Annual theatre camp to present “Mean Girls”

Cast photo from 2023 Hesston College Theatre Camp

Student actors ages 11 to 18 are invited to stage a live theatre performance at Hesston College’s annual summer theatre camp June 16 to 22. The weeklong theatre immersion will culminate in a public performance of the musical “Mean Girls” at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 22, in the Hesston Mennonite Church sanctuary on the Hesston College campus.

“Our theatre camp is a great way for students to have fun and grow in their love of theatre,” says Rachel Jantzi, director of theatre at Hesston College. “At the end of the week when our actors and tech crew take their final bow on a show we put together in six and a half days, they are exhausted, but proud. They have accomplished something so difficult while making lasting friendships in a place that allows them the opportunity to gain confidence and courage.”

Theatre camp offers students a chance to be fully involved in the process of creating something from nothing. Participants will have the opportunity to learn and expand on skills including vocalization, staging, choreography, safety protocol in the scene shop, scene painting techniques and how to thread a sewing machine. Students of all experience levels are encouraged to attend, even if they’ve never performed or used a drill.

“I look forward to running this camp every year,” says Jantzi. “I love teaching that first dance number, staging that first scene, hearing that opening song, waiting for that first piece of scenery to be loaded in, watching them practice on their break time, listening to them sing the score as they walk from lunch back to rehearsal, and seeing them light up when it all starts coming together. My most favorite thing, though, is watching families and friends applaud and recognize the hard work their kids have done. It leaves them beaming!

Jantzi believes that “Mean Girls” will be a great selection for the camp’s performance because it tackles important issues young people will relate to.

“I wanted to do a newer show that had a wide range of leads and supporting characters,” says Jantzi. “I think Tina Fey is a good comedic writer who can weave a solid story into a ridiculous scenario. It’s a you-reap-what-you-sow film that asks how much are you willing to lose to please others, people who wouldn’t even give you the time of day? The musical tackles this and many other themes that students this age need to talk about, but with a snappy musical soundtrack, of course.”

Theatre camp registration is $335 per person and includes lodging and meals for seven days and six nights, or $285 for day camp only. A discount is available for families registering more than one student. Participants can visit the Theatre Camp page for details and to register online. Registration is due June 10.