BRISTOL BOROUGH >> When they took the stage on August 8 at the Bristol Riverside Theatre, it was more than outrageous. It was ArtRageous!
ArtRageous is a free summer camp experience that provides kids with four weeks of theater, dance, arts and crafts and poetry at the Snyder-Girotti Elementary School.
Through acting, dance/movement, story-telling and creative writing, kids have the opportunity to shine on stage while building basic life skills, increasing self-esteem and self-efficacy, developing critical and creative thinking skills, and learning how to empathize with their peers.
The camp culminates with a summer finale of dance numbers and vignettes, all performed before a capacity crowd and on stage at the Bristol Riverside Theatre.
And this year’s show again lived up to the ArtRageous name with a colorful, non-stop, energy-filled finale that included musical numbers from “Shrek Jr.” and “The Ugly Duckling.”
From the cool moves of the Junior, Teen and Senior Dance Groups to staged excerpts from “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” “Honk!,” “Freshman Trap,” “Diary of a Whimpy Kid,” “Bad Fairy,” “Footloose” and “Hamilton,” the kids wowed a packed theatre for about an hour.
“We pride ourselves in fostering youth in activities that focus on leadership, creativity, communication, teamwork, and healthy self-esteem building. Campers challenge themselves on a daily basis and obtain increased knowledge of themselves and others through the art,” said ArtRageous Director Qadriyyah Tongori, who is know affectionately by campers and staff as “Q.”
“Through their shared experiences our campers create work they are proud of,” said Q. “They understand the time and effort that it takes to reach goals as a team. Lasting friendships are created that extend beyond ArtRageous. Plus, the opportunity to rehearse and perform on the BRT professional stage is a really big deal to the kids!”
Each year, the program fills to capacity on a first come, first served basis.
Once a camper is accepted into the program, they are guaranteed a spot for two years. Priority registration is also extended to siblings and children who are seven years or older who live in the camper’s household.
Each day, the camp starts with free breakfast followed by 45 minute classes including hip-hop dance, acting, music and arts and crafts. The kids are divided into three groups (Juniors ages 7-9, Seniors ages 10-12, and Teens ages 13-16). In the middle of day, each group has free lunch, recess and group time.
During group time the children and teens participate in activities focused on sharing, leadership and communication facilitated by the counselors.
Fridays brings a few changes to the schedule with increased leadership classes and studio time. Teens also can choose to volunteer in the classrooms of the younger campers.
All campers take musical theatre. Plus the camp hosts a pizza, music or Rita’s Water Ice party on Fridays. There is also an Extra Share table for food items available for students to take home if they choose.
Themes develop with the campers and much of the showcase is written or co-written by campers and their acting and poetry teachers. Themes in the past have included anti-bullying, fairy tales and random acts of kindness. This year the campers explored musical theatre.
Since 1986, BRT has continued to bring critically acclaimed professional theatre to Bucks County. The theatre is the recipient of over 71 Barrymore Award nominations for Excellence in Theatre, given annually by Theatre Philadelphia. Under the direction of Artistic Director Keith Baker, Founding Director Susan D. Atkinson, and Managing Director Kevin Maroney, the theatre serves as a cultural hub for the community.
In addition to its Mainstage productions, BRT offers four concerts including the holiday tradition An American Christmas Songbook, the new play development series America Rising, and the summer theater arts camp ArtRageous. For information, visit www.brtstage.org.