when they started."

This summer, Hackmatack is also introducing a new youth program geared toward teenagers. The Future Theater Professionals is an intensive for actors aged 12 to 16 who want to further perfect their craft.

Led by Jacob J. Zentis, a seacoast-based artist with an extensive background in theater education for artists of all ages, the Future Theater Professionals Intensive is a two-week camp designed for participants to gain a deeper level of theater education.

Hackmatack Youth Camp production of Little Mermaid, Jr.
Hackmatack Youth Camp production of Little Mermaid, Jr.

The camp will develop the young actors' knowledge of theater through individual artistic development, audition and performance repertoire, and the general operations of a theater. Campers will gain hands-on experience in costuming, technical design, and vocal coaching from professional staff members.

"This is an opportunity for young theater artists to dip their toes into what studying theater at a higher education level is like. Students will leave the program with tailored audition pieces along with process-based techniques empowering them to tackle any project that they encounter in their future," said Zentis, who is also directing Godpsell on Hackmatack's mainstage this summer.

"I was really sad that I aged out of kid’s camp this year because I can't picture my summer without Hackmatack. I am so excited that there is now this opportunity for me." said Baldwin, "I am eager to learn from Jacob and to gain skills that I can use while I continue to pursue theater professionally."

Both day camps run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., a convenient time for young actors to rehearse, explore and interact with the pigs and bison at Hackmatack's adjacent working farm.

The Future Theater Professionals Intensive runs from July 17 to July 28 with a tuition of $600.

The traditional Hackmatack Youth Theater Camp for ages 7 to 13 runs from July 31 to Aug. 19, with performances on Aug. 18 and Aug. 19. The cost of the summer camp is $900.

Both camps offer a tuition discount if registration is finalized by April 30. For more information, parents can call 207-698-1807 or visit bit.ly/hackmatackcamp.

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Hackmatack Playhouse to offer two youth summer theater camps