2020 VIRTUAL Season: September—December
Door Shakespeare‘s CAMP WILL is BACK! Yes, that is right. There are three one-week sessions this summer – all on a virtual platform – beginning July 13.
Managing Director Amy Ensign, who guides Door Shakespeare’s educational programming, sat down with Camp Will Director, Elyse Edelman, Teaching Artists Scott McKenna Campbell, Jarrod Langwinski, and Teaching Apprentice, Selma Rivera, to chat about Camp Will’s virtual program.
How have you been spending your time lately?
SCOTT: I’ve been writing a paper! This is the first summer since 2009 that I have not traveled to a summer company to work on Shakespeare, so I am using the time to focus on my PhD dissertation at UW-Madison. I’ve also been revising a new play with music that I wrote in Winter and trying to keep up on musical instrument practice, but those last two activities are desserts.
JARROD: I try to keep some semblance of a schedule including working out, working on digital theatre projects, job hunting, and occasionally writing music, but I find that in execution it’s a bit of a free-for-all. These days, with the great urgency at hand, I find myself protesting and spreading awareness for Black Lives Matter and related groups more than anything else.
SELMA : I have been spending a lot of my time practicing the guitar and working on lots of virtual theatre projects!
Have you discovered any new passions?
JARROD: Not yet, but I have noticed that I can no longer sleep with socks on, which is counter to how I’ve spent the majority of my life.
SCOTT: I have rediscovered the joy of reading fiction and fantasy novels. I think that the combination of having more downtime than normal and wanting to spend hours not looking at screens have got me sitting with non-work books for longer stretches than I have felt justified in doing since enrolling in graduate school. I welcome Camper recommendations.
AMY: Same here! In early March I sent out a Facebook request for book recommendations. It was lovely to see friends from all walks: childhood, summer camp, college, and the different places I’ve lived, chatting together about books.
What brings you back to Camp Will?
ELYSE: Besides the fact I just love teaching theatre, the students and families that I’ve gotten to know are a big reason I love teaching at Camp Will year after year. We’ve created a dynamic, growing family over the last several years. I love tracking the growth of every student and welcoming new young people into our company.
SELMA: For me, Camp Will has always been a place of joy, growth, and learning. I love getting to share a space with all of the amazing teachers and students at Camp Will and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a teaching apprentice this summer!
JARROD: The amazing and kindhearted leadership of Elyse Edleman had me ready to return the moment last summer’s session ended, but the interest of the students involved is the number one thing I look forward to. Passion fuels passion, and I love situations where both student and teacher fuel each other to bring forth an invigorating environment.
Why do you teach theatre?
ELYSE: A million reasons. One of them: Growing up, theatre taught me more about living than any school lesson did. To truly embody a character, an actor must dig deep into the psyche and soul of the person they are playing. An actor must always find a justification as to why their characters – even the “villain” – make the choices they do. Empathy is an essential part of the actor’s work. And I believe that those of us who can learn to be truly empathetic, ultimately are more compassionate people as well.
JARROD: I teach theatre because I know what it is like to be on the other side of it and how important the right teacher can be to an artist’s growth. Being trained on the guidelines of “a critical mind and a generous heart,” I believe that I have some of the tools beneficial to both providing an understandable and relatable learning format as well as one that can be entertaining.
AMY: I love watching a student leave a class a little taller than when they came in. The empowerment and confidence a student gets from learning something new is priceless!
SELMA: Theatre is a very important part of my life, and I love getting to share what I have learned with other people, regardless of age or experience. I am forever learning and I love to teach theatre because I believe that is forever a valuable lesson.
SCOTT: Theatre education—whether performance or appreciation centered—helps both teachers and students to understand and engage the world around them better. People often share an Oscar Wilde quote that sums this up. He is quoted as saying, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” I think that’s probably true, and probably enough reason to share a passion for theatre with younger people.
What are some of the similarities and the differences between a virtual Camp Will and our usual location under the magnificent maple on the Door Shakespeare stage?
SCOTT: The smallest campers will not try to steal my bandana this year! Or will they? We’re looking forward to working together as Camp Will teachers and leadership to develop Zoom-specific curriculum to maximize the summer together. Elyse will be running the show, so we will be fine like always. Students will still get to (virtually) connect with old friends and meet new ones while doing work that challenges them artistically within a supportive framework.
AMY: The curriculum additions sound fabulous: clown work, juggling, puppetry, commercial, and film technique.
ELYSE: Video is related to film acting more than stage acting! Film acting calls for subtlety in expression and smaller, controlled gestures.
AMY: Yes! You’ve really looked at the video platform and closely identified the potential of the platform. I love the pre-camp orientation and that you will be editing together footage from the week with the campers scene work for the final Greenshare presentation.
How does the virtual platform extend your ability to reach young actors?
JARROD: The virtual platform will allow us to reach farther than we ever have before and bring in students who haven’t had an opportunity to work with Camp Will yet or haven’t had the fortune of being able to come to Door County in the summer.
SCOTT: Virtual platforms are showing great promise in remote theatre collaborations. I’m looking forward to seeing how this platform can help us serve young actors to not only prepare for a return to conventional stages, but also to feel comfortable making work and collaborating digitally once Camp Will is finished.
At the end of a session of Camp Will, what do you hope our campers walk away with in their pocket? What will they get from this experience?
JARROD: I hope the students walk out with, at least, an interest in learning and the importance of Shakespeare and, at best, an understanding of the importance of the arts to spread hope, empathy, and the ignition of change in the world.
ELYSE: At its core, Door Shakespeare’s Camp Will seeks to engage young people with Shakespeare’s text and to use it as a tool to find empathy and compassion for others across the spectrum of humanity. Together with professional teaching artists, students will explore the reasons that academics and artists continue to study Shakespeare today, and hopefully they continue that tradition once they leave camp and go back to their communities.
I see those students now in Olivia, who chose to direct a children’s play after she returned to school from a summer at Camp Will. She will now combine her love for sciences and the arts as a major in both cellular and developmental biology and art at the University of Iowa.
Or in Selma and Alice, both quietly focused, now acting on professional stages in Wisconsin. I see those students in Simon, who had off-the-wall energy and enthusiasm and is now the president of his student council.
SELMA: I am thrilled to get to work on the Camp Will teaching team and explore all that comes with virtual camp this summer.
ELYSE: Just imagine what Camp Will could help us to see in your future camper.
To learn more about Camp Will, click here.
Door Shakespeare Summer Theatre Program
P.O. Box 351
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202-0351
To reserve your spot: 920-854-7111
Thank you to Camp Will’s sponsor, Door County Delivered!
Door County Delivered to Your Doorstep.