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  • Writer's pictureManchester Information

Local Theatre Program Spotlights Young Talent

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

If your son or daughter is looking for something unique to do before returning to the classroom in September, you might want to consider theatre camp.

With six shows spanning from June to the end of August each year, the Palace Youth Theatre Summer Camp program offers students grades 2-12 robust exposure to the world of show business, from acting and set design to singing and choreography.

Both older (above) and younger (below) students have access to modern, brightly lit rehearsal rooms

“From the first day [of camp] until the Friday at the end of the camp, they learn an entire show and put it out,” explained Megan Quinn, director of the Palace Youth Theatre. “It’s wild.”

Ranging from one to two weeks, the camps cram a lot of experiences into a small amount of time; the regular season Youth Theatre program also boasts alumni that have gone on to perform on Broadway such as Max Clayton and Kaleigh Cronin. But that shouldn’t discourage would-be students from getting their feet wet if they’re new to acting.

“That’s amazing,” Quinn remarked, regarding the program’s notable former students, “but it’s not really what it’s about - it’s about having a safe space for these kids.”

PYT Director Megan Quinn peruses one of the many racks of costumes housed in the old church that now serves as both a rehearsal and storage space for the Palace Theatre

More costumes

Quinn went on to emphasize the positive impact the program can have on a person’s life whether they end up pursuing a career in the theatre or not.

“So many times you would have no idea [of the impact it had] but then a senior will come back and say ‘I didn’t fit in anywhere else’ or ‘I hated school’ or ‘I was bullied at school’ or ‘no one liked me at school’ but ‘here I could be myself and that was okay.’”

“That’s what it’s all about. They’re finding their voices here. They’re finding friends here.”

Unlike some programs, PYT takes a holistic approach to the world of theatre, teaching students not only how to follow stage directions and remember their lines but also how to design a background or run a light board.

“If you have tech knowledge, that’s going to make you more valuable and marketable,” Quinn said. “It’s definitely not just singing and acting and a little dancing.”

To that end, PYT offers individual classes in dance, voice, audition prep, improv, and more for students who might just want to hone their skills in a particular area without rehearsing for a full-scale musical.

The stained glass and vaulted ceilings of the old church imbue the prop room with a sense of dramatic reverence

Dress rehearsal for Mary Poppins

And if cost is a concern, PYT offers scholarships and financial assistance to those who need it, all funded by the generous contributions of their donors, which have recently been on a fortuitous rise.

“This is the place to explore and be whoever the heck you want to be,” Quinn said. “The most important thing for me is that these kids feel comfortable and safe and happy here.”


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