"What starts as unfamiliar becomes comfortable; students can feel that change and it really empowers them to try more and more and more!"
Marcie Bramucci (Director of Community Investment) had a chat with Director of Education & Civic Practice Kathryn Moroney to find out what makes SummerBLAST such a unique experience – for students and staff alike.
MB: As we count down the last days of the school year, the time is almost upon us for SummerBLAST. What are you looking forward to this year?
KM: Oh, gosh, the energy! Having our building flooded with so many young people, all different ages and coming from different parts of our region, all getting to know each other as friends and collaborators gives us all such a jolt of excitement. Let’s be honest: most of us adults wish there were a few more times in our lives to gather with like-minded others in a spirit of camaraderie and adventure. Lots of us would be signing up for summer camps if we could! It does feel pretty thrilling to build an oasis of creativity and laughter and fun for students – children and teens are craving these joyful, low-pressure spaces to try new things and thrive. I’m excited to give that freedom and those memories to as many students as we can.
MB: What is the significance of the full-immersion experience of SummerBLAST?
KM: You do a tiny bit of something – a game, a hobby, a sport, a trip somewhere – and you get the fun of surprise, of novelty. But… when you do a LOT of something, then you get the thrill of mastery, the growth that only comes with practice – over full, consecutive days. Not only are our students going to test a whole range of personal and collaborative skills, they will be using them daily as creators in exercises and rehearsals. What starts as unfamiliar becomes comfortable; students can feel that change and it really empowers them to try more and more and more!
Honestly, those super-immersive days are my own favorite memories of summer camps: feeling I had disappeared entirely into another world! Talking nothing but camp, doing nothing but camp, sleeping and dreaming of camp. I must have driven my parents insane on quite a few car rides babbling in what probably sounded like my own secret code about the things I was learning, all the people, all the inside jokes. I knew they couldn’t imagine it all, but I remember that feeling of almost literally bursting with pride and new thoughts.
MB: Unlike some other theatre training experiences, our summer programs don’t typically start with a script or the idea of producing an existing piece of theatre.. That seems like it could be a scary task – like working without a net! Can you tell me the appeal of working this way?
KM: This is probably a question I get the most often – maybe because most theatre fans enjoy making and/or watching full productions and many of us have our favorite shows in mind! Obviously here at People’s Light we love producing plays, but rehearsing an existing piece also dictates so much about how students must spend their time: who will memorize what, who explores what type of character, who will have scenes together, and so on. Emphasizing the process of skill-building means we on the staff get to be nimble with how we plan out SummerBLAST days, and we can make sure everyone has personal attention and individual challenges as the work develops.
We won’t find ourselves locked into who has a “leading” role or seems like a particular character “type,” because neither of those is ideal for a learning environment. We do share a project at the end of each age group’s SummerBLAST session, but until the students arrive, we only know our starting points. For the rest of the journey, we need them.
SummerBLAST registration is still open for ages 7-18. Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610.647.1900 x137.