On Friday, Delaware City Schools students performed “101 Dalmatians” at Willis Education Center at the conclusion of the district’s Drama Camp.
The weeklong camp was led by Jennifer Ruhlen, the director of the Dempsey Drama Department, who said the goal of the camp is to serve as a sort of introduction to theater for elementary school students and incoming sixth graders.
“Our goal with running this type of camp was to give our younger students a chance to perform and to start to introduce some basic acting, dancing, and singing techniques used in theater,” Ruhlen said. “These students will hopefully find a love for performing and will continue to then grow our district’s theater programs both at Dempsey and eventually Hayes.”
Emma Wadkins, a fourth grader at Smith Elementary, said she signed up for the camp because she enjoys acting and said she liked learning the show.
“I liked (getting to do) the choreography,” Emma said. “It wasn’t really hard.”
Kaylin Williams, a sixth grader, said she enjoyed the hands-on part of the camp.
“I enjoyed getting to make our costumes instead of just (picking one),” Kaylin said. “I really like acting, and I did it last year and it was really fun.”
Olivia Taylor, a fellow sixth grader, said the camp was fun and was glad the organizers included lots of activities and games.
“They made it fun for us,” Olivia said. “I like acting.”
Huston Miclat, the sixth grader playing one of the lead Dalmatians, Pongo, said he was excited and nervous to have such a large role.
“I’ve been told by my family my entire life that I should do acting so this is my first leading role,” Huston said. “I’ve liked learning choreography, singing, and having lines in the show.”
He added Thursday that he was nervous and feeling a little pressure about the Friday performance.
Isabelle Kennedy, a sixth grader who played the show’s Corgi narrator, said she was excited to have a larger role in this year’s show.
“I’m excited and nervous,” Isabelle said. “Last year I didn’t have a big speaking part. I just like to sing a lot, and I think it’s a fun way for us to play characters and sing with our friends.”
Isabelle joked that this was one of several camps she’s done this summer.
“I would get really bored in the summer,” Isabelle laughed. “I’ve camped all month.”
Kaylin, Olivia, Huston, Isabelle and Emma all said they were looking forward to acting at Dempsey.
After the show, Ruhlen said the students did “amazing!”
“These students learned an entire show in a week,” Ruhlen said. “They didn’t find out their roles until Monday evening and yet they were still able to have everything memorized by Thursday! They were so excited, some were even considerably nervous, but they performed as if they had been practicing and preparing for the past two months!”
Ruhlen said she hopes the students left the camp with a better grasp on drama.
“We really hope that these campers not only understand how much work — blood, sweat, and even tears — go into producing a show but also how much fun that final product really can be,” Ruhlen said. “When you work as hard as they did and get an amazing production at the end, there really is no better feeling. “
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.