Theatre camp perfect for young performers

Union Leader Correspondent
July 18. 2013 9:10PM
Campers at this year's Triple Threat Theatre Camp rehearsed a song and dance number from "13- The Musical" Thursday morning at the Londonderry Dance Academy. The three-week camp will conclude with a free performance at Windham High School on Friday, July 26. The public is welcome to attend the show, which will begin at 7 p.m. and will incorporate music and scenes from various popular Broadway musicals. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)

WINDHAM - At this summer camp, campers are more likely to bring along tap shoes and sheet music than swimsuits, hiking shoes and ingredients for S'mores.

For over a decade the Londonderry Dance Academy on Buttrick Road has been the site of the Triple Threat Theatre Camp, a three-week program where area children learn singing, dancing and acting under the tutelage of several well-seasoned Broadway performers.

Geared toward children between the ages of 6 and 16, the program will conclude with a free public performance later this month, featuring 50 or so campers from all over southern New Hampshire as well as several Boston metro communities.

This year's show, which is open to the public, will be held Friday, July 26, in the Windham High School auditorium. The curtains will open at 7 p.m., when the audience will be treated to various skits and songs from the popular musicals 'Pippin,' 'Spring Awakening,' 'Honk,' 'The Sound of Music,' 'Newsies' and '13: The Musical.'

Led by Goffstown native Kate Mullen, whose mother, Barbara, owns the Londonderry Dance Academy, the program also offers some valuable life lessons.

Mullen, who recently earned dual Master's degrees in clinical social work and drama therapy at NYU, said all of the campers get the experience of learning from their respective stage roles.

"They're finding new ways to express themselves through movement, voice and dance," Mullen said.

Though earlier incarnations of the camp focused on dancing only, it soon became apparent that a lot of the repeat campers had multiple talents.

"Because of the enthusiasm of the students and their parents, we eventually had to expand," Mullen said. "Regardless of their age, each of our children brings a different, unique quality to the final performance."

Among this year's camp counselors is General McArthur Hambrick, who is both a professional ballet dancer and a veteran performer of such Broadway shows as 'Cats,' 'Miss Saigon' and 'A Chorus Line.'

"He's pretty much the living definition of a 'triple threat'," Mullen said with a laugh.

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