Going behind the spotlight; Theater camp helping actors prepare for upcoming playPublished 10:28am Thursday, July 24, 2014
Lydia Wik is only 11, but she’s preparing for her 19th performance this week through the annual Matchbox Children’s Theatre Camp.
“It’s really fun; I like meeting new people; I like memorizing lines and performing on stage,” Lydia Wik said.
Lydia Wik is one of 15 children attending the camp each evening this week at Episcopalian Christ Church to prepare for this summer’s play, “The Princess Who Had No Name,” which will be Aug. 21-23 at the Paramount.
“The camp is learning about actual theater, and they’re working on actual theater [for] the show,” director Angela Donovan said. “They’re working on little scenes [from] the show and learning about how to be in a play, and they’ll get their parts after audition on Sunday.”
Christine Wik, one of two assistant directors and a Matchbox board member, described Matchbox as a great way to introduce children to theater.
“It’s almost like a big family,” said Christine, who also does makeup, hair and photography for shows. “It’s for all levels and abilities. It’s been something that we’ve all been able to grow [in].”
Some participating have acted before. Lydia Wik has performed in the annual Lucia festival, the Halloween warm-up at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, and plays at Austin High School. She was asked to be in a Lucia Festival and became involved with the Matchbox camp after that.
Others, like 9-year-old Lydia Wilde, are taking part in their first camp. She found out about Matchbox through Lydia Wik.
“[I like] going up [to the front] and acting out the plays and stuff,” Wilde said.
She also enjoys playing theater games and having fun.
“I love the games,” Wilde said.
For 9-year-old Lauren Kjome, it’s not just about acting.
“[I like] acting out our scenes for what we have so far and just making friends,” Lauren said.
She hopes to attend next year and is excited for the upcoming show.
Children held practice auditions during the first night of camp at the Episcopalian Christ Church.
“They had lots of fun for the first night of camp,” Donovan said.
This is the fourth year of holding the theater camp with the summer play, and for the last three years it has been a success.
“The kids have all enjoyed it, the parents have all enjoyed it,” Donovan said. “I’ve had lots of the same kids come back every year.”
‘The Princess with No Name’
“The Princess Who Had No Name” is about a princess who wakes up and doesn’t know who she is. Throughout the process of trying to find her identity, she meets many other fairytale characters: Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, the seven dwarfs, Hansel and Gretel, and more.
“It’s gonna be a great show; it’s a comedy with lots of different, fun themes,” Donovan said.
Donovan started directing when she was in high school, and “The Princess Who Had No Name” will be her 11th show directing for Matchbox. She graduated from Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., with a major in theater.
“I’ve been doing theater since I was a little kid and it’s something that I’ve always loved to do,” Donovan said.
She performed in her first show with Matchbox in 2003, shortly after moving to Austin. Although the summer show only features child actors, both adults and children act in shows throughout the rest of the year.
Matchbox will celebrate its 40th year next season. It started in Austin through park and recreation, and after the first show branched off and became its own entity.
Auditions for “The Princess Who Had No Name” are 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Paramount, for children ages 8 to 18.
There is no cost to audition or participate in the show. The 15 children attending the camp are guaranteed one of the 35 roles in the play.
Tickets are $5 for children and $7 for adults. The show will be at 7 p.m. on Aug. 22 and at 2 p.m. on Aug. 23 and 24, and is on the same weekend as the Austin Artworks Festival.
“We’re hoping that people who come for the festival will walk down the street and see the play,” Donovan said.