The final performance of Free Arts Theater Camp always proves to pull at the heart strings of those lucky enough to attend, and this year was no exception.
Attendees were “moved to tears” by the courage of the young performers.
The performance itself was powerful. Many audience members expressed that they were floored by the teens and their stories. One woman mentioned that she awoke feeling “incredibly encouraged” the following day, which is a testament to the remarkable impact on this experience. Guided by the theme “Building Hope,” the campers explored multiple means of self-expression. The show included a variety of pieces involving music, movement, spoken word, and acting. The individual stories shared by the teens were woven together to create a powerful and unified show. Many of the stories tackled sensitive topics like abandonment and physical abuse; the compassionate reaction of the audience was palpable.
This impact is felt by the camp’s teaching artists, volunteers, and staff as well. Many form a “heart connection” with the campers as they watch them evolve artistically and personally. The transformation that takes place from the first day of camp to the final performance is often dramatic and inspiring. It is always hard for the Camp staff and these young people to part ways, but the relationships formed are “strong and authentic,” and the effects of the experience are long-lasting.
Overall, “Building Hope” proved that there is power in art, and strength in community. These teens walked into camp hesitant and afraid and emerged on stage as courageous performers. Several expressed their desire to participate in Theater Camp again.
We look forward to seeing them, as well as a new group of teens, express their stories again next year.