For youth from fourth grade through high school looking for an introductory taste of theater, the Depot Theater Company will hold its Spring Break Theater Camp next week.

This year's theme is "I Love Shakespeare." Each day, the workshop will teach a new aspect of theater and how it pertains to the Shakespearean time period. The students will research and try to re-create period props and costumes, as well as learn how theater was produced during the time.

Director Sheri Tieben said the subject matter was chosen because Shakepeare is one of the foundations of theater and the workshop allows the playwright to be presented in a more approachable manner.

"We're trying to get kids involved and learn more aspects of theater than just getting on stage and doing a show," Tieben said. "When they do a show with us it's mainly just get here, rehearse, and go home. This way we actually get to teach them more about theater."

Tieben and Miguel Coca will conduct the workshop that culminates in a show for family and friends Friday evening. Each day will focus on a different aspect of the play production process - from developing the will to audition and memorizing lines to theater history, staging, costuming and props.

"In the end the kids will be in charge of finding all of that," Tieben said. "Hopefully this gets them interested in the background and behind-the-scenes stuff."

In the afternoons, students will rehearse the production of "Shakespeare Unbound" - a story about an angsty high school student who is forced to lug around a huge copy of Shakespeare's works. When the book gets too heavy, the student starts tearing out pages to lighten the load, but famous Shakespearean characters such as Macbeth's witches, star-crossed lover Juliet, the mischievous sprite Puck, and shrew-tamer Petruchio begin to materialize and create chaotic but funny situations.

Some of the theater education the kids will receive involves interpreting Shakespeare's words for today's audience.

"People think Shakespeare is hard, but it's always fun," Tieben said. "Because of the wording and the way it was written people are hesitant but we want to overcome that mindset. It's a lot of fun and has a lot of meaning."

The camp exposes new kids to the theater every year. Tieben said most of those enrolled so far this year are kids that have not been previously involved with the Depot Theater. The workshop often spawns further involvement in the theater's student-oriented productions.

"It sparks that interest," Tieben said. "They come for the spring break camp and then find out about auditions in the summer. They have fun at the workshop and so why not do it for a bigger show.

"We have a core group that does it every time, but I think they're telling their friends it's a lot of fun."

The camp is an opportunity for kids of different ages to interact and benefit from the experience together.

"They get to meet a lot of new people," Tieben said. "That's what I love about it. The older kids help with the younger ones, and some of the younger kids don't have many role models so they have that chance and have fun at the same time."

Cost for the week-long camp is $40 to cover food, props and costume items. Lunch is provided daily. Questions can be directed to Tieben at 620-225-1001 or email

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