Young actors rehearse their production during a drama camp put on by the Kenai Performers in their theater near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, June 20, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Young actors rehearse their production during a drama camp put on by the Kenai Performers in their theater near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, June 20, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Performers’ drama camp trains young actors, puts on ‘super’ show

When they arrived, most of the actors had never performed before, but in just a week they’ll put on a real show

In the Kenai Performers’ theater this month, 17 young actors have been participating in drama camp. For weeks, they’ve been doing the hard work of putting on a show in equal measure with having fun and playing games. When they arrived, most of the actors had never performed before, but in just a week they’ll put on a real show — “Totally Awesome: A Superhero Musical” by Stephen Murray.

On Thursday, their rehearsal didn’t look unlike any other local production. The kids ran their lines, tweaked their entrances and exits, missed a couple of cues and experimented with props. Their backdrop had been installed only the day before, so they were quickly learning how to smoothly move on and off stage without bottlenecking at one of the entrances.

Terri Burdick, who is directing the camp and the show, said education is a central element of the Kenai Performers mission. They want to raise young actors and instill a love and appreciation of art.

Thursday was “the working part,” but she said the campers also play lots of games and participate in other activities like practicing improvisation or crafting.

At 17 campers, this year’s is “a pretty big group.” The oldest are in middle school, but many are younger.

Burdick said the show, “Totally Awesome,” was chosen because its fun and interesting, but also relatively simple. Its superhero themes have broad appeal, which she credited in part with drawing such a large crowd.

Across only four weeks, a few hours each week day, the campers were cast, learned lines and choreography, developed stagecraft and soon will put on a real production. Burdick said its fun to watch the kids experiment with and grow into their roles while also rising to the challenge and the fast pace of assembling the production.

By the end of this week, the camp’s third, Burdick said the goal is to have the show wholly ready, so that next week can be all about polishing.

“They’ve got most of it down,” she said. “But in a week, we have to put on a show.”

Young actors, Burdick said, always struggle with projecting their voice loud enough and ensuring they’re in the right spot on stage. But, she said that somehow, on opening night, they’ll get it.

The campers will perform “Totally Awesome: A Superhero Musical” next weekend, with two performances. Friday, June 28, the show will run at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, the show will run at 2 p.m.

For more information, find “Kenai Performers” on Facebook or visit kenaiperformers.org.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

Young actors rehearse their production during a drama camp put on by the Kenai Performers in their theater near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, June 20, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Young actors rehearse their production during a drama camp put on by the Kenai Performers in their theater near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, June 20, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Young actors wait for their next scene behind stage during a drama camp put on by the Kenai Performers in their theater near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, June 20, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Young actors wait for their next scene behind stage during a drama camp put on by the Kenai Performers in their theater near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, June 20, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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