Summer camps offer creativity and imagination at the State Theatre

Posted by on May 3, 2016

At a recent theatre workshop held at the State Theatre, instructor Andrea Wilcockson helps Luke Freitas personify the hero archetype in how he speaks, acts and presents himself.

At a recent theatre workshop held at the State Theatre, instructor Andrea Wilcockson helps Luke Freitas personify the hero archetype in how he speaks, acts and presents himself.

Summer camps offer creativity and imagination at the State Theatre

The State Theatre of Culpeper is known to many in the region as the venue for shows, plays, musicals, Sunday family movies, band performances and concerts. Many do not realize that it is all of these things and more, offering an education center for those interested in learning the theatre arts. The State Theatre of Culpeper’s summer camp series begins June 6 and registration is currently open.

Executive Director Steven Barker, Education Coordinator Tara Moylan, and several hired theatre instructors make sure that the STEP (State Theatre Education Program) is full of fun, acting, improvisation techniques, stage management, tech support lessons, camps and classes, creativity and teamwork, collaboration and discovery.

Denise Mabie of Locust Grove is a State Theatre patron and mother of two young aspiring actors. Her eight year old daughter, Hayden Mabie, attended the State Theatre’s STEP Spring Break Camp this year. Denise says, “Andrea (the spring break camp instructor) is amazing. She did something that Hayden thought was the best thing in the world. At the end of camp performance, the instructor took both of the hands of each child, looked them in the eyes, and gave positive comments to each of them and encouraged them in their unique strengths on stage. That meant so much to Hayden.”

She continues, “Hayden learned so much from Andrea, who is the perfect combination of someone who is trained (Andrea has a college degree in the arts) and really knows what she is doing!, and someone who cares for the children. We will be back for sure.” (Hayden is currently playing the part of a farm animal in Charlotte’s Web – a production by Piedmont Players that will run at the State Theatre May 20-22.)

“I loved it, and I want to do it again,” says Hayden of the STEP camp. She shares that the campers played acting improv games, learned stage directions, used their own creativity for costumes, and put together the storyline for the end of camp performance, which was based on a well-known children’s book, but the campers added their own twists and turns with individual and group input.

This summer, the State Theatre will offer one week and two week summer camps full of jam-packed days of acting, creative drama and visual arts for students to enjoy during their days off from school (and to help working parents while school is on break)! The camps cover a variety of topics in creative drama, acting, improvisation and visual arts. Campers can register for a morning session, an afternoon session, or combine morning and afternoon sessions for a full-day experience.

Campers who are staying for a full day of camp should bring lunch. Lunchtime is supervised. Before and after care is available at an additional cost. Summer camps are offered Monday through Friday with two daily sessions: morning (9 a.m.-12:45 p.m.) and afternoon (1:15-4:30 p.m). Experienced instructors lead the camps and children are well supervised. For more information, visit

Camps range in price from $150 for half-day camp elementary camps to $395 for full-day middle school camps. A generous discount is applied when one registers for more than one camp. Fun and imaginative camp themes for elementary campers include Supermen & Wonder Women (June 6-10/July 25-29), Knights & Princesses (June 13-17), Galaxy Guardian (June 20-24), Jungle Adventures (June 27-July 1), Pirates & Mermaids (July 11-15), Wardrobes & Wonderlands (July 18-22). Middle school aged campers will enjoy Theatre-Maker: Stage Starters and Acting FUNdamentals which will cover playwriting, acting, prop building, puppet- making and other elements of production. Students learn both how to create character through improvisation training and by working with script in hand. Skills for auditioning, collaborating, and teamwork are all explored in this fun and fast-paced extravaganza of theatre training.

And let’s certainly not forget the visual camps offered this summer at the State Theatre! Mask Madness, Outside the Lines, Fan Frenzy and Outside the Box are camps will offer creativity, sketching, design, history and expression. Various 2-D & 3-D media including acrylic, watercolor, collage, pastels, charcoal, papier-mache, recycled materials, and natural objects will be used. Emphasis will be on artistic self-expression, experimentation, and art appreciation!

“We invest in education here at the State Theatre,” says Mr. Barker, who has worked in theatre education in the public school system. “We’re really very proud of our STEP program and welcome the community to utilize all that it offers for children and teens. We have hopes of expanding this program in the future to include regular classes for adults and seniors as well.”