Duluth Playhouse launches summer program under new COVID-19 health guidelines

Updated: June 24, 2020 06:16 PM

The Duluth Playhouse has started its annual summer camps in person under careful health guidelines.

"The kids and the parents and the families are so excited to be back at camp. They have just been brimming with energy and they're smiling," said Amber Burns, the artistic director for the Duluth Playhouse Family Theatre.

The Duluth Playhouse summer camps and intensives feel a bit different since they're being done under new health guidelines to keep everyone safe. However, that isn't taking away the fun that goes into putting on a show.

Kids and teens ages 5-18 work with professional theater artists and explore their skills as young artists in the making.

"We get to do all these games and we have a schedule every day. We have a vocal warm up and a warm up with physical and we play a lot of fun games and meet nice people," said 10-year-old Elsa Linville, a camp participant.

Her camp group was making props for their Star Wars Academy themed play.  Other camps explore monologues, musicals, and more.

"There's a lot of things that you have to memorize because I had to memorize this really long line last night that I kept on forgetting what to say," said 10-year-old Abby Kittelson, a camp participant.

The campers perform their final showcases via Zoom for families and friends and live for each other. Staff said lots of work went into making the camp happen in person.

"We only have nine students in a class. We have lots of cleaning procedures happening throughout the day, basically anytime anyone touches anything, we're wiping it down," said Burns.

Everyone is required to wear a face mask and social distancing squares are set up throughout the building. Temperature checks are done at the start of each youth class and sanitizing stations are set up in the rooms. Before and after each class a routine for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting surfaces, and frequently touched equipment is done too.

Kittelson said she loves acting and is happy to be at this camp after being cooped up at home these past couple of months.

"It feels good because then I can actually go out and about and enjoy the things that I haven't seen in a while and actually see people that I might not have ever seen if I didn't come here," said Kittelson. "My favorite part would probably be making the group come together in one like a community and having fun with everyone."

"They miss us and some of them this is their life and they finally get to come back and do what they love to do," said Burns.

For those interested in learning more about the camp and signing up, click here. or call 218-733-7555.

The June camps run until June 26.The July camps start on July 6 and run until July 31.

The Duluth Playhouse is also offering Stage Play, a theatre class for kids ages 5-9 on the autism spectrum and children with social and sensory needs. It is a smaller class size and provides individualized support. Staff said it uses theatrical arts to foster social skills and communication development.

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