There is still time to enroll in YouTheatre summer camps |

There is still time to enroll in YouTheatre summer camps

The Egyptian Theatre’s YouTheatre summer camps are dedicated to teaching young actors, actresses, set designers, choreographers, lighting and tech designers the ropes of live theater.

In doing so, these sessions help the students develop self-esteem and an appreciation for live performances.

The camp program is directed by Jamie Wilcox and taught by professionals in the Utah theater community.

The first sesson, a two-week pre-teen camp, will start on June 8, and others will start at various times of the summer, Wilcox said during an interview with The Park Record.

"We have a few that are sold out, but we also have a couple of new ones that we would like to get people signed up for," she said.

The new ones include a space theater camp that will run from July 6 through July 17, and a slam poetry camp that is scheduled for June 15 to June 19.

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The space theater camp, which is open to students entering 5th through 7th grades, will meld theater and science exploration, and will run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

"It uses theater, engineering and music to get the kids immersed into the worlds of the solar system," Wilcox explained. "Wendi Laurence will lead this camp and she is no stranger to space."

Laurence, who also spoke with The Park Record earlier this week, worked at NASA as a curriculum designer in the Summer of Innovation Program for three years.

The now-defunct program, also known as SOL, was created to improve the skills and enhance the engagement of American students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and NASA toured the program across the country and trained different sites on how to implement the program into informal summer camps, she said.

"When we break down the boundaries of theater, science and engineering, all that is left really is exploration," Laurence said.

One concept the camp will examine is infrared astronomy, where students will make telescopes and learn about galaxies and stars.

"We’ll use music and choreography to learn whether or not these galaxies and stars are old or young," Laurence said. "We’ll do the same thing with planetary science. We’ll try to make robotic rovers and look at rockets and pieces of planets through songs about the planets."

These sessions will include choreography and visual art as well, she said.

"The seeds for the space theater camp sprouted the day NASA launched Curiosity Rover to Mars.

"I was sitting at the launch surrounded by people who changed my research agenda and everything I did," Laurence said. "There were artists, members of the media, astrobiologists, astrophysicists and rocket scientists all sitting in a parking lot talking about these careers that we were so passionately in love with.

"I realized that each one of these careers were different, but they had a common ground, we all could visualize something coming to be," she said. "Then Curiosity launched and we watched this thing go to Mars."

The space theater camp is all about bridging the disciplines.

"You don’t have to be a scientist, an engineer, a math student or a theater student," Laurence said.

Wilcox is grateful Laurence was interested in leading the camp.

"She has become a YouTheatre parent because her son is involved in our tech-crew classes," Wilcox said. "She has seen how much of the sciences he’s learned doing theater. So, we thought we should get her involved.

"You’ve heard of STEM, which is an acronym for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, right," she said. "Well, Lori make it STEAM, with the A standing for the Arts."

Before the space theater camp, Wilcox will lead the slam poetry camp in June.

"I have been doing slam poetry with my conservatory group called the Greenhouse this past year," Wilcox said. "The group is comprised of students ages 14 and older and we did that in the fall and worked with an instructor named Kari Lindsey who is well known in slam poetry community in Salt Lake."

Lindsey has worked with the group since September.

"Everyone wrote their own slam poetry and we ended the session with a slam competition," Wilcox said. "Then we took their works and made their slam poems into a piece of theater."

The camp is based on the Greenhouse sessions, and is open to teens ages 14 and older.

"That is a notoriously hard age to get signed up, so I am thinking about lowering the introductory age to 13 if we need to," Wilcox said.

One of the instructors, Willy Palomo, just graduated from Westminster College.

"He had to choose between two full-ride, creative-writing, masters-degree program scholarships at New York University and University of Indiana," Wilcox said. "I think he chose to go to Indiana, which has a well-known and well-respected program."

The camps will not only explore slam poetry, but also hip-hop and spoken word.

"I think this is a more accessible way for kids to learn to write because they have more control over the performance and content of their poems," Wilcox said. "With the Greenhouse group, I saw how much slam poetry opened up these students and how much they connected with the art form. I saw how much it helped them with their own confidence, because at the beginning, some were afraid to even write a poem."

In addition to space and slam poetry camp, there are openings in the two-week, pre-teen camp and the teen intensive at the end of the summer.

"We have partial and full scholarships available for all the camps," Wilcox said.

For more information about the Egyptian Theatre’s YouTheatre summer camps, visit