Local Performers Return to Teach at Center for the Arts Summer Camps Article by Donna Ballou, published in InsideNova weekly July 10, 2012 This summer, the Pied Piper Theatre program at The Center for the Arts in Manassas, is offering a wide variety of camps for young people ages 5 through 18. For the youngest student there is a two week camp called Footlights and Fairy Tales designed to introduce children ages 5 to 7 to basic performing skills through movement, music and imagination. For students ages 8 to 12 there is Theatre Express a workshop that will teach all elements of a production from character development to creating sets, props, makeup, and costumes. OnStage at the Kellar Theater is offered to students ages 13 to 20. This theatre performance workshop will bring together drama, music, and dance as students work on a musical production. For all of these camps, family and friends are invited to a performance on the final afternoon. “What is unique about our camps is that several of our former students, who are working on careers in performance fields, have come back to teach,” explains Sally Lay, Director of the Center for the Arts. “We are extremely lucky to have this caliber of talent working with our young actors,” adds Lay. One such faculty member is Veronica Sharpe an eight year veteran of the Pied Piper Theatre programs. During her time at the theatre she acted in 11 productions and played in the orchestra pit for five. She apprenticed for the Pied Piper summer camps for five years and this will be her third year teaching in the camps. A cum laude graduate of Forest Park Senior High School, she was a violinist in Consort Orchestra, where she was featured as a soloist several times. Sharpe also participated in all county orchestra and toured with NOVEC’s Youth Legislative Tour. She is currently a member of James Madison University‘s Symphony Orchestra, teaches the University’s String Project and is working on a degree in music education. “Teaching the Pied Piper Theatre summer camps has been an amazing opportunity for me to gain teaching experience. It is a great way for me to stay involved with theatre. My favorite part about teaching summer program is learning about my students. I am always amazed by my students’ accomplishments by the end of a camp. Coming back to teach for the Pied Piper was a wonderful decision—I am constantly rewarded and reminded why I want to be a teacher,” explains Sharpe Another returning student is David Johnson. He has been involved with the Pied Piper Theatre for the last eight years and has performed in 14 shows with the company. His last role was Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. He was active in the drama department at his high school and various community theaters in
the area. He also attended The Virginia Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts and Humanities and University of North Carolina School of the Arts drama summer session. Johnson now attends George Mason University where he is studying theatre. “The Pied Piper Theatre summer camp was my first experience with theatre. After that summer, theatre completely took over my life and I am so glad it did. Pied Piper Theatre turned into a second home,” said Johnson. Also returning is Kelly Glyptis. She has had lead roles with the Pied Piper Theatre, Gray Ghost Theatre and Dominion Stage and has won several best actress awards. She received her Bachelor of Music from the Jacob’s School of Music at Indiana University where she is pursuing a master’s degree. Glyptis won the 2012 Metropolitan Opera Council Encouragement Award and received acclaim in OperaNews.com for her role as Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus. She has performed with the Operafestival di Roma, Canadian Operatic Arts, Washington National Opera Institute, and IU Opera Workshop. “The reason I return to the Pied Piper Theatre to teach is because of the training I received in my childhood. The opportunity to work with professionals gave me not only experience, but taught me a high level of professionalism at an early age. Whether you are 8 or 18, you were given the same tools to learn while having a great time. Now, I try to instill all of these skills in my students, as well as, teach them concepts and ideas that I didn’t learn until I became a master’s student. My main goal when teaching is to have fun creating art. The Pied Piper is so unique because it is not just “children’s theatre” it is simply great theatre,” explains Glyptis. The final returning performer is Juliann Boyles a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. She started at the Center for the Arts at age seven in the Footlights and Fairy Tales summer camp and has continued in theatre ever since. Boyles has participated in all aspects of theatre production, ranging from acting on stage, set construction, technical crew, and playing cello in the pit orchestra. She is now in her third year teaching for the Center. Currently, she teaches high school social studies and works as a professional cellist and tours with the University of Mary Washington Philharmonic. “I grew up in Pied Piper Theatre. At the camps, I developed my voice. I learned to overcome my shyness and express myself through singing, acting, dancing and performing. It was theatre that made me who I am today. Now, as a teacher I get in front of my classroom everyday and perform. Theatre gave me the confidence, energy, and passion I need to be an effective teacher. I carry on the tradition now by going back to the Pied Piper as a teacher, so I can help other young children discover themselves through the wonders of theatre,” explains Boyles. The Center for the Arts of Greater Manassas/Prince William County sponsors theatrical productions for children and adults, teaches arts classes, promotes visual arts and provides community outreach programs for local youth. Founded in 1984 by a group of artists and art lovers, the Center for the Arts aims to enrich the quality of life in the Northern Virginia suburbs through arts performance and education. A theater, an art gallery and classrooms are located in the three-story, historic Candy Factory building in Old Town Manassas, at 9419 Battle Street. The third floor provides additional space for lectures, poetry readings, recitals and chamber concerts. The Pied Piper Theatre Camps start July
9 and continue throughout the summer in Woodbridge, Gainesville, and Manassas. To find out more about all the camps offered at The Center for the Arts visit the website at www.center-for-the-arts.org or call the center at 703-330-ARTS. Photo: Pied Piper Theatre campers perform in the summer musical production Once Upon a Leprechaun.