Scarborough camp teaches kids theater, life skills

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SCARBOROUGH — While some took to the slopes over February vacation, some Scarborough students took to the stage.

Patrick Reagan, a fifth-grade teacher, hosted Mr. Reagan’s Winter Theater Camp through Scarborough Community Services at Wentworth School during winter break.

“The theater camp enables the students (to have) a chance to use their creativity to build theater skills such as voice projection, teamwork, and it builds self confidence,” Reagan said.

During a boisterous practice Wednesday, students performed improvisational skits, including one where they used their acting skills to convince fellow students to give up their seat on a park bench.

The children put on an impromptu “America’s Got Talent”-type show, donned animal hats and rehearsed  jokes, and worked on an adaptation of Marcus Pfister’s book “The Rainbow Fish.”

The group also planned a talent show to be performed Friday when camp concludes.

“We do a lot of skits and scenes that students have to roll with, and try to respond to another character, and try to continue a conversation or build a scene like the park bench,” Reagan said.

Reagan has been teaching fifth grade at Wentworth for 19 years. He and Justin Stebbins, a French and Spanish teacher at Scarborough Middle School, started a theater club 10 years ago as a fun after-school activity. Reagan has run the winter camp for three years, along with a week-long summer theater camp for the past five years. He plans two, one-week sessions this summer.

Ten students ages 6-12 attended the camp this week to learn theater arts and improvisational skills. According to a program description on the town website, “Theater is a great way for students to work as a team and to have fun in a safe, creative environment.”

Greyson Peel, exuberant 6-year-old who attended the camp at his mother’s suggestion, said he enjoyed being on stage and doing plays.

Demonstrating his gorilla impression, Greyson said, “Mom thinks I’m good at doing the gorilla.”

Reagan said the camp gives students a way to be creative and have fun.

Odilia Ngalamulume, 10, said she had several reasons for attending the theater camp, including a desire to express herself to others.

“I wanted to face my fears of stage fright,” she said. “I learned that you don’t have to be afraid of anything.”

 Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or Follow her on Twitter@melaniesochan.

Dressed in a crab hat, Areyan Mohabbatti, 12, waits to perform animal jokes during a winter break theater camp in Scarborough.

Patrick Reagan directs students while they practice their adaptation of Marcus Pfister’s book “The Rainbow Fish” during a theater camp offered over February vacation in Scarborough.