Pagosa Peak Open School gets dramatic this summer

Photo courtesy Jeff Haprov
Pagosa Peak Open School third- and fourth-graders take part in the Whatchamawhozits’ Summer Theatre Camp for Kids. The camp culminates with a production of “Annie Kids” on July 20, 21 and 22, with the performances open to the public.

By Gabrielle Dorr
Special to The PREVIEW
This week, in partnership with the Thingamajig Theatre Company located at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, the entire second- and third-grade classes from Pagosa Peak Open School (PPOS) are participating in the Whatchamawhozits’ Summer Theatre Camp for Kids.
Since PPOS is a charter school, the school director has more flexibility to incorporate new programs into the school’s curriculum. When parents approached PPOS about wanting to participate in the theater camp this year, the school worked on an agreement to bring in 28 students.
“This new partnership represents exactly what Pagosa Peak Open School is about, which is creating educational opportunities that inspire the joy of learning and build confidence,” said James Lewicki, school director.
As part of the summer camp, kids learn the entire process of putting on a production but also gain many lifelong skills. The students learn empathy by putting themselves in another character’s shoes. They also learn public speaking skills by performing in front of an audience. Most importantly, they gain confidence by trying something new and meaningful to them.
“What I think is so great about working with PPOS is that we are reaching kids that we may not normally reach. Some of the kids who are participating may not have signed up for the camp because they may have not known they had an interest in performance art. We hope they do find their passion in performance as a result of this experience,” said Laura Moore, co-founder of Thingamajig Theatre Company.
PPOS students are participating in the camp at very little cost to the families. Thingamajig Theatre worked with the school to create an affordable tuition for the group. Partial funding came from a student activity fund which is collected at the beginning of the school year for each student. The other part of the camp tuition came from a scholarship fund that was raised by the school from various grants.
This year’s camp, which runs from July 9 to July 19, will feature an “Annie Kids” production. The public can see the kids’ performance on July 20, 21 and 22.
PPOS will continue working with Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts throughout the upcoming school year. Theater professionals plan to bring a series of acting and performance workshops to fourth-grade students during the last two weeks in July. At various times of the year, all students from kindergarten through fourth grade will participate in theatrical workshops and events put on by Center for the Arts and Thingamajig Theatre Company’s artists.

This story was posted on July 19, 2018.