Will Power camp brings Shakespeare to youths
Grand Valley State University’s Shakespeare Festival is sponsoring “Will Power,” a summer camp for kids, for the first time this year, with guest teaching artists by Pigeon Creek Shakespeare.
The camp is geared towards exploration, creativity and fun through the discovery and use of William Shakespeare, and organizers are hoping for enough success to make the event an annual one.
The Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival’s Will Power Summer Camp website states that the camp “strives to create a fun, imaginative and exciting environment for children to discover the art of theater and the works of William Shakespeare through exploring the process of drama,” adding that the “Will Power” experience is based on the process of drama, not the product. During the camp, campers will learn theater vocabulary, explore elements of storytelling and expand their imaginations.
Whitney Hershberger, a GVSU alum doing her master of fine arts capstone internship with the Shakespeare Festival, is the director this year. GVSU’s Karen Libman, stage director and theater professor, is also helping organize the events.
“Our Shakespeare festival has a lot of components that people don’t really know about, but we’ve never had anything with younger students before,” Libman said. “The idea is to explore their imagination and their creativity through exploring Shakespeare.”
The Shakespeare Festival is producing the camp this year in two sessions, which last two weeks. Children entering kindergarten through third and fourth through sixth grades can sign up for “Love and Laughter” in “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” on June 18 to 23 or “Magic and Mayhem” in “Macbeth” on June 25 to 29. The camp is located on the Allendale Campus in the Performing Arts Center from 9 a.m. to noon for the younger kids and 1 to 4 p.m. for the older kids. The camp is Monday through Friday with a “Prepare and Share” on Fridays for the families. At the end of the week there will be a showcase for friends and family to share what campers have experienced and accomplished during the week.
The camp counselors are comprised of GVSU theatre students as well as education students who help with teaching.
Libman said they want this to be an inclusive experience; also, a few scholarships available for families who are facing monetary concerns.
“We don’t want anyone denied access to this opportunity,” Libman said.
Each session has room for seven to 15 kids, so parents are encouraged to sign up their kids as soon as possible.
Registration is $100, with discounts for campers who sign up for both programs or for families who sign up multiple children. Fees cover both a workbook and t-shirt. To sign up for Will Power programs, visit www.gvsu.edu/shakes for information on how to contact Libman and Hershberger.
“I think this is just our next step as a Shakespeare Festival,” Libman said. “The problems of the future cannot be imagined by the adults of today, but they can be solved by the children of tomorrow. Problems will be solved by today’s kids with the solving problem solving skills that we teach them.”