Not a tree, but a castle

Participants in Perseverance Theatre's "Theatre in the Wild" program get comfortable in a kayak last year. The theatre is now signing up interested high school students for this year's camp, scheduled for Aug. 3 - Aug. 8.

Participants in Perseverance Theatre's "Theatre in the Wild" program get comfortable in a kayak last year. The theatre is now signing up interested high school students for this year's camp, scheduled for Aug. 3 - Aug. 8.

Perseverance to offer week-long ‘Theatre in the Wild’ camp in August

Juneau’s got a thriving arts community and plenty of wilderness, and for the second year in a row, outdoorsy artists plan to combine the two. Perseverance Theatre is signing kids up for “Theatre in the Wild,” a week-long camp at Eagle River Boy Scout Camp.

Over the week, students kayak, fish, learn wilderness skills, and have acting classes, rehearsals, and journaling opportunities, with a performance at the end.

“I fish like a crazy woman, and … it’s essentially a combination between BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman, an annual event put on by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game) and theater, because I’m a theater geek,” said creator Shona Strauser, Artistic Associate and Director of Education for Perseverance Theatre.

“There’s two reasons why I live here — because this arts community is incredible, and because the wilderness is here, and so incredible to play in. Just being around that for so long, there was something that kind of went off in my brain. There’s all these other people doing cool landscapes and taking photos, but there’s no real kind of performance response to nature that is in our community, that I’ve … seen. But at the same time… the environment, and the way an artist or actor lives in that environment, is really a crux of what we do onstage, anyway… It affects every single moment of everything.”

Long-time actor and recent Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Brita Fagerstrom has done lots of formal theater training, but Theatre in the Wild was “completely different,” she said.

“I think that those two spheres (theater and wilderness)… are such a great opportunity that we have in Juneau,” she said. “You don’t have that anywhere else. You’re not going to have that in a big city — to do “Midsummer Night’s Dream” monologues in that environment that Shakespeare intended.”

The outdoors, Strauser said, is “a very freeing place to be.”

“Maybe it’s all psychological, but it’s pretty incredible just being out there and not feeling like there’s any constrictions at all,” she said.

She hopes participants leave the camp with material they can use for auditions in college, and to practice with their theater teachers in high school.

There’s no real deadline, Strauser said. Though there’s room for more, she expects between 15 and 20 participants, from incoming high school freshman to seniors post-graduation. The camp runs Aug. 3-8 and the cost is $450 for the week. Meals are included and scholarships are available.

Fagerstrom grew up enjoying Juneau’s outdoors, something she said helps with creativity.

“This isn’t a tree, this is a fort; this is a treehouse; this is a castle. That childlike kind of mindset that you get into when you’re out there — seeing what isn’t seen — it’s a great, great way to experiment with the arts,” she said.

Find out more at www.ptalaska.org or by emailing shona@ptalaska.org.

• Contact CCW staff writer Mary Catharine Martin at maryc.martin@capweek.com.

More in Life

Cabbage, potatoes, salmon and an assortment of pantry staples make for a culinary challenge. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Take a culinary pop quiz

Get creative with what’s in your pantry

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes I wonder, who needs who

Dog whispers we are not. Suckers for unconditional love, you bet.

This undated John E. Thwaites photo, perhaps taken near Seward, shows the S.S. Dora grounded. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 3

Her long career had come to an end at last.

Meredith Harber (courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Don’t let termination dust bring you down

If I’m honest, this time of year is the hardest for me mentally and emotionally.

Pieces hang on display at the Kenai Art Center for the open call show on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘They felt like they could share with us now’

Art center open call offers space for new artists.

The Cosmic Hamlet Entertainment film crew prepares for a new scene to roll on the set of “Bolt from the Blue” at the Kilcher Homestead on Sept. 28. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
‘Bolt from the Blue’ film features Homer

“The Office” star Kate Flannery cast in feature film produced in Homer.

These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Memories of old-fashioned doughnuts

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: October is here again

The days are shorter. We are losing nearly six minutes a day. It’s getting colder.

This John E. Thwaites photo shows the S.S. Dora near Sand Point, Alaska. Thwaites sailed as mail clerk on the Dora between at least 1905 and 1912. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 2

The S.S. Dora touched lives on and became part of the history of the Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska.

Steller Sea Lions can be seen in an enclosure at the Alaska SeaLife Center on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska SeaLife Center to Alaskans: We’re still here for you

You rallied and kept us alive. Today, we’re writing to say thank you.

A wood-carved whale hangs in the Nikiski Senior Center on Sept. 23, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Nikiski Senior Center)
Whale of a job

Nikiski Senior Center gets addition to dining room.

Tomato soup with grilled cheese. (Photo by Tressa Dale)
On the strawberry patch: The comfort of tomato soup

When I was very young, my mother would make me tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on days when I was feeling down.