Despite its name, “Summer in the House” — a Westport camp program — is not about hip-hop, or how to roll.
A 3-week theater program, it teaches children entering grades 2 through 5 to use their bodies, voices, minds and imaginations through music, movement and drama. The name is a play on the sponsor: the Westport Country Playhouse.
Martin and George Sankovitch took part last year. Their mother Nina liked its focus on process, rather than an end production.
“The kids had so much fun,” she says. “There was no stress about lines, blocking or costumes. The emphasis was on improvisation, freedom of expression, projection, energy, and most importantly, teamwork.”
As a mother, Nina’s highlights included picking her sons up, finding them outside dancing around and shouting “Yes!” to the skies. She loved watching 10-year-old George deliver Shakespearean lines, and Martin’s class performing songs and dances they wrote and choreographed themselves — with “wide smiles, tons of controlled energy, and professional-quality delivery.”
Nina calls instructor Heather Parady “a gem of patience, imagination, energy and insight into the acting process.”
Heather and co-teacher Jonathan Cahr return for the program’s 2nd year.
She was thrilled last year as the morning ensemble “created different worlds each day, and brought those worlds to life.” Heather also enjoyed the afternoon group’s “thoughtful and touching” work with Romeo and Juliet.
And of course Heather appreciated helping all the youngsters — some shy, some outgoing — grow together, as performers and friends.
“The kids were like sponges,” Jonathan adds. “During snack breaks the younger group finished as quickly as possible, so they could create scenes, songs and worlds. The older group loved stage combat and improv. They couldn’t get enough.”
Jonathan and Heather look forward to new challenges, new productions — and a fresh cast of newcomers and returnees — when “Summer in the House” opens on July 6.
(For more information, click here or call 203-227-5137, ext. 133.)