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Casting

Page Outline:

  • Our Craft and Philosophy of Casting
  • Goals for the different age groups
  • Camp Casting Process by age 12 and up, 10-11, 8-9 

For casting information for our high school-aged camp in Vermont, click here

Our Craft:  Meeting Each Age Group with the Best Theater Experience

Inspirations Camps and Clubs exist to give youth a camp and theater experience that is right for their age group.  We spend over 2000 hours per show crafting an original, full-length musical that we believe will meet them well, full of age-appropriate action, drama, humor, and songs. The young people take these shows on and put on an amazing performance.

Can young people really do this?

Torsti directs children with a rare energy, that 1st and 8th graders alike are completely captivated and engaged by his direction.
— Former Teacher / Singing Coach Myra Hudson

Having worked in youth productions the past ~seven years, we have seen time and time again the acting ability, dedication, and memorization skills that children can bring—if given the chance. Here at Inspirations Camps we give these younger students the chance to step up to the roles that we feel they are truly capable of.

 

Our goals and considerations for the different age groups at camp

CHILDREN 12 AND UP

Students 12 and older may be cast as leads or in group parts

Students 12 and older may be cast as leads or in group parts

Children twelve and up have usually begun to explore their individualism in the world differently than they did in their earlier years. Here they have the chance to take on strong characters and larger roles in the play. We find this opportunity (and challenge) can really meet this age group as they get to know and balance their budding sense of self. At times we also cast this age grup in group parts, as sometimes that theater experience best meets the needs of that particular individual. Some students this age at our camp will have both an individualized part (or parts) and one or more group parts. Occasionally, children in this age group get involved in working with and mentoring the younger students at camp.

10-11 year olds sometimes act or sing in small groups

10-11 year olds sometimes act or sing in small groups


10 - 11 Year olds

10-11 year olds have a certain sophistication and awakening of awareness very different than their earlier years. They are often ready for different challenges than they were even a few years before. We strive to meet this age by giving them both fun group parts and smaller individual roles—a few spoken lines in a street scene here, a short solo or small-group part of a group song there.

On occasion, 11-year olds are chosen for  lead parts that typically go to the older students. When registering, please let us know if you think your 11 year old is interested in being considered for a larger role. This age also has lead parts at our 1-week Oregon camp.

Some of our younger students playing forest ruffians

Some of our younger students playing forest ruffians

8 - 9 year olds

We feel the 8-9 year-olds can thrive best when cast in group roles onstage: they do not need the spotlight of individual attention at that early age--even if they can be quite expressive as individuals, which we love to see! These students get to live into our group roles as a team, with occasional small-group emphasis. Sometimes 9-year olds will work with the 10-11 year olds.

These students also will get a chance for more expression as they rehearse then put on our in-camp mini-production of the play, to which parents and friends will be invited. 

 

              HOW CASTING WORKS

  • Ages 12* and up :

Students aged 12* and up (*plus some inspired 11-year olds) at our camps can either

  • express interest in a lead role (or roles) when they apply  
  • ask to be considered for smaller parts and/or group parts instead.

If they are applying for a role that has solo singing, we ask the students to prepare one or two songs that highlight their range, pitch and expression by May 1st 2016. These can be recorded and sent electronically, shared live over the phone, or shown as part of a Skype call. If the child is selected for consideration of a lead role, we will contact your child with an offer of a particular role or a choice among several roles. Selection for leads is scheduled to be complete by mid-May.

Leads in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Leads in A Midsummer Night's Dream

CHILDREN SELECTED FOR LEAD ROLES WILL BE GIVEN THE SCRIPT AND THE SONGS BY MID-MAY, AND WILL BE EXPECTED TO LEARN THEIR SONGS AND MEMORIZE THEIR LINES BY THE START OF CAMP  For most students, estimate 20-45 minutes of work 5-6 days a week for six-seven weeks before camp begins (though some students learn lines more quickly). If a student is not up for this workload over the summer, they should not request consideration for a lead role.

Students aged 12 and up who are not interested in the larger lead roles will be given one or more smaller parts (which could be spoken, sung, or non-speaking, depending on the needs of the student and the play), and/or they will also be cast in the group parts that correspond to this age group. All students aged 12 and up will also be asked to memorize their character(s)' lines and songs by the beginning of camp August 4th. (Note: if a student is shy about acting and wishes to be cast minimally, we can usually make this arrangement as well).
 

  • Ages 10 - 11

In our 2- and 3-week camps, our 10-11 year olds are dually cast: they play both group parts but also sometimes one (or more) smaller individual parts. These roles typically have one or more spoken lines, or sometimes some shorter song snippets, either solo or in a small group. Children this age might have more or less stage time based on their appetite and comfort.

In our 1-week camp in Oregon, depending on the child, ages 10 and 11 can step up to hold a small lead part for the performance. 

  • AGES 8 - 9

Our 8-9 year olds are cast in group parts such as townsfolk, pirates, animals, and soldiers. They sing group songs and get to play in some choreography--a nice introduction to the theater. Sometimes a 9-year old will work with the next oldest group. Further, they get to help create our within-camp mini-show of the year's production, a treat for both the kids as actors, and the other camp members and friends/family who get to see it.

HELPING STUDENTS AGED 12 AND OLDER GET READY BEFORE CAMP BEGINS

This depends almost entirely on the child in question. Some students this age are entirely self-directed. You give them the script six weeks before camp, and they'll do what they need to do to be ready by the first day. For others, it can be helpful to have parental help creating structure and an occasional nudge towards making sure memorization of lines is happening. For 99% of actors it does -NOT- work to put off learning lines until two-three weeks before camp and then learn them in a panic. For most students, regular, structured time for memorization helps the lines sink in and become second nature by the time camp starts. 

HELPING THE 8-11 YEAR OLDS GET READY BEFORE CAMP BEGINS

For all students 8-11, we ask parents to help these students have their songs memorized and lines learned by the time camp starts (July 6 Portland Oregon, August 3 Vermont). We have found that beginning four-five weeks before camp and spending 10-15 minutes a day on lines and songs is a safe practice. It also helps just listening to the songs each day or every day for the first few weeks—that works for most 8-11 year olds. Often they learn them much more quickly than most adults would.

Since the lines have been learned before camp starts, when camp begins we can jump right into focusing on exploring dramatic expression

Since the lines have been learned before camp starts, when camp begins we can jump right into focusing on exploring dramatic expression

With the kids coming to camp knowing the songs, our next step is to learn where we go on stage during the show

With the kids coming to camp knowing the songs, our next step is to learn where we go on stage during the show

Younger students in a group part as monkeys making a bridge

Younger students in a group part as monkeys making a bridge