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OCPA, Camelot join forces for summer youth theatrical training

Tyrone Wilson reads through a script with Benen Lups, Gavin Lupes and Cody Lynn at the Camelot Theatre in Talent. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune

Two Southern Oregon young artist programs are uniting to offer theatrical training for students ages 7 to 19, culminating in public performances this summer of “Charlotte’s Web” and the Broadway musical smash-hit “All Shook Up.”

Joining forces are the Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts (OCPA) and the Camelot Theatre in Talent. They’ll offer two separate programs this summer, in Medford and Talent.

The arrangement allows the two organizations to share resources.

“The collaboration has been in the works for two years,” said Dann Hauser, executive director of Camelot. “We are excited to finally be able to make this partnership a reality and in-person for students in 2021.”

Hauser believes that merging OCPA’s educational structures with Camelot’s professional working theater experience is a winning combination. OCPA board member and instructor Andrea Brock agrees.

“We can provide a certified program for our students, which documents their training,” she said, “allowing them to earn a certificate of initial mastery or advanced mastery in several areas of theater arts.”

OCPA’s role is to focus on training in theater arts rather than performance driven rehearsals. Camelot’s focus will be on theatrical production. Courses will be offered year-round.

This summer’s programs divide students into two separate age groups.

Summer Theatre Camp for ages 7 to 13 will be held at Hedrick Middle School in Medford. There will be three weeks of instruction July 5-23, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., concluding with two performances of “Charlotte’s Web” at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on July 24 at Hendrick. The musical will include live accompaniment.

Theatre Conservatory for ages 13 to 19 will be held at Camelot Theatre in Talent. There will be six weeks of training and rehearsals June 21 to Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., culminating with five performances of “All Shook Up” July 30 to Aug. 1 at Camelot. There will be 2 p.m. matinees all three days and 7 p.m. performances Friday and Saturday. The jukebox musical tribute features songs of Elvis Presley and will utilize pre-recorded tracks. A rehearsal accompanist will help with the learning process.

Tuition is $395 for the Hendrick program for younger students and $750 for the Camelot program for older students. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. For either program, find applications at oregonconservatory.org.

An all-star cast of instructors has been lined up to assist with this summer’s programs:

Tyrone Wilson, a veteran OSF performer (25 seasons), also is a drama instructor, director and actor with international credits. He has an MFA degree from Yale University School of Drama.

Jonathan Luke Stevens, an OSF actor (five seasons), also is a director and choreographer. He has worked in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle and at many regional theaters. He has a BFA degree in musical theater from The Boston Conservatory.

Andrew Brock is a tenor who has performed with Eugene Opera, Eugene Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival and at the Aspen Music Festival. For the past 24 years, he has taught college-level voice courses, elementary music, and has directed middle and high school choirs. He has a master’s degree in voice and music education from the University of Oregon.

Dennis Foster is co-founder of OCPA and currently serves as board president and director of curriculum and instruction. He has a bachelor’s degree in education from Portland State University with master’s coursework in theater production at Central Washington University.

Rounding out the team of professionals are Andrea Brock (co-producer with Andrew Brock of “Charlotte’s Web”), Christopher Burkhardt (a former OSF stage manager), and music director Taylor Pulsipher (a BYU grad in vocal performance and long-time Southern Oregon musical theater professional). Additional teachers may be added.

OCPA is the longest-running educational theater program for youths in the Rogue Valley, founded in 1998. Through its programs, students gain training in theater history, playwriting, acting, musical theater, dance, stage presence, voice, singing, and auditioning. They can earn certification credit in OCPA’s college prep program, demonstrating their successful course mastery.

For more than 16 years, Camelot Conservatory has offered theatrical training for students ages 9 to 19, culminating in a fully-staged Broadway musical on a professional stage.

“Uniting our programs offers certified year-round comprehensive training in theater arts,” Hauser said. “We are excited to bring our programs together.”

OCPA board president Foster sees combining resources of two successful programs as creating new opportunities.

“Between our two groups,” Foster said, “we can cover all age ranges, from 7 to 19.”

Openings are limited, and enrollment is first-come, first-served, with no auditions required. Auditions are used only to cast parts for the two productions.

Former students, Hauser said, have gone on to perform locally in professional theater, with OSF, and at theaters in New York, Seattle and Los Angeles after attending theater schools.

To register for either program or to buy tickets for “Charlotte’s Web,” visit oregonconservatory.org. To purchase tickets for “All Shook Up,” go to camelottheatre.org.

You can reach Ashland writer Jim Flint at jimflint.ashland@yahoo.com.