TheatreLab Dayton shines the spotlight on local youth

TheaterLab—in its spacious new downtown home at 116 N. Jefferson St., Suite 200—offers five major productions a year, including the recent “Something Rotten!” at the Victoria Theatre, but youth programming remains a priority for this innovative arts organization. So when Klickstein offered Drennen a writing workshop, there was no hesitation.

“Just seeing their minds working is a crazy experience,” Drennen said of the young writers. “It’s amazing what they offer.”

The workshop is designed to be a collaborative and fluid experience. Each participant writes and later performs their own original monologues. Performances are scheduled for Wednesday, June 1 at 5:30 p.m. (open dress rehearsal) and the final performance on Thursday, June 2 at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at theatrelabdayton.org.

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“I stay away and let them go,” Klickstein said.

Nine-year-old Jaxon Heritage of Oakwood has acted in several local productions, but this workshop gave him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I really like the writing,” Heritage said. “I haven’t done anything like this where I can create my own story.”

Dayton siblings Anemone, 8, and Adrian, 12, McKenzie agree.

“I like being able to share my ideas and write freely,” Adrian said.

“I like being able to make up all my stuff,” added her sister.

Legend

Anemone McKenzie, Adrian McKenzie, Mathew Klickstein and Jaxon Heritage at the Writing and Performance Workshop – Debbie Juniewicz

Anemone McKenzie, Adrian McKenzie, Mathew Klickstein and Jaxon Heritage at the Writing and Performance Workshop - Debbie Juniewicz
callout arrowLegend

Anemone McKenzie, Adrian McKenzie, Mathew Klickstein and Jaxon Heritage at the Writing and Performance Workshop – Debbie Juniewicz

After the applause, the process continues for the young authors/performers.

“One of the best parts of the project is that we schedule time at the end of each show for an investigation and a long question-and-answer period between the audience and the kids,” Klickstein said. “Philip and I do not participate so that the children can talk about their process themselves. That’s usually what viewers enjoy most about shows, hearing the kids tell their own story of how they put it all together.

Although this is the second writer’s workshop Klickstein is hosting locally, he hopes it only scratches the surface of what’s possible. He envisions productions where teens and tweens do it all – from writing and acting to set design and construction.

“I want to see this grow,” Klickstein said. “That’s the fun thing for me, it’s revitalizing.”

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YouthLab Summer Camps

For more information visit www.theatrelabdayton.org

* Future Stars

Musical theater camp

What: Sing! Dance! Save the world! A two-week camp kicks off with theater fundamentals through games, exercises and group acts taught by local professional teacher artists. Final performance on June 24.

For whom: 9-12 years old

When: June 13 to 24, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Plus: Add-on afternoon from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

* The team (week 1)

Musical theater camp

What: Super Singers – students will receive individual and group singing training in the style of pop/rock musical theater as well as audition cuts with a final performance July 1.

Who: 13-18 years old

When: June 27 to July 1, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Plus: Add-on afternoon from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

* The team (week 2)

Musical theater camp

What: Fearless Workshops – Throughout the week, students will participate in singing, acting and dancing workshops led by local professionals and teaching artists.

Who: 13-18 years old

When: July 5 to 8, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Plus: Add-on afternoon from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

* Superhero City

Acting Camp/Performance

What: The two-week camp will use performance and improvisation exercises while rehearsing for a full-length play, “Superhero Town.” Before “Wandavision”, there was “Superhero Town”, a play that mixes the mundane world of suburban life with the exciting world of superheroes, directed by Philip Drennen. Auditions for the roles required to participate in “Superhero Town”.

Who: 10-18 years old

When: July 11 to 22, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Plus: Add-on afternoon from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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