Young Shakespeare Camps offer extra weeklong session this summer

While attendance at the Virginia Shakespeare Festival’s main performances declined, demand for the festival’s Young Shakespeare Camps keeps growing.

Applications open Wednesday for the camps, which will run for an extra week this summer in lieu of the festival’s main performance season. The weeklong theater camps are organized by the College of William and Mary’s Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance and hosted at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall.

The main performances saw a significant decline in attendance over the last eight years, with an attendance loss of 23 percent between 2015 and 2016. The performance suspension is only expected for three years while organizers reevaluate, and while Phi Beta Kappa Hall closes for renovations beginning in May 2018. 

The camps, however, will go on.

Spanning three weeks in June and July, each iteration caters to a different age range and activities highlight the Elizabethan world in which Shakespeare wrote, according to a news release from the college. 

The morning classes include acting, stage combat and movement. Afternoons are taken up by rehearsal for the campers' final project, a shortened version of Shakespeare’s "Much Ado About Nothing."

The festival’s artistic director, Christopher Owens, creates the script for the campers while the stage is set by the camp's co-directors Beth Litwak and Amanda Forstrom.

Owen’s script is flexible to allow the campers many performance opportunities. 

The first week is for ages 10 to 12 and runs June 26-30. The second is for ages 13 to 15 and runs July 3-7, and the third is for ages 16 to 18 and takes place July 10-14. 

Slots are filled first-come, first-served and the high school section sold out in 6 minutes last year, according to the release.

The camp is Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day except Friday, when the final performance runs from 4 to 5 p.m. Housing and transportation are not included in the $275 tuition fee.

Williams can be reached by phone at 757-345-2341.

How to register:

Send an email with the subject line "camp registration" to virginiashakespeare@gmail.com stating which week of camp you want. Registration opens at 9 a.m. Feb. 15.

Cost: $275 per week, per person, does not include housing or transportation

When: June 26-30, July 3-7 and July 10-14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day with final performance on Friday from 4 to 5 p.m.

Questions? call 757-221-2683 or visit wm.edu/vsf.

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