Hearing five and six-year-old children speak of pantomimes, melodramas and immersive theatre methods would draw blank stares and speechless responses from most, but for the camp coordinators of the Tobago House of Assembly’s Vacation Experience Camp, having children versed in theatre arts is natural.
Now in its twelfth year, the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA)Vacation Experience Camp exposes many of the island’s children to several forms of music, theatre and cultural arts. It all takes place for three weeks at several locations throughout the island.
On the last day of camp, students from the different locations came together and hosted a concert for parents and well-wishers.
Drama Coordinator at the Division of Education, Innovation and Energy, Tasha Frank, explained why the THA felt the camp was important.
“The Vacation Experience Camp exposes children to the arts and we also include a bit of academics to keep them grounded.”
She said the camp was created to spark an interest in different types of co-curricular activities so that “they will translate into hobbies and participation in events like the Tobago schools’ music festival.”
She said students needed a cultural background because it helped them to stay connected on personal and communal levels. Frank said when children were exposed to the arts they became well-rounded and it added to their academic achievements.
A few of the students shared their camp experience.
Kiosha Henry, who participated in the recorder and drama sessions, explained why he chose to play the recorder.
“We use it in secondary school, so I wanted to learn to play it here. At the camp, we learned to play “When The Saints Go Marching In” and “Lean On Me,” he said.
Kiosha said participating in the drama session was “a little difficult” but he enjoyed learning about costuming.
Another student, Azealia Price Quashie, participated in the violin and drama sessions.
She said it was not her first THA- sponsored camp experience, but it was her first drama class.”
She said: I enjoyed learning about tableaus and pantomime and especially how to focus.”
She is looking forward to next year’s camp.