Kids channel

Children channel the COVID experience into stage performance

Dreamcoat Fantasy Theater held a show at the North Bay Waterfront

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Shea Gore is like most young children. She didn’t like the impact of COVID-19 on her life.

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The virus took away her cheerleader and time spent on stage with her friends at the Dreamcoat Fantasy Theater.

But instead of being sad and dwelling on what could have been, Shea sings, dances, and tells her story in front of a live audience.

Shea is one of 20 kids who are enjoying a two week camp this summer with Dreamcoat Fantasy Theater.

The theater troupe practiced and perfected their lines and dance routine for their latest production, “Covid Chronicles The Musical 2021 Summer Production,” Thursday at the North Bay Waterfront.

“We are trying to tell the story of COVID and its impact on us,” Shea said.

“It was really hard for me. I did cheerleading every year. I’ve been doing it since I was five and I was six months old and then it stopped, ”she said. “This is my second play, it’s so much fun.”

She said what made this year even more exciting was that she was able to use a microphone on stage.

“This is my first year using a microphone. I am so happy.”

Dreamcoat Children’s Theater director Chris Morgan said Dreamcoat has always been dedicated to children’s theater by children.

“These are stories. The first two days – eight hour days – the kids got together and told each other stories about COVID and what it meant in their lives with their families, ”Morgan said.

He said it was these ideas that made up the script.

“These are the stories they had, we had songs that we were allowed to use and we massaged them a bit and told stories about how to overcome obstacles.”

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Morgan said the stories kids normally hear are about a hero or heroine overcoming obstacles.

“(COVID-19) has been such a shared experience that it made no sense to write about anything else. The kids bought into it, in part because it was real to them. I don’t want them to be afraid of it or to be anxious.

Morgan said several scenes have actual conflicts involving differences of opinion, such as getting vaccinated or wearing masks in public.

“These are conversations that are part of our lives,” he said.

“The first few days, these children were delighted to be with other children. It has been wonderful to be part of a united group.

Darren Summersby has been part of the Dreamcoat team since 2006.

“I have been involved in all the shows that I have been able to do. Once I entered grade 9 I started volunteering, volunteered a lot in summer camps and helped out at big fall shows, conducted a few- one of their fall shows at the Capitol Center.

He said Dreamcoat had helped him go backstage.

“I just graduated from Sheridan College in Film and Television. People think cinema is so different from theater, but it helped me find that passion. I got into acting, then I went to the screen and went behind the scenes. It boosted my confidence to be able to take the stage, ”Summersby said.

He said when he heard Dreamcoat was back in production, he stepped up his help.

“I love to help and give back to the program that has helped me. “

Summersby works on some of the Hallmark shows, as well as a media company. He will be returning to school in the fall – Canadore College for post-production.

Two “Chronicles of Covid” shows will take place at the North Bay waterfront, including 5:30 p.m. and 11 a.m. Friday tonight.


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