This year, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is piloting a new summer conservatory program: Summer Studio @ TheatreWorks. The program splits students into two different tracks: middle school (the Hambly track) and high school (the Stern track). Each group of students was given the frame for a new play based on a classic work, and then spent four weeks in a series of classes on playwriting, acting, dancing, etc, taught by Bay Area professionals working in the theatre industry.
As Summer Studio draws to a close and the students get ready to present their finished work – a brand new play called Lysa – to the public, we talked to a few of them about their process this summer in the two different tracks.
Jay (10th grade): We were given a very basic rewrite of the play Lysistrata. It was basically just a plotline, and we added character development and we had the freedom to change a lot of the plot points to match what we wanted to do with the play.
Arianna (6th grade): Both tracks were given at first the same script, and then in our playwriting classes we would change and add things to them, according to what we thought would work. But the tracks added different things.
Danny (12th grade): Some places in the scripts would just say “Enter monologue here,” or “Put dialogue here,” so that’s what we had to do. We broke the script up and did different parts, and got everything filled in.
TWSV: So you were taking playwriting classes, a music class, what else?
Aayush (7th grade): An acting class, and a dance class. And then rehearsals.
TWSV: What were your favorite classes?
Danny: I really loved the music class, because Tory [Ross, TWSV alum and Teaching Artist] was so cool. She was really open about everything, and she was really relatable on a lot of different subjects.
Jay: I really liked the dance class, because I love to dance. I also really liked the playwriting class, because we got time to talk about what we wanted to do with the script, and collaborate on it, and then we could all go home and work on the parts we were assigned to. It was really helpful to talk about it.
Arianna: I liked all of them, but if I had to choose a favorite, I would say dance. At first, I didn’t really like dance because my sister was so much better at it than me, so I got intimidated by her. But Stephanie [Owens, TWSV Teaching Artist] really helped me and everyone in our group learn different moves and styles but also make it fun. So now I really like dance. It was a great experience for me.
Aayush: Yeah, when I came to Summer Studio, there were a bunch of new classes, and after every single class was something new I learned, and it was so much fun. But like Arianna, if I had to pick my favorite class, it would be dance. I really like dancing, it’s really fun. And also Stephanie was always so energetic and so much fun.
TWSV: Have you guys done summer camps like this before?
Aayush: I do a lot of camps, but this is the longest and the best one.
Jay: It seems like a really unique thing. I’ve never heard of or seen anything like it before.
TWSV: What would you want to tell the audience before they come see you?
Danny: Well, I would like to say that the show is a unique thing, because since it was such a collaboration, there’s something in there for everyone. There’s a lot going into it. You don’t know what to expect. But the thing about it is it’s so real that you can go into it without knowing anything about it.
Aayush: I would like to tell the audience thank you for coming here, because we put a lot of effort into it, and I would also like to thank my parents for bringing me to Summer Studio.
Jay: I would want to say that it’s a funny play, it’s a comedy and it’s going to be fun to watch, but also it has important current event themes. It’s relevant to everyone’s life really.
Arianna: We put a lot of time and energy into it, but it was not just the actors’ work – there were lots of people who made contributions, like our acting and music and dance teachers…Professionals who took time out of their day, and we are just so lucky to have them present for us.
Join us for Lysa! Admission is free
for all performances – we hope to see you there!
Hambly Track (middle school)
Final performance: July 31, 7:30pm
TheatreWorks, Sobrato Center for Nonprofits
350 Twin Dolphin Dr., Redwood City
Stern Track (high school)
Final performances: August 5 & 6, 7:30pm
Lucie Stern Theatre
1305 Middlefield Dr., Palo Alto
To reserve your tickets, please call 650.463.1960.
For more information on Summer Studio, please visit theatreworks.org