While YST wrestled with ideas on how to preserve their summer camp schedule in the age of COVID-19, thankfully, theatrical licensing companies were busy coming up with their own survival strategies. YST committed to doing their annual summer musical theatre camps online weeks ago but were unsure how they would actually be able to present the campers’ hard work to an audience. Then, just in time for their first camp of the summer, along came the streaming license.
“This is a totally different and challenging way of doing things, and we’re excited at how it’s working out,” says Jack Bennett, YST co-founder and director. “The online camp gets smoother every day, and we keep hearing from the kids how much fun they’re having!” The task they have taken on seems daunting, but Bennett is confident the result will be worth it. “We’re actually directing everything for the screen. Instead of ‘Enter Stage Right’, we’re saying things like ‘Enter Camera Right’, ‘Start onscreen’, and talking about things like how tight or wide to shoot it.” Inspired by some quarantine musical numbers Jack and Gloria saw online, each of the 19 campers (as young as 7) will be filming their parts of their scenes at home, then uploading to Jack to be edited into a full performance of “The Sound of Music” – something Bennett terms “video theatre”. The streaming license allows them to edit these clips together, then sell tickets to stream to a live audience.
“Our choreographer David is sending me storyboards of his vision on how to lay out different numbers on screen, our costumer Jaclyn went to our storage and put together a bag of costumes for each performer that they picked up so they can film at home in costume, we’re getting them props, etc. It’s all a bit crazy but very exciting! I’ve been editing video for nearly 20 years, but this will be by far the most involved project I’ve ever done! 100’s of clips to put together into an entertaining whole.” The campers have already starting filming themselves with instructions from the directors, and early results are exciting. To get notified about the livestream premier, just get on their email list at www.YoungStarsTheatre.org
If your child is looking for something fun and unique to do this summer, YST has one more virtual camp, “Willy Wonka Jr”, and there are still spaces available. “Willy Wonka Jr.” starts on June 29 and runs for two weeks, Monday thru Friday. For all camp info, please visit www.YoungStarsTheatre.org/summercamps