A special guest article by Erin Barkkume Photography by Sophie Pearson
One World is well known for presenting exceptional shows and performers, but there is something else folks may not realize One World presents – Summer Camp! For the 7th time, One World has partnered with Missoula Children’s Theatre to put on a fun filled full summer theatre camp. I’m still amazed that the directors from Missoula Children’s theatre are able to hold auditions, assign parts and get these kids polished up and ready for a full theatre production complete with musical numbers, make-up and colorful costumes in five days! The show on Saturday is performed live onstage inside beautiful One World Theatre, with professional sound and lights, just like any other professional theatre production, so the kids really get the total experience of being in a professional musical. This year’s production was a rendition of the classic story The Tortoise and the Hare, with a modern twist and the kids were fabulous.
A wonderful aspect of camp is there is something for all ages. The older kids tend to spend the majority of their time in rehearsals; and the younger ones, while not rehearsing, get to do crafts and other fun musical activities. We had local musician CJ Menge bring in his steel drums and perform for the kiddos, and Sevilla Del Mazo, percussionist for the Austin band Acoustic Jungle, showed the kids some percussion techniques and then entertained them by letting them all drum with drumsticks on overturned buckets. The acoustics are great in the Celebration Hall, and boy was it was loud! The kids created their own shaker instruments and played them along with CJ and Sevylla.
The kids also got crafty on Puppet Day by creating their own sock puppets, then writing and performing their own puppet show! They were also entertained by local puppeteer Joan Klasson, who put on a fun and interactive puppet show for the kids.
Another day, in keeping with the Tortoise and Hare race theme, the wee ones made bunny ears and competed in the “Bunny Olympics”, which was crazy silly fun but also helped to prepare them for Saturday’s show by following directions and getting in and out of costumes. It was a week of non-stop good times!
One World has been privileged to work with many military families over the years, and thanks to local company LifeSize Communications, the last 2 years we were able to stream live to soldiers in Iraq so they could watch their children as they performed in the show. Afterwards the families were able to go into private rooms and chat with their overseas loved ones on big high definition TV’s. Needless to say, it was touching for everyone involved and the soldiers were so happy to have been able to participate in their children’s big day (and we felt blessed to be able to do something for our troops!). This year, with support from Polycom and the city of Austin cultural affairs division, our production manager set up Skype with TV for the audience to see the deployed dad in Kuwait, and he got to watch his child perform live in the Tortoise and the Hare. Our wonderful tech guys had her miked throughout the show so he could hear her, and we were even blessed to have him speak with us before the show.
As part of One World’s community outreach, we have enjoyed hosting kids from various non-profits such as the Settlement Home and Wonders and Worries, providing them with full camp scholarships for a week at camp and also tickets to the show. It was wonderful to have them here, and it was a marvelous experience for them too. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again next year for another Camp One World!