SIUE Transforms into Arendelle in Cougar Theater Camp Production of Frozen, Jr.
Whether shy and new to theater or a stage veteran, students grades K-12 are encouraged to “Let it Go” and use their creative talents to entertain and inspire during Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Cougar Theater Camp being held June 3-14.
This year’s showcase performance of Frozen, Jr. is a student and crowd pleaser! Camp attendance is the largest ever with 110 participants this year. All have been hard at work in Dunham Hall learning and engaging in music, dance, acting and technical sectional rehearsals.
Their talents will be on display during performances scheduled for Friday, June 14 at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 15 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, June 16 at 3 p.m. in Dunham Hall Theater. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children.
“I love theater, and I love to teach,” said Cougar Theater Camp Director Ashley Melton, an SIUE theater education alumna and Edwardsville High School theater teacher. “Camp is a whirlwind experience, as the kids are constantly engaged through a variety of activities and rehearsals. This is all about creating a comfortable environment for the kids, where they can learn that theater is about expressing oneself and not fitting into a mold. Theater is magical.”
Auditions happen on day one of camp, and the production process takes off from there. After presenting a series of male-led productions, such as Shrek and Seussical, the past few years, Melton decided this year the popular, newly-released Frozen, Jr. would be an exciting production featuring female leads and opportunities for multiple camp participants to “have a special moment” on stage.
“When I heard I got the part of Elsa, I was so happy I cried, and so did my little sister,” beamed 13-year-old Camilla Thomas, of Edwardsville. “I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to come to camp, so I was just thankful to be here playing any part. It means so much to me to have SIUE in my backyard. Camp is an active, fun experience!”
Frozen, Jr. will be the third Cougar Theater Camp production for Lauren Bruss, of Edwardsville, and William Sedabres, of Granite City. Bruss will play Pabbie, the troll leader, while Sedabres will perform as a member of Oaken the shop owner’s family and a castle staff member.
“I screamed up and down when I learned that Frozen, Jr. was this year’s show,” exclaimed Bruss. “I started going to Cougar Theater Camp to get experience with shows, as these are always really involved, great productions. I’m eager to play a mysterious and magical character this year. The experiences I get at camp with singing, dancing, acting and tech, are making me a well-rounded performer.”
“This takes a lot of dedication,” added Sedabres. “You can’t just sit back. It’s a lot more fun if you commit to doing your best. The activities at camp are great. We learn and play games to get to know people.”
For more information on Cougar Theater Camp, visit siue.edu/summer/camps/cougar-theater-camp.
Photos: Cougar Theater Camp participants joyfully act out a scene from Frozen, Jr. (L-R) Maggie Rice, Ariee Morse, Kaela Johnson and Laura Perry.
Cougar Theater Camp participants Brooke Vickery (back) and Liz Heil (front) glide across the dance floor while practicing a number for Frozen, Jr.
(L-R) Mark Hill, Charlie Houle, Nora Cummins and Sydney Andrews practice a scene from Frozen, Jr.
A group of camp participants sing during their voice sectionals.
(L-R) Natalie Jones, Corrine Jones and Jyniah Martin practice staging a scene from Frozen, Jr.
London Radstone, who plays Anna, happily practices a song during a stage rehearsal.