ANNA MARIA – After two weeks of fun, the curtains have closed on The Center of Anna Maria Island’s drama camp.
Every year the camp ends with two performances on the stage at the Island Players theater. This year, 15 young thespians came together to perform “Character Matters,” a play featuring more than half a dozen musical numbers.
“With only seven rehearsals, we had to do it kind of like how Henry Ford did when he created the assembly line,” said Pamela Sikkema, who has served as director of the camp for the past 11 years. “We would have some of the kids in one room working on their lines, then they would move and work on their song and then rotate to the stage to work on the lines and the song.”
Sikkema noted that this year’s group of young actors ranged in ages from 6 to 13 with many of the younger ones just learning to read. Both the campers and staff were up to the challenge and the children put on the entire 30-minute performance without a break or intermission.
The story of “Character Matters” follows the monthly meeting of the Fairytale Council, which meets to give advice to fairytale characters. Lessons learned include Goldilocks understanding that she is breaking and entering, the Big Bad Wolf finding out it’s wrong to eat sweet grandmothers and everyone trying to be respectful of each other and live a life where character is important.
Although the camp is run by The Center, all rehearsals and both July 21 performances were held at the Island Players theater in Anna Maria. At the close of the performance, The Center’s Executive Director Chris Culhane was presented with a $2,000 donation by Island Players President Sylvia Marnie.
“We’ve partnered with Island Players for years and they give us a check every year,” Culhane said. “It’s a great partnership. The camp is through The Center, but it takes place here at the Island Players. Every year it’s a new batch of kids and a new learning experience; it’s amazing.”
The money donated to The Center is from a grant the Island Players applied for to give back to a children’s program in the community. Both The Center staff and the Island Players volunteers say they look forward to continuing the partnership for years to come.