Theater in the Woods has been a beloved feature at SolarFest in south-central Vermont for 20 years.
Children's book author Frank Asch wrote a slew of fantastically funny plays in which the audience follows the actors from scene to scene as the story develops - it's a literal romp in the woods.
... to Creature
In 2016, we branched out with a theater camp for 20 kids and it was even better than we dreamed: everyone grew, the performances were solid and "sold out", and the troupe we created would make Shakespeare proud. We've been bitten! We want more! We want to create a summer empire, evolving into several sessions of camp each year.
We want to enable kids who want to come to Theater in the Woods Camp.
With this Kickstarter we aim to raise $15,000 to establish a scholarship fund to offer tuition aid to at least ten kids each year and to support a spectacular staff. Our tuition is a bargain at $500 for two weeks + great food, but families need help to bridge costs.
It costs upwards of $18,000 to put on a two-week camp. About 60% of those costs are covered by tuition. We will always have to raise funds in support of our work, which is why we've organized as a non-profit.
After the Kickstarter fees and costs of rewards, we'll have about $13,000 to spread over the next three years, giving us a solid base upon which to build: 60% will go to scholarship and 40% will decrease our fundraising goals to an extremely attainable $4000 annually. This will give us the breathing room we need to continue to grow our reputation and establish our camp as a prime place to be in the Vermont summer.
We think our goal is reasonable, but we would LOVE to surpass it! Less time fundraising = more time for creativity with the kids.
Our mission is to to kindle creativity through the transformative power of theater in the magic of the woods. We seek to create a robust and collaborative community with kids at play and in action.
Kids come to camp shy, unsure, maybe even a little scared. Through the positive guidance of a talented and caring faculty, kids leave two weeks later more confident, expressive and assured. We know that performance, improvisation, singing, dancing and the dynamic power of the community we create contributes to making strong, healthy children.
Four directors = decades of experience in music and theater education.
Melissa Chesnut-Tangerman directed the very first Theater in the Woods plays for SolarFest, working closely with Frank Asch to realize Ziggy the Piggy in 1997 and Little Red Riding Wolf in 1998. Since then, she's taught music and theater to hundreds of kids, in school and out, and was involved in some way in almost every SolarFest TITW production for 20 years.
Wheaton Squier was a featured actor in early productions, and got his chops as a TITW director in his early 20's. He's a professional singer in two close harmony quartets, a sing leader for Vermont's Village Harmony, and gets easily overbooked because his voice and spirit are much-sought after around here.
Rainbow Squier has been a part of TITW at SolarFest for the past 15 years acting, costume designing and singing between scenes. Music, art and theater play a big role in her life; sharing this passion with kids is a natural calling. Rainbow also co-directs and cooks for Garden Camp at the Tinmouth Elementary school since 2012. She's excited to be a part of Theater in the Woods Camp where she can pass on the unique and enriching experience she grew up with
Meg Bouchard has been a professional actor since childhood. She is currently the Educational Director of Off The Hook, the educational outreach wing of Falconworks, based in Brooklyn (Community Theatre of the Year, The Village Voice, 2016). Meg conducts theater workshops, mentors young playwrights, and directs the one-acts that students create. As a boon from the universe, Meg jumped into our first camp in 2016 with all her heart and as a volunteer, teaching acting and clown work, and curating and co-directing the original play, The Unknown Tale. Megan is married to acclaimed chef:
Sam Filloramo, talented chef from Red Hook's The Good Fork who blesses us with his fantastic food!! Sam volunteers his services (we buy the local ingredients) to put kid-friendly highly tasty food on the table every camp lunchtime.
We are also incredibly grateful for Kate Kelly Bouchard, senior artist-in-residence in the Theater department at Skidmore College, as our guest artist. She'll be working her magic with voice, warming us up each day!
We asked for some help to create this Kickstarter - here are some messages from a few of last year's campers:
"Theater in the Woods was fun! I liked the creativity of the entire camp. It encouraged me to be a lot more extroverted in school and improved my theater skills."
Now, about those rewards...
Rainbow's been working on this beautiful Theater in the Woods Camp sticker - just finished in time to entice!
Rainbow will also be designing our t-shirt that will no doubt incorporate our awesome logo (designed by Lyz Tomsuden of Rutland VT).
Frank Asch's books are cherished features of many childhoods. We're lucky that he's given his love and his art to the world through his books, and his concept of Theater in the Woods to us. He's not our neighbor anymore; he lives in Hawaii now, but he's hoping to sign a lot of bookplates for folks!
Vocal/acting coaching sessions: Kate Kelly Bouchard is an accomplished actress and teacher. She trained for four years with Uta Hagen and studied extensively in many Stanislavski-based techniques. Recently, she has joined the faculty of Shakespeare and Company and has participated in numerous voice workshops at The Linklater Center.
Music/harmony coaching sessions: As we mentioned before, Wheaton sings with two professional close harmony groups, The Washed Up Beulah Band and The Waxwing Four. Rainbow and Wheaton and Melissa have sung together for many years. And Melissa was a founding member of 15 years' standing with Counterpoint, Vermont's professional vocal ensemble. So we can have a lot of fun with you or your group!
Chef at your door, table of four: Sam believes in our project so deeply that he cooks for us at camp, and he's offered his incredible gifts as a reward for a few lucky backers. Voted by his peers as one of the Best Chefs of America, Sam, Meg and their son Rocco are moving full time to Vermont this spring!
Risks and challenges
Our biggest risk is that we don't make our goal. We WILL have Theater in the Woods camp and would love a strong enrollment, because we create a great product. And the super enthusiastic kids who've become a troupe performing engaging art want to do it again. So our risk is that this Kickstarter fails and we will not be able to enable more kids to come this year.
The only challenge we see in terms of our project's completion is that the weather might be inclement on our final performance day at the end of camp on July 14th. And if that happens, our plays will be Theater in the Barn!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)