SIDNEY — Even with events and programs across the state shutting down in the midst of a global pandemic, the staff at the Historic Sidney Theatre is determined to put on an educational theatre program for area high school students.
“We started putting it together about a month and a half ago when everything started shutting down, because we can’t do our regular camps. We were gonna have three full camps for all ages and now we’ve reduced it to just high schoolers,” Education Coordinator Laney Shaw said. “This is the first thing we’ve done since early March.”
The camp, which is a musical theatre intensive for high school students in Shelby County, began Monday and runs daily with a session in the morning and a session in the afternoon. Teenagers in attendance learn about different aspects of theatre each day, from monologues to choreography to more technical, behind-the-scenes parts of performance. At the end of the week, each session will perform different pieces each person put together in the style of a variety show. Pieces can range from singing a favorite song to performing a personal monologue and beyond.
“We have four different main workshops that we’re working on, which will be auditions, monologue writing, creating choreography, and marketing with a little bit of costume design in there. Every day, they will practice their song workshopping in the storefront. They get a little bit of everything,” Shaw said. “We wanted to get high schoolers to think differently about theatre, rather than their usual, which is putting together a musical. We wanted to give them a little taste of other things that they could do, especially in a position of authority.”
The authority comes with letting the students direct the show at the end of the week. While they will still have some familiarity with musical aspects of theatre, Shaw wanted to give them an opportunity to have a more rounded and comprehensive experience with theatre.
“It’s important that they get a little taste of everything, I think, so that they are malleable in the theatre world. A lot of them want to do it professionally, and it’s important to be able to do everything.”
For Miranda Nichols, of Conover, the program is an opportunity for her to get more experience doing the things that she loves. She had landed her dream role as Crutchie in Graham High School’s spring production of “Newsies,” but due to DeWine shutting down schools in March, opening night never came.
“It was hard, but my parents had taken improv classes here and heard about the workshops, and my boyfriend’s in the military so this gives me something to do and is a good outlet,” Nichols said.
Gabi Shamblin, who is a student at Jackson Center Schools, comes from a family heavily involved in the theatre. For her, the workshop is a chance to expand on what she already knows.
“I want to pursue theatre in the future. It’s important to me because I use it to cope with a lot of what I have to deal with, and it’s easy for me to just put on this new persona of the character I’m playing,” Shamblin said.
Also wanting to improve and expand her knowledge and skills in the theatre is Lily Whiford, a student at Sidney High School.
“I really wanted to improve my acting skills, maybe so I could get a lead later and play a bigger part for my high school musical,” Whiford said. “I really like singing, and I think it’s fun and a good way to get out of my shell. It’s something I’d like to get better at.”
Both groups’ shows will be livestreamed on the Historic Sidney Theatre’s Facebook page on Friday, July 31. The morning group’s show will stream at 11 a.m., and the afternoon group’s show will stream at 3 p.m.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.