School’s out for the summer, which means that summer camp is IN! An exciting new day camp is taking centre-stage this year in Whitehorse – specifically, it is taking the stage at the Frantic Follies Theatre, home to the Frantic Follies vaudeville revue.

For almost 50 years, Frantic Follies has been delighting Whitehorse audiences with a variety show reminiscent of the Klondike Gold Rush era. After the success and popularity of the class they taught as part of Yukon Summer Music Camp last year, Grant Simpson and Lyall Murdoch, co-owners of the Frantic Follies, along with some of their performers, decided that sharing the art of vaudeville with kids was something they wanted to pursue in a bigger way.

Vaudeville brings together theatre, dance, singing, instrumental music, juggling, and mime in a variety show that prides itself on being fun – and funny – for audiences of all ages.

At vaudeville camp, kids from age six to 15 get to dabble in all of those art forms, learning new skills and sharing their talents with the rest of the group in a collaborative, interactive and supportive setting.

If a camper already plays an instrument, for example, he or she is invited to bring it in and incorporate it into the show.

Older campers are encouraged to take on leadership roles, helping younger campers and helping to organize and lead various activities, including planning the end-of-session show.

“One of the unique things we hope the kids get out of the camp is the experience of putting together a show,” says Nicole Murdoch, who is an instructor at vaudeville camp by day and a dancer with Frantic Follies by night. “We want to give them the opportunity to put together everything they can do, everything they learned and create something.”

Murdoch compares the program at vaudeville camp to the MAD program (the popular music, art and drama program at Wood Street school that students can start in Grade 9), allowing kids to get a taste of performance and fine arts at a younger age.

On top of the performance skills and experience in various media of the arts, vaudeville camp also nourishes the development and practice of various valuable life skills, transferable well beyond the bright lights of showbiz. Confidence, for example, is a huge one.

“We have a mix of personalities at camp, but even the more introverted kids come out of their shells,”says Murdoch. “You can already see a difference on the second day.”

The camp also fosters professionalism and respect for your work and the work of others, including being a respectful, receptive audience.

The camp runs for five sessions throughout the summer. Each session culminates in a performance in the Frantic Follies Theatre where campers get to show off what they’ve been working on to their families and friends.

Anyone who is interested is welcome to come check out these performances, which occur every second Friday, for a small donation that goes towards materials for the camp.

The remaining three sessions of vaudeville camp run from July 18-29, August 1-12, and August 15-26. For more information, check out the camp’s website: http://franticfollies.wix.com/ffvaudevillecamp.