Featured Day Camp: Spend The Summer With Shakespeare!

Guest Post by Ines Min

When was the last time your child willingly picked up a piece of classic literature just for fun?

Fifteen-year-old Kaden Fleming-Holmes is currently reading Richard III in preparation for Bard on the Beach’s Young Shakespeareans Summer Theatre Camps and Teen Workshops, an annual educational program for children and teens aged 8 to 18. This will be Kaden’s fifth consecutive year attending, which means he’s spent a third of his summers reading and breathing the prose of the great playwright.

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From July 3 to August 31, Young Shakespeareans offers 16 workshops dedicated to the Bard on Avon’s most beloved works — including Hamlet, The Tempest, and Comedy of Errors. Professional actors help bring the pages to life by coaching participants in dialogue and movement, while set visits provide a behind-the-scenes look at stage design. At the end of each two-week workshop, the aspiring thespians get to put on their own version of the play in Vanier Park.

“It is endlessly inspiring to see the perspective that new generations bring to these stories.”

“We actively and imaginatively introduce growing minds to these plays, giving young people the tools to make these timeless tales their own through performance,” says Mary Hartman, the Director of Education for Bard on the Beach. The program has been a flagship of the organization’s educational arm for more than 20 years. “It is endlessly inspiring to see the perspective that new generations bring to these stories.”

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Kaden, for one, has become an avid fan. Initially introduced to both acting and Shakespeare at the age of 7 through A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the teenager has devoured much of the oeuvre and can say definitively that his favourite is Macbeth. However, he’s excited to be a part of the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival’s Pericles, in which he’ll play a chorus member. He attributes landing the part to the new-found confidence gained from his time at Young Shakespeareans.

Visit our contests page for a chance to win a spot in a two-week full-day Young Shakespearean workshop, plus a pair of tickets to a Bard on the Beach production!

“Learning how to act can help in a lot of ways,” says Kaden. “I’m not totally an outgoing person—I’m an introvert and pretty shy, so the program has helped me put myself out there and feel more comfortable on stage.”

For the first time, Young Shakespeareans is offering full-day workshops this year that provide an even more comprehensive look at the art of theatrical production. The new sessions include explorations of wardrobes and props, tours of technical facilities, and special visits from festival guests. 

There’s something for everyone, even those who don’t have an affinity for acting.

The camp’s aim is to nurture creativity and foster positive social relationships—perhaps the biggest reward is making new friends over the short, but unforgettable two weeks. The hardest part is usually saying goodbye.

Though Kaden recently moved to Victoria, he’ll be back in July armed with his well-worn copy of Richard III. And he hopes to keep returning every year.

“If I can, I will,” he says. “I just don’t know what my summers would be like without Young Shakespeareans—it’s such a huge part of my life.”

For more information or to register for Young Shakespeareans, visit: Young Shakespeareans Workshops