This spring break, Golden youth are going to get the opportunity to grow their theatrical skills with a week-long drama camp.
Denise Bertrand, director, writer and producer, decided to bring her program to Golden to help inspire children to get out of their shells and develop a multitude of skills that goes along with performing.
“Children naturally role-play from an early age. They thrive when they are in their fantasies/ make-believe worlds and I am not talking about early childhood. Middle childhood is ripe with the need to follow the quests of their imaginations,” said Bertrand, who has been working with youth most of her life.
“There are so many benefits that children receive from co-creating together in a Drama Club or Camp…. confidence; expansion of creativity; listening and imagination skills; spatial awareness; power of voice; celebrating talent in oneself and others; the power of joy and new friendships, to name a few.”
Bertrand has developed her expertise through experience, beginning at the age of 16 when she wrote her first play and staged it at a local park. By 22 she opened an after school theatre program for students aged 4-10 in Toronto. She then spent the next years of her life travelling, and opening up theatres in Salt Spring Island, then Singapore and Thailand.
“Experience with many children, cultures and shows has given me the confidence and expertise in what I do,” she said.
Even though most children who sign up for Drama Clubs or Camps already have the motivation and confidence to perform, sometimes Bertrand has to coax it out of her students a little bit.
After observing them and helping them to see they are in a safe environment, she has developed a knack for knowing when they are ready to contribute.
“I gently push them to get over their fear as that is how I see it emotionally, a fear of not doing it right, or a fear of not being ‘perfect’ or a fear of being laughed at,” she said.
“During these moments, I find that shy children learn to break free and then can more easily contribute.”
The Golden camp, taking place March 27-31, includes classes from 1-5 p.m. Monday to Friday, followed by a performance for family and friends on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. The camp will earn them a certificate, and the show will be followed with a pizza party.
“Children do not need ‘experience’ to be in any of my programs, but of course if they have talent in dance, or singing or music than we do our best to utilize those talents in the show if we can,” added Bertrand.
“Theatre helps children ‘play’ again and gets them out of the chair and into the air of their imaginations. And one more thing…laughter is guaranteed.”
To learn more about the camp and its cost, or to see Bertrand’s past productions, go to www.denisebertrand.com.