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Registration open for Whatchamawhozits Summer Theatre Camp

By Mike Moran
Special to The PREVIEW

Summer is just around the corner, and it will be time once again for the kids to go to camp.

There is one camp in Pagosa Springs that has gathered children together to teach them about the performing arts. For the third year, the Thingamajig Theatre Company is holding the Whatchamawhozits Summer Theatre Camp. It takes in kids ranging from 7 to 12 years old who have a common interest in doing shows and teaches them the inner workings of a professional theatre.

This summer, the instruction is going to focus itself around Disney’s fun, upbeat, jazzy version of “Aristocats.”

“I’ve been doing these camps for at least six or seven years. I’ve done them in Breckenridge and Dillon,” said educational director Laura Moore. “The main goal is to have fun, the loftiest goal is to help kids have a better understanding of empathy and choices that they can make in their lives to behave in different ways, for example they choose to behave nice or they can choose to behave mean. That I think is the biggest gift an actor can receive from perfecting their craft, they typically have more awareness of how people behave and why they do so, so they build a deeper sense of empathy. And obviously confidence building, if kids feel comfortable acting in any manner of fashion then you can put them in any circumstance and they’ll be comfortable presenting themselves.  Those are huge goals of ours.”

This is the third Summer Camp Whatchamawhozits has done, but they also offer 10-week classes in the spring and fall. Laura explained, “The spring and fall classes have been full, and we’ve sadly had to turn many kids away since, during the school year, I am the only instructor available.  Last summer, camp enrollment was phenomenal; we had almost thirty kids in attendance, including several scholarship kids, thanks to the generosity from members of the community, and we are very fortunate to have an abundance of talented summer stock actors, singers and dancers to help instruct the kids.”

The summer is a busy time at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, with two huge musicals running in rep and almost 20 out-of-town actors, directors, designers and choreographers descending on Pagosa. It is an exciting place to be.  And a very exciting place for children.  The summer stock crew is composed of young professionals who are excited to share their passion and talents with our local youth.

Camp is directed and organized by Moore but, unlike the summer and fall classes, the summer focuses a lot on singing and dancing.

“Two skills I do not consider in my realm of expertise,” added Moore. “I am thrilled to be able to offer the kids a chance to work with these amazing instructors while they are in town working on Thingamajig productions.  It is important for many of the kids that I work with on a regular basis to be exposed to fresh ideas and other talents.”

This summer, the camp runs from July 1-19, Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.,with a performance on Saturday July 21.  On the Fourth of July, there is no camp, but campers are invited to ride in full costume on a Whatchamawhozits float in the town parade.

Campers can either sign up for the first week of camp for $150, for all three weeks at $300 if they sign up early, or for $350 if they sign up after June 15.  Registration forms can be found on the website, www.pagosacenter.org, by clicking on Whatchamawhozits then clicking on “Down load registration form,” and can be mailed or dropped by the Center for the Arts at 2313 Eagle Drive.

If you have any questions concerning the summer, contact Laura Moore at laura@pagosacenter.org or 731-7469.

This story was posted on May 2, 2013.