Archive for category Theatre camp
Celebrating our Theatre Staff at Centauri Arts Camp!
When Centauri first set up 17 years ago, theatre was perhaps our most popular program. It still is, today – though we’ve broken the art form into many specific disciplines, so that campers can choose what they want to specialise in, and be sure of new skills every time they return! Those disciplines include Clown, Improvisation., Classical Theatre, Acting for Film, Play-writing & Performance, Musical Theatre, Stage Combat and much more. So how do we find so many incredible, talented teachers to staff all these choices?
The answer is, we have years of experience behind us! Our faculty grew gradually, and some of the outstanding theatre staff we have at Centauri have been with us for over a decade. When we design our programs each year, we begin by asking our program directors what they want to teach. If we think our campers will like their idea, and they have the necessary skills, we say yes! This is far more effective than designing programs and then trying to fit our staff into them. When an arts professional designs their own program, they end up teaching something they feel passionate about – something that inspires them. And everyone knows that the best teachers are those with inspiration and enthusiasm.
Here are some examples of our incredible theatre staff. As you’ll see, some of them are mature professionals with a wealth of experience to offer. Others are younger professionals with good credentials and proven skills, who received part of their training with us, understand Centauri well, and bring unbelievable energy, passion and enthusiasm to the art form they hope to make their livelihood. In our experience, a combination of both these types of arts staff results in a dynamic and skilled team. Everyone wins!
Valerie Buhagiar joined us on staff for the first time last year and if anyone can claim to be experienced, she can! An award-winning actor and filmmaker, Valerie appeared in such landmark Canadian films as Highway 61 and Roadkill. Her short films have won awards at the Toronto International Film Festival and she has also appeared in Dora award winning theatre productions such as Scorched at the Tarragon Theatre.Valerie just returned from Vancouver where she starred in a one woman show. She has also appeared as Riley’s mom on Degrassi! Valerie has guided and coached young actors for years. She is warm, compassionate and quickly won the campers’ respect and admiration for her wealth of performance knowledge last summer. Valerie will join us for two sessions in 2011, teaching ‘Acting for the Screen and Stage’ in Session Two and ‘Acting for Film’ in Session Four.
Darwin Lyons first joined Centauri as a camper, nine years ago. She worked with us as a counsellor, and returned for her first year as a program director in 2010. Darwin is a graduate of the University of Windsor’s BFA Acting program. She is a founding member of Written on Water Theatre Company appeared in the Ottawa Fringe Festival this year with the play, Edge. Darwin also appeared in the Magnetic North Theatre Festival production of Tough. She returns in 2011 to teach our International Tour campers before they head off to England – interesting, since she herself went on tour with us several years ago! Darwin is astute and compassionate as a teacher and director, and campers loved working with her last summer.
Robyn Levine Shapiro is instrumental to our Musical Theatre programs! Now in her third summer with us, Robyn has been performing professionally in the GTA and across Canada for over twenty years and has had the opportunity to perform in shows such as Mamma Mia! (Original Canadian Cast), Footloose and Cinderella, as well as singing on stage and television. Robyn has been teaching musical theatre, singing and acting for the past six years. She is the Artistic Director of Discover Your Talent, a company that specializes in private and group vocal and acting training. Robyn is working towards her Master’s of Education at York University, focusing on the role the arts play in the cognitive and social development of young people.
For a full list of program director bios, you can go to
Why Theatre? Why Theatre Camp?
Wow, session 3 has flown by!
Since our last blog we have had a Finish Banquet, we learned about Finland, its people, food and music! We have also had a Lost! evening program, talent show and a Pokemon festival!
We are now in our final rehearsals before the shows tomorrow. As usual everyone is working hard, the shows, films and presentations will be great!
We are now in session 3 for 2009!
We have done so much in the last 2 weeks. In session 2 we had a day trip to Driftwood Theatre’s version of Comedy of Errors, we had a British Banquet, A Twilight evening, a Newfoundland Kitchen Party and an Wizard of Oz festival!
So far we are now at day 5 of session 3, and on Tuesday night we had a great evening of music with camp favourites Aaron Solomon (www.fiddleheadproductions.com) and Sandy MacDonald playing and then, after a break with ice cream another great band, the Undesirables (www.theundesirables.com) playing some great original blues/folk songs.
Yesterday we had a very rainy day, but it did not dampen the spirits for a Renaissance festival, complete with buskers, a renaissance fayre and Leanardo DaVinci teaching workshops in history, dance, painting etc.
Notes from our Alumni!
On impulse, a couple of weeks ago, Craig and I sent out an email to every camper who has ever attended Centauri! After all, this is our FIFTEENTH year! We heard back from dozens of people, many of whom have already finished university, and launched arts careers of their own! Here’s a sample of some of the wonderful comments we received. It was wonderful for us all to remind ourselves of the life-changing effect Centauri has had – and continues to have – on the lives of others:
Centauri was honestly one of my best experiences I think I’ve ever had. It truly was a place where I felt 100% myself. Everyone played such an integral role in making my camp experience an amazing one. So I just want to say a big THANK YOU.
I had a really good time there, I’m getting extremely nostalgic over the photographs I find on your homepage
I just wanted to say hi and thank you for all of the support and encouragement I received at Centauri, it really made a difference in my life. We cannot express the gratitude we have to you and Centauri camp for the experiences Kristin had there when she was young and the fab time she had on the Centauri tour. Thank you again and again.
Thank you so much for all the memories that are unforgettable. I appreciate all the advice that you both unknowingly doled out and for the fact that when I think back to my time at Centauri, I just smile from all my happy memories. Thank you again and the best of luck in everything. I really miss the wonderful summers at Centauri.
And I guess we’ll let this alumni have the final word:
Centauri changed my life, I would never be who I am today without it. I never, ever would have thought I would be able to do anything like the Inspiration Challenge as an LIT, or take a dance class for the first time in ten years, or sing a solo, or write a poem and share it with the entire camp, but I did all of these things at Centauri. When faced with fears and challenges in my life now, I can think back to how loved and accepted I felt at camp. Going to Centauri was truly one of the best things that ever happened in my life, it showed me that there are people in the world who are kind and accepting, no matter what.
Session 3 started with a bang and all the programs are going great!
The first night evening programs was “Heroes”, where campers and staff had to save the world from the evil Sylar!
Day 2 was a Sspeakeasy dinner (juice was illegal – campers had to sneak juice past the police!) and after there was a murder mystery night – Big Bird was murdered!
Day 3 BBBFitz, the staff “boy band” made a triumphant return
Day 4 was the Star Wars festival. Campers were split into squadrans to learn skills to defeat the Empire! Check out the photos at http://www.centauri.on.ca/media/photos/photo2008c.htm
Our opening evening program was something I’ve been looking forward to all year, and Indiana Jones-themed adventure run by myself and all of the program directors. Many of the stay-over campers elected to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark for their pajamarama last night, so they were nicely primed for the mystery that unfolded tonight as they discovered that the arts had been lost from Centauri (ahem…Raiders of the Lost Arts). It was a pleasure to see the dorms bonding so quickly as they met characters and went through various challenges. Everything from meeting a Sherpa who guided them through a narrow passage, requiring them to use creative ways to get their entire dorm across it, to excavating the beach volleyball court for marbles, telling improvised stories in the adventurers lounge, to heading towards the woods only to be scared away by the skull doctor. At the end of the night, we debriefed over hot chocolate and the dorms pointed out that they learned of the history of Centauri by piecing together a map of the way the camp looked when it was first built, and of course they restored the Arts to this land.
As summer approaches, parents often assume that it’s too late to reserve space. It’s true that many of our programs are now full for the summer, but we still have spaces left in every session! Call us to enquire about availability… as a few campers withdraw due to summer school requirements, you many be surprised to find your first choice has space! Here’s a sample of what’s still available…
We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby! – 2 spots still remaining in this vocal camp for ages 12+
Wild and Whirling Words – 4 spots still remaining in this writing program for ages 9-14
Mystery Theatre Presents – a few spots still remain in this exciting alpha theatre program
Acting: The Three I’s – a few spots still remaining
Digital Theatre Photography – a small number of spaces still available
We have a small number of spaces available on alpha and omega programs, including theatre and writing. Call now! Space in the boys’ dorm is very limited.
Acting Outside of the Box – ages 11-15 – we still have some space remaining in this exciting theatre program, taught by Jeanette Hedley
How Real are YOU? – ages 14-18 – if you’re an experienced actor looking for an unusual challenge, this is the program for you this summer! Spaces still remain.
Many of the more popular programs now also have short or non-existent waiting lists, so please call if you have a specific program in mind.
There’s a certain magic to be had in doing everything for the last time. The staff senses this. The last time they get to meet a new group of campers. The last day trip. The last few evening programs. The last bedtime programs and night walks. The last stories, festivals, games. So session four can feel like a final explosion. A last burst of wonderful energy. An endless stream of special things, one after the other, as we – campers and staff – cling to the final days of summer. After all, you can smell Fall in the air.
Ask seasoned campers, and they’ll tell you session four carries a special kind of magic. There are traditions that happen in no other session. Even breakfasts – usually fairly calm, since arts people aren’t generally good at early mornings – are a time for fun. Counsellors often come to breakfast in theme dress, or disguise themselves as one another. Every bit of fun is packed into every moment of the day. For example, today for dinner, G9 and B4 arrived in formal dress, pushed their tables together and declared they were on a group date.
In past years, our soccer tournament has kept energy and spirits frenetic throughout the session. This year, this has morphed into the First Annual Centauri Star Wars. Every camper is assigned a star team (Orion, Draco, Leo or Sirius) and the teams compete in events such as Ultimate Frisbee and Dupe Ball (you have to go to Centauri to know what this is!). Meanwhile, campers and staff are writing songs for one another, ready for the final Secret Ceremony of the summer. Those of us who have been here all summer are into our last week of camp, and want every second to count. Some campers will be too old to return next year, and are making the most of their last days, ever, as campers. And for every single one of us, Fall looms. There are so few days to stuff full of fun.
So what’s been happening? We had a ‘Price is Right’ evening program, with campers as contestants, bizarre prizes to win, and even commerical breaks with ‘spoof’ commercials to watch. We built time machines and went Back to the Future. We had a huge camp-wide battle between Ninjas and Pirates. Each dorm had to dress their counsellor up as a new Spice Girl, and they auditioned in hilarious challenges over supper. We’ve had a campfire, an African cafe, field games, and a Musical Theatre Quiz night. Oh – and yesterday was the day trip to Canadian Stage’s production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. All this – and more – in just 6 days, with a further 5 days of intense fun to go.