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Summer theater workshops through an organization that provides pre-professional training to young people will be “a true summer camp experience, an experience like none other, and there will be ice cream,” said Chanda Hall, artistic director of Staged!

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Chanda Hall works with two young students doing some basic sword play.This is the first year that summer workshops for youth have been held in Oregon City, and Hall would love to fill those slots with kids from Clackamas County to show people you don’t have to drive into Portland to get good training and see stellar theater productions.

And, because she is an OC resident, Hall can walk to work, since the workshops will be held in the Barclay Auditorium at Marylhurst School at 12th and Madison streets.


There are three workshops taking place in Oregon City: Summer Stock, for ages 12 to 18; Staged! Kids!, for ages 6 to 11; and Theatre Leadership Incubator, for ages 18-22.

In Summer Stock, students will spend the morning doing Shakespeare, and the afternoon “diving into ‘Shrek.’ It will make their brains explode in a lovely way, as they learn two shows,” Hall said.

Younger students will enjoy fun activities related to both “Shrek” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and then will have the opportunity to perform with the Summer Stock teens at the end of the camp.

Meanwhile, college students interested in directing, choreography, arts education, and arts administration may apply to be part of the internship program, which Hall will oversee. The older students will work with the younger ones in both workshops.

And then there is the faculty she has assembled for the summer.

“These are the most amazing teaching artists; they are all working professionals, involved in the Portland theater world.”

Special guest artist Andres Alcala has experience teaching Shakespeare to young people, Lizz Brown has choreographed all over town, and John Quesenberry, a well-known conductor in Portland, will be the musical director for “Shrek,” Hall said.

Handling the acting duties will be Paul Angelo, associate artistic director for Staged!, and Kacey Manning, who teaches at West Sylvan Middle School.

The workshops will culminate in performances of both “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Shrek the Musical” on Aug. 2 and 3.

“We will present two free Shakespeare in the Park performances for the community on both Aug. 2 and 3 at 2 p.m. in Atkinson Park, an unsung little gem of a sun-dappled park in Oregon City, and then ‘Shrek’ will be at 7 p.m. both nights in the Barclay Auditorium. Stamina will be needed and adrenalin will push them through,” Hall said.

Advantages of theater

“Extensive research has shown there are so many benefits to being part of a theater production; there is collaboration, developing creative and critical thinking, and learning effective communication skills. That is why we do a theater-education program,” Hall said.

“It really is open to everyone and is a great entry point” for anyone interested in theater, since they will get both backstage and onstage experience, she added.

Hall said she is grateful for a grant from the city of Oregon City, which will allow her to offer some scholarships to neighborhood kids, hoping that the ability to pay is not a deterrent to those interested in participating.

And it will be fun, as well, Hall said.

“There will be ensemble building and friendships developing — the performing community is such a supportive environment,” she said, noting that students will learn stage combat outside the school in a meadow, sing songs under trees, and build a paper-mache dragon.

Hall added, “Kids will say this is the highlight of their year. It will allow them to stretch themselves and engage in something they are passionate about. The quality of the teaching staff is huge and no kid will be overlooked. This will be the ideal camp experience.”

Act up!

What: Staged! summer theater workshops

Where: Marylhurst School, inside Barclay Community School, 817 12th St., Oregon City

When: Workshops begin July 14, visit stagedpdx.org or call 971-322-5723 to register and see dates of specific workshops.

Details: Summer Stock is for ages 12 to 18; Staged! Kids! is for ages 6 to 11; and Theatre Leadership Incubator is for ages 18 to 22.

Performances: See performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” at 2 p.m. on Aug. 2 and 3, outdoors at Atkinson Park, 160 Jackson St., Oregon City. Performances of “Shrek the Musical” will take place at 7 p.m. on Aug. 2 and 3 in the Barclay Auditorium at Marylhurst School.

More: Staged! also will hold a musical-in-one-weekend workshop in Portland and during the school year offers the S! Conservatory, a comprehensive training program for young people ages 14-18 who seek to pursue theater as a vocation. Auditions for the Conservatory are by appointment only on June 22, 23, 29 and July 1. Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve a spot.

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