Shakespeare Camp still taking applications

There’s still time to apply and audition for this summer’s Shakespeare Summer Camp.

Auditions are this week — Tuesday through Thursday — and program director Steve Iwanski said that although he initially set an application deadline of May 15, he hopes that any young person in the community who might want to participate will still apply.

“Requiring an audition is new this year,” Iwanski said. He and local actors and directors from Greenwood Little Theatre will guide the process at Episcopal Church of the Nativity’s parish hall, starting at 5 p.m. for the three nights.

Niobi Elliott of Memphis, who spends summers in Greenwood every year visiting her grandparents, has been attending the Shakespeare summer program since she was 12 years old. This summer will be her third time.

“A friend of mine with kids participating told me about the program,” Niobi’s mother, Greenwood native Tonya Elliott, said.

“She was going to be in Greenwood for the summer, and I thought it would be good exposure.”

Niobi fell in love with being on stage and with Shakespeare, her mother said.

“When she came back, she asked me to buy her the works of Shakespeare to read.”

Last summer Niobi got to stab Julius Caesar in an excerpt of the play of the same name, and the first year, she played McDuff in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” cutting off her foe’s head.

She has played Puck in a scene from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” as well as one of Shakespeare’s beloved fools.

“It opens the kids to a different world, knowing about Shakespeare,” Tonya Elliott.

Beyond that, the program is a chance to build friendships with a diverse group of kids. Tonya Elliott said that Niobi keeps in touch with her Shakespeare troupe and looks forward to seeing them again each year.

Most importantly, learning stagecraft and the language of history’s greatest dramatist opens children’s minds to the importance of the arts, Tonya Elliott said.

“I think kids are not exposed to the arts enough, and the arts, if they get exposed when they’re young, can open them up to an array of skills and interests.”

The Shakespeare Summer Camp — a joint project of the Greenwood Shakespeare Project, Greenwood Little Theatre and ArtPlace Mississippi — meets for five weeks beginning in early July and culminates with three nights of performances in the sixth week.

Students learn stage movement, set and costume design, Shakespearean stagecraft and other theater-related skills, and they put together a major stage production.

The program is free of cost to all participants.

For complete details and a calendar outlining the program, visit www.artplacems.com/shakespeare-project.