Childrens’ creativity unleashed on stage

Kids create a musical in one week at camp

Hudson Reid

Hudson Reid

A group of kids in the Capital Region are using their imaginations and creative spirit to create an original work of musical theatre as part of a unique summer camp dubbed Musical in a Week.

The week-long program is the brainchild of professional musician Paul O’Brien, who already hosted one such camp earlier this summer, for children aged four to nine. The upcoming camp is geared towards kids between the ages of eight and 12.

At Musical in a Week, O’Brien spends a week guiding children through the process of writing and staging an original musical. But it’s the kids themselves who come up with the content.

“The children decide for themselves what they want to do,” O’Brien said. “There’s not a designated part for them to play. I want to empower them. It’s about expressing themselves in their own voice.”

O’Brien’s background as both a teacher and a musician gives him a unique perspective when it comes to dealing with children. Though the task of coming up with an original show in the span of just five days seems daunting, he says once they get started, the kids really take the concept and run with it.

“They create the characters. They create the storyline,” he said. “The subject matter can be anything from politics to bullying.”

O’Brien, who also teaches guitar and performance from his own studio when he’s not on stage himself, came up with the musical-in-a-week concept after leading performance workshops at schools in the UK, Germany and Canada. The current model evolved from a project he worked on at St. Patrick’s school in Victoria.

“I went to each class and wrote a single song with each class,” O’Brien explained. “As you can imagine, writing a musical with 400 children is nearly impossible.”

With a smaller group, O’Brien said, it’s easier to create a full show, and the kids get to participate on a larger scale.

Feedback from the first camp has been overwhelmingly positive.

“With so many performance-based music programs, it’s rare to find opportunities for children to participate in the creative process,” said Kathy Alexander, whose six-year-old daughter attended. “This camp celebrates the creativity and expression of children.”

O’Brien said he never ceases to be amazed by the kids’ limitless imaginations and their ability to put together an entertaining show in such a short timeframe.

“I literally turn up on Monday morning with these children with no idea what’s going to happen,” he said. “By the end we have a completely contained musical.”

Musical in a Week runs from Aug. 15-19 at St. Michaels University School, 3400 Richmond Rd. Cost is $250 per child. For more information, please visit www.smus.ca/life/extension/holiday.

editor@oakbaynews.com

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read