What Students Learn at MAPS Theater Camp

MANISTEE — Manistee’s actors of tomorrow are hard at work this week at the Manistee Area Public Schools’ first youth summer theater camp.

The five-day camp began Monday, and students in grades four through nine worked on various skits, sang and lighted choreography, and helped with props and set design in the Manistee Middle High School auditorium.

“We’re just trying to make it a full theatrical experience,” theater director Amanda Feyen said. “They’re divided into groups and everyone acts in at least one skit. They have speaking roles or are more like background characters, depending on what each kid is comfortable with.”

Feyen said the camp has been in the making for years.

For more photos from the Manistee Area Public Schools Youth Summer Theater Camp, visit

“It’s just something that[MMHS Director]Andy Huber and I have basically been talking about since I joined MAPS,” she said. “Then COVID thwarted our plans for a couple of years, but now we’re finally getting to it.”

The camp is designed to give younger students a theater experience and interest before they are old enough to participate in the district’s theater program.

“Our drama program is 6-12, which is actually nice because we’re all sixth through twelfth graders at MMHS, but it would be nice to have opportunities for younger kids, too,” Feyen said. “You can learn a lot through theater and these experiences – even life skills.”

The camp is the second of three theater camps for students to enjoy this summer break in Manistee. The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts hosted its annual Ramsdell Theater Camp June 13-25, and the Manistee County Arts and Culture Alliance is still accepting applications for their children’s theater workshop — made possible by a grant from the Manistee County Community’s Doug Schlaff Youth Foundation Fund – scheduled to run August 15-19.

MAPS received a $3,500 grant from the Manistee County Community Foundation’s Geoffrey Roland Paine Family Charitable Fund for the camp.

“We are truly grateful to have received a grant from the Manistee County Community Foundation to help make this week’s camp possible,” Feyen said. “We are truly grateful to have received this grant and will be putting those funds to good use this year.”

Some of Feyen’s more experienced students help out at camp.

“I have high school members who are here in my theater program and who are the directors of each of the skits, so the high schoolers have that experience, too,” she said.

The camp ends on Friday at 3:00 p.m. with a performance. In addition to the skits, the students will perform two large group numbers from musical theater to open and close the show.

“Typically, our camp finishes by 3 p.m. each day, but instead of leaving at 3 p.m. on Friday, we’re going to list everything we’ve worked through this week,” Feyen said. “We will be performing on Friday for our friends and family who want to come to see their children.”

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