Written by: Adara Jensen
At the Academy Center of the Arts, students participate in incredible youth theatre performances that build friendships, develop professional skills, and create memorable experiences. Not only do we desire to continue to offer successful youth theatre programs, but we are also beginning to offer technical theatre classes for youth who prefer behind the scenes action. One example is our first time ever “Intro to Costume Design” summer camp taught by Lindsay Patton, our Youth Theatre Costumer.
In this week-long class for ages 12-18, students first learned some history of costume design in both theatre and film. They saw the Academy’s costume shop and learned how some costumers add embellishments from existing items to create new looks. The remaining days were spent learning introductory sewing techniques, which included skills such as threading the machine, straight stiches, and hand sewing.
With this new knowledge, students created lioness tails for the Academy’s Disney’s The Lion King Jr. production, which performed July 19th and 20th. In addition to sewing the tails, the students constructed Pumbaa’s paper mache headpiece for the show. Afterwards, they were able to observe a costume fitting for the camp and even enjoyed one of the performances.
Reflecting on their experience as a whole, students described the class as enjoyable and rewarding due to learning how to hand stitch and use a sewing machine, skills most of them have never before learned. Their newfound abilities enabled them to create pieces for Lion King Jr. in a way that brought them joy and confidence. Shelby Kent, age 14, shares learning a unique skill in particular, saying, “It was cool learning how to use the sewing machine to sew with fake fur. That was interesting because it’s very difficult.”
Another student, Morey Becker (age 17), says, “I really liked learning how to use patterns because I didn’t know how to do that before. That is definitely something I’m going to use from now on.”
Challenged to summarize the class in one word, students eagerly responded with words such as “fun” (Kate McCurley, age 13), “creative” (Kent), and “fulfilling” (Becker).
With the success of the costuming camp this summer, the education department at the Academy is eager to grow the program to include more technical theatre experiences for our students.