Youth summer programming at the Astor is back

·4 min read

Ashley-Rose Goodwin has always found a “safe place” in doing theatre, and she hopes she can create that kind of comfortable escape for students over the next few months as she and the Astor Theatre team up to offer three summer camps this year.

“For me, theatre became my safe space as a high school student because I suffered with anxiety and depression. Theatre was the place where I could be myself, and I didn’t feel uncomfortable or scared or unsure,” she said.

“It was the one spot I knew that, when I walked up to that stage, and I was with my cast, that I would be accepted, and I knew I was okay. I really want to offer as many people as I can that space.”

Goodwin says theatre also can be a great escape for people who just need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

“It’s that one place you can sort of shut down, but at the same time you get to really connect with and discover things about yourself. Life kind of stops and you get to create things,” she said.

Jean Robinson-Dexter, interim general manager of the Astor, is excited to be able to offer summer programming after having to cancel last year due to the pandemic.

“We are thrilled to be re-opening and to be able to offer some programming for the children and youth in the community,” said Robinson-Dexter “We’re just really pleased we are able to do this with all of the ups and downs over the past year.”

Goodwin is originally from Yarmouth, but has lived in Liverpool for the past nine years. A long-time participant in live theatre, she’s in the throes of finishing her honours degree in Theatre Studies with a minor in music. Her studies have included Applied Voice and Vocal Pedogogy.

Well known in Liverpool’s artistic community, Goodwin has been teaching private piano lessons since moving to Liverpool. In 2017, she started the Queens Vocal Troupe, a group that has performed musicals, a cabaret night and Christmas pageants.

She has also worked with the Winds of Change theatre group and has performed in more than 30 theatre productions herself.

She indicated she’s looking forward to applying everything she has learned to teach the camps this summer. The camps will offer instruction in a wide range of skill sets, including acting techniques, musical theatre, vocal techniques, choreography, improvisation and character development.

The first camp is an Improv Adventure camp for children ages six to 10. It will run from July 5 to 16. This will include a lot of work outdoors, adventuring around town and playing improvisational games.

The second camp is Adventure Theatre – Playwriting and Creation. Aimed at ages 11 to 17, it will run from July 19 to 30. Participants will learn all about the site-specific style of theatre and how to work with their surroundings.

The third camp, Broadway Bound – Youth Theatre Program, also is for youth ages 11 to 17 and will be held August 2 to 13. This camp will take students through all aspects of musical theatre.

A fourth camp, Bringing Puppets to Life, will be offered in the fall and will be for youth ages 11 to 17 as well. No dates have been set at this time.

Registration for the camps opened June 16. There is a maximum of 10 participants in each one. Registration for the camps opened June 16. There is a maximum of 10 participants in each one. Those interested in registering for the camps can call the Astor Theatre or stop in during business hours.

The camps have run for several years, most often with two camps offered, a two-week, day-long senior camp which finished off with a performance at the end, and a junior camp that ran for a week, also with a finale.

“I really believe in kids, and I believe they all have the power to sing and perform. They just need guidance and patience. That’s why we are doing this for the kids,” said Goodwin. “To me, to be able to see a bunch of kids on stage with no adults and then have teenagers running the show is really amazing.”

Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

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