By Paula MacDonald
To say it started with a little idea would be right. Actually, drama sponsor Phillip Goodchild’s idea to organize Lennard High School’s first summer drama camp started with 40 little ideas during a performance of The Wizard of Oz.
Last December, the Lennard High School drama department produced a stage show of the L. Frank Baum classic tale recruiting 40 children from area elementary schools to play the roles of munchkins. The aspiring young thespians attended rehearsals at the high school and took part in nightly shows. Seeing the positive interactions between his high school class and the younger students sparked an idea in Goodchild to do something that has never been done before in the SouthShore community.
“Our goal is to organize a two-week summer camp for middle and high school students, to offer kids in the community the opportunity to explore the theatre experience,” said Goodchild. “Statistics have shown that involvement in theatre arts benefits the student academically, plus there are many wonderful social aspects that go together to create the whole individual.”
Goodchild is a four-year veteran at Lennard, but this is his first year as drama sponsor. The University of London graduate of the Central School of Speech and Drama is a natural fit and is enjoying bringing new ideas to the program, but he needs the community’s help to make it happen.
“We want to offer access to as many local youth as possible, so we are making this a free camp,” Goodchild said. “Over 70 percent of students in our area are on free and reduced lunch and wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to attend a camp like this.”
The camp, which will run from Monday, June 16 through Thursday, June 26 at Lennard High School, will concentrate mainly upon the performance aspects of theatre, but will also offer specialized focus, such as stage combat and costume design. The culmination of the training will result in a performance night for family and friends to attend, giving campers the opportunity to experience being in a stage show.
Goodchild’s goal is to raise $4,000 to cover instructor salaries, as well as supplies and meals for campers. He has a donation page at www.gofundme.com/26k5m0 for online contributions, or individuals can contact him at Phillip.Goodchild@sdhc.k12.fl.us or 770-2312.