With group gatherings continuing to cancel and social distancing still encouraged, the fate of North Texas summer camps isn't certain yet.
But some Dallas-Fort Worth performing arts groups are taking center stage in shifting summer camps and classes online. A few groups have already unveiled virtual camps for kids to study theater and music without leaving the house this summer — just in case they can't or shouldn't.
Fort Worth's Stage West has been presenting a steady roster of virtual plays, readings, and other entertainment while their doors have been closed amid the pandemic. Now they have transitioned their June classes and camps online, too.
"We at Stage West are doing what we do best — developing creative solutions," they say on the website.
They offer June summer camps for kids ages 8-14. Camps include "Behind the Curtain: Theatre Design Camp" that covers costume and set design; "Musical Theatre: Broadway Bound," which is all about building skills for auditions; and "TikTok: The Camp," which explores the buzzy app TikTok and best practices for making fun, engaging videos.
For schedule, pricing, descriptions, and more, visit Stage West's website.
North Texas Performing Arts leaders are still hopeful that they'll be able to hold their physical summer camps. But they've also added online summer camp options for students ages 7-18 as an extension of their “Virtual Performing Arts GigaCentre” launched within days of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We plan to offer our traditional physical Summer Camps on our campuses in Plano, Dallas, Fairview and Frisco, if allowed,” says NTPA Youth Theatre vice president Lindsey Lederer in a release. “We recognize that some families will be unable to join us in our theaters, so this summer we are offering our award-winning camp and classroom experience both onsite and online.”
Their virtual summer camp programming will feature two new programs, half-day “Virtual Theatre Explorers” and full-day “Virtual One-Week Productions,” in addition to a long list of hourly online class options throughout the summer.
Online and physical classes start at $9.99 and are available in hourly sessions, half-day, and full-day. In-person summer programs (if they take place) also will include two-week productions culminating in an onstage performance, they say. More information can be found at NTPA.org/camps.
Other local performing arts groups, such as Cara Mia Theatre, are still advertising in-person summer camp experiences. Others, like Teatro Dallas, say due to the current situation, they are not scheduling any camps right now. Fort Worth's Bass Hall says on its website that high school choral and percussion camps are canceled, but a middle school choral camp could still take place in July.
At Dallas Children's Theater, virtual spring classes start as early as May 14, with the summer sessions beginning May 26.
"DCT has always been founded on a deep love of art and education. Even in challenging times that cornerstone remains," they say in an email to patrons. "While in-person socialization is not possible, we are still offering a wonderful variety of virtual classes taught by experienced teaching artists."
Sessions are broken up into Pre-K to 3rd grade (focusing on movement and play); 4th-6th grades (building confidence as a singer and performer); and 7th-12th grades (improvisation techniques, music theory, and more). The interactive classes are taught by DCT professionals over Zoom.
For scheduling, pricing, and more, visit their website.
Dallas' Cara Mia Theatre has taken its popular "School of YES!" summer program online. The free, month-long camp takes place in June and July for ages 7-18. It teaches young people life skills and leadership development.
"We connected with our teaching artists and previous SOY families to see if an online offering is something that was wanted throughout the board and we received 100 percent interest in this route in programming," says spokesman Matthew Rodriguez. "CMT is excited to once again offer 60 free slots for students ages 7-18 to take classes in drama, art, music and voice, dance, and leadership. Applications will soon be made available for families."