Camp Intrepid Opens for the Summer

Summer-Camp-StampWhen Intrepid Shakespeare Company launched its inaugural season of Camp Intrepid last summer, something unexpected happened.

Participants in the first session of the Young Actors Theatre Camp finished their final performance at the end of that first week with great aplomb. But, instead of continuing on with their summer activities elsewhere, they decided to sign up for another week of Camp Intrepid. And then another.

“The camp surpassed our expectations,” says Sean Yael-Cox, Intrepid’s Co-Founder and Director of Education. “We were all amazed at how much the kids could accomplish in such a short amount of time. We are going to do our best to deliver what they are asking for.”

drama camp kidsTo that end, the Young Actors Theatre Camp has expanded this summer, with more than twice the number of sessions being offered. Additionally, each of the eight weeklong Young Actors camps will focus on a new play, so that campers can repeat sessions without repeating a production. Sessions will take place at the Encinitas Community Center.  Click here for a Young Actors Theatre Camp schedule, beginning June 23.

“Kids can expect a lot of fun but also a great learning experience,” says local theatre talent Abby DeSpain, who recently received the Craig Noel Young Artist Award, and attended three sessions Camp Intrepid last summer. “I especially liked learning stage combat from Lance Arthur Smith,” she says of the local professional actor and fightmaster, who is one of a slew of guest artists invited to teach campers during their sessions.

“It is a fun-packed week,” says Rachel Kanevsky, who has attended five Camp Intrepid sessions over the last year. “Camp Intrepid is a new way for any kid to get involved with theater, gain important skills, and make new friends.”

INTO-THE-WOODS-LOGO-FINAL-1024x690In addition to the Young Actors Theatre Camp, both the Musical Theatre Camp and the Shakespeare Camp will return – each for two-week sessions held at the Performing Arts Center at San Dieguito Academy. Into the Woods and King Lear are on the docket, with sessions beginning June 30 and July 14, respectively. Registration is now open. 

While these particular selections of musical theatre and Shakespeare may seem daunting for two-week camp sessions, Sean is confident that the campers will be up to the challenge, especially those who are returning for their second summer.

“We choose plays that inspire young actors to be creative and use their imaginations,” explains Sean. “Both Into The Woods and King Lear are incredibly complex pieces, and we wanted to challenge the students and raise the bar for those who attended last year.”

Parent Heidi Maretz, whose daughter, Tess, attended the Musical Theatre Camp last year, agrees. “Tess has had lots of performing experience, and Camp Intrepid provided a great experience for both new and more experienced performers.”

While the Young Actors Theatre Camp is geared towards ages 8-14, both the Musical Theatre and Shakespeare camps focus on teenagers 13-18. Sean feels it is important to inspire the campers in both their passion and their commitment to the work, and this summer’s repertory reflects that.

Rand-Poster“These are plays that we love and are passionate about,” says Sean. “I think Into The Woods is one of the greatest musicals ever written. King Lear is a fantastic ensemble show filled with amazing characters, greed, revenge, sword fights, honor, madness, insults, a storm, betrayal and, in the end, unconditional love and forgiveness.”

In addition to honing the theatrical talents of the students, parents of previous campers have also reported that the camp sessions have strengthened other skills, including public speaking and academic collaboration. While drama camp is memorable for being fun and entertaining in the moment, its lasting advantages cannot be denied.

“Rachel’s theater classes and camps have made her a very proficient public speaker and let her do things she might be too reserved to try otherwise,” says Inna Kanevsky, Rachel’s mother. “This year, Rachel won a high level award at the County Science Fair, where she made a very good impression on the judges by her presentation skills and confidence. It was pretty much all acting, as Rachel reported being nervous the whole time.”

Sean Cox

Sean Yael-Cox, Intrepid’s Co-Founder and Director of Education

“The kids learn about everything that goes in to putting on a production, but they also learned about teamwork and being responsible to each other,” agrees Whitney DeSpain, Abby’s mother. “The teachers at Intrepid are fantastic.”

Camp Intrepid is helmed by Sean, as well as by Erin Petersen, an Intrepid Associate Artist and the company’s Internship Program Director. It is no secret that these two are the main reasons why campers are repeatedly returning to this program.

Erin Peterson

Erin Petersen, Associate Artist and Internship Program Director

“Erin is a wonderful teacher and encourager, and there is never a dull moment,” says Inna. “Intrepid is one of the very few programs with the focus on acting, as most everywhere else children do musical theater only. Even though most summer ‘shows’ will be musicals, we know that acting skills will be given attention, which is what Rachel and I want.”

Andrew Moore, a student at San Dieguito Academy, participated in the Shakespeare Camp last summer, and continued his exploration with the SDA internship program, playing the title role in the intern production of Macbeth earlier this year. Throughout this process, he was able to work side-by-side with Sean to explore one of Shakespeare’s darkest villains, applying the seeds that were planted during Camp Intrepid.

“I was surprised and amazed at the amount of knowledge I took from the camp,” says Andrew. “I went in expecting a bit of fun, and I came out with a level of self confidence I didn’t think I would ever have.”

Jennifer Moore, Andrew’s mother, appreciates that the Camp Intrepid instructors become mentors to the students they have in repeat sessions. “Andrew liked the way that Sean approached Shakespeare’s writing and seemed to gain a better understanding of the play and the author,” she says. “He also had a good time putting the play together, studying the stage fighting and working with the other teens.”

However, those hoping to take part in Camp Intrepid this summer should hurry. Returning campers are already planning their summers around Intrepid’s camp sessions and spaces are filling up quickly.

“Rachel has signed up for almost every session this summer,” says Inna. “She is super excited to be with the company all day and to be able to have a show at the end of each week.”

For Sean, it is important that the kids not only learn what a theatre experience involves, but also recognize that the skills which go into theatre production are the same skills that will be useful in other aspects of life. For this reason, campers tend to have all levels of experience and a wide variety of future ambitions outside of the world of theatre.

While Rachel confides that she loves the theatre, she is not looking to make it a career. However, she looks forward to experiencing the energy and magic that comes with pulling together a performance.

“I like the final dress rehearsal,” says Rachel, “because everybody is really energetic and excited to perform and we get to be in our makeup and costumes…it’s an unforgettable experience.”

Registration for all sessions of Camp Intrepid are now open, with limited availability. Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

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