Camp Shakespeare – Round Top, Texas
In 2001 Camp Shakespeare was formed to introduce kids age 10 to 16 to the Bard. Today it’s a two-week residential camp where kids stay in cabins in Round Top, explore the language and characters of a play and spend evenings learning lines, dances or how to choreograph battle scenes in a grassy green bordered by Texas live oaks. Each of the two sessions culminates in performances of full plays in Winedale’s famous barn.
Ayres says the kids come to Shakespeare with their ability to play intact.
“Kids know how to play, to play together and to have fun,” he says. “That makes it very easy for them. You might be interested to hear that many write me about how superior the kids are to the university class in understanding, verbal energy, invention and interpretation.”
Fourteen-year-old Santi Dietche of Austin has attended the camp for four years and says kids feel at home there while at the same time learning something new every day. This year he played Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, in the camp’s performance of “Much Ado About Nothing.” Digging into his character’s constant plotting proved a thrill.
“You go through the play detail by detail,” Dietche says, “because you have to get each pronunciation and movement on the stage correct. You learn things you’d never think to learn about, like how to pronounce the word ‘nothing’ in a different way. You get to experience what you think you only get to do as an adult.”
And adults may soon find themselves doing more than sitting in the audience. While Camp Shakespeare continues to grow—this year’s applicants came from New York, Missouri, Tennessee, Massachusetts and elsewhere beyond and within Texas—Ayres is turning his attention to the other end of the playing field. His next endeavor is to expand the Winedale offerings to the “older than average” crowd.
On Sunday, June 14, 2009, the budding actors attending Camp Shakespeare gave a preview of “The Tempest” at the Round Top Library. After the preview, the library hosted an ice cream and cookie social for the Camp Shakespeare directors, workers, students, and the kids’ parents (and grandparents).
This year one of our granddaughters is attending the camp. In 1983 her father was attending the University of Texas and participated one summer in the Shakespeare Festival in Winedale.
I am all the daughters
of my father’s house,
and all the brothers too.
Posted on June 15, 2009, in family, Texas and tagged actors, Camp Shakespeare, granddaughter, James "Doc" Ayres, photographs, Round Top, Shakespeare Festival, students, Texas, theatre, Winedale. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.