Young thespians prep ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’

This week local children ages 5-18 participating in Olympic Theatre Arts’ week-long Spring Break Young Thespians Camp are participating in activities which include acting workshops, set and prop design and creation, costuming, team-building exercises and theatre games as they study the elements of drama and play production.

The week-long camp culminates with two performances of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” this Saturday, April 9, at OTA, 414 N. Sequim Ave.

Both performances will feature the same cast of about 28 children, all with speaking roles.

The first performance will be at 2 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.

“It’s going to be a fantastic show,” said Marissa Meek and Sarah Tucker, co-directors. “We want to encourage everyone to come see it.”

According to Meek, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” will be the first OTA youth theatre production since 2019’s “The Reluctant Dragon,” directed by Bonne Smith.

The production will be about an hour long. Children who prefer to work backstage can do so, but the play was chosen partly because of the flexibility of number of speaking roles, due to unlimited Oompa Loompa parts. The Oompa Loompas will not sing like in the movie; there will be “musical poetic chanting Oompa-Loompa-ing,” Meek said.

“Everyone will participate in costuming, props and scenery,” Meek said. “If there are some students who would like to operate lights and sound, they will have the opportunity to do that.”

Meek has an extensive background working with youth in theater.

“I spent 27 years as a public school educator, teaching and directing theater in Texas,” she said.

She spent her summers working in theater as well, and has been involved in OTA since 2019.

Tucker is an artist, actress and director, who will be directing “Julius Ceasar” in October at Studio Bob in Port Angeles.

The directors have tried “to involve as many of the adult volunteers at OTA as possible,” said Meek. She explained that the volunteers bring a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and skill to the theater which is of high value in passing along to the upcoming generation of performers.

“I firmly believe theater is theater is theater,” she said, noting that the same skills developed and benefits of theater apply to all ages of people who practice theater work. “I want to get people cross-generationally involved.”

“We’re really excited about it,” said the directors. “It’s going to be a really fun time.”