Campers learn rewards of taking risks on stage

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TOWNSHEND — Leland and Gray Players' Summer Performing Arts Exploration 2019 (SPAE) will present a culminating performance Friday and Saturday, August 9 and 10, in L&G's Dutton Gymnasium, where the program began July 29.

The SPAE 2019 production is "The WIzard of Oz" based on the novel by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Karlie Kauffeld, an SPAE director and manager. As usual, SPAE will present its own version of the story. However, the audience will recognize the familiar characters and places.

Camp this year has been focusing on movement, encouraging students to act with their whole bodies. Becoming more aware of how our bodies move through yoga and collaborating with Bronwyn has helped students show their characters to the audience using their entire body. As usual the campers have really taken hold of the show as their own and added their own creative touch to the popular story. Campers are asked to take creative risks and they've responded accordingly, pushing staff to do the same in return.

The performance incorporates skills in voice, design, lighting, music, sound, movement and production that have been introduced in the program. Kauffeld notes: "The culminating show is the tool to teach the children different skills - acting, singing, dance, design, crew work."

"The show is the reward," fellow director Abby Wicker adds, "but the process of working on it offers the richest learning."

Participants include past SPAE-ers, Lyra Maiello, Fiona Scott, Dylan Persson, Paul Persson, Derrick Persson, Peyton Butinski, Trevor Hazelton, Declan Perry, Alice Clark, Lucca Pozzi, Ruby Hallenback, and KaiLuna Holmes. They are joined by new SPAE-ers, Anslem Marrow, Avery Hiner, Mackson Hiner, Jacob Ziegner, Jaacko Pajala, Joel Olsson, Camden Robinson, Alecia Bills Marley Felker and Bella Bowen, and Dylan Hazelton.

SPAE is in its 12th summer offering workshops in music, design, dance, lighting, sound, and acting. The program is directed and managed by Karlie Kauffeld, L&G '09; Abby Wicker, L&G '02; Emily Fuller, L&G `08; Nathaniel VanOsdol, L&G `16; and Susie Francy, L&G `16. SPAE's staff includes alumni Madison Chase, Julia Asogba-Slowik, Stella Jackins, Abbie Hazelton, Peter Broussard, Jesse Dykes and Alice Coyne. Workshop leaders include camp staff as well as former L&G music director, Ron Kelley; Bronwyn Sims, a local actor, acrobat, choreographer and educator; and Wendy Johnson a local educator and yoga teacher.

Their show will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday, in the Dutton Gymnasium on Route 30. Admission is by donation to SPAE. For more information, contact Abby Wicker at wickerabby@gmail.com or 802-258-1161.

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