Hill Country Community Theatre leadership faced a dilemma with its summer youth program. Under Phase 2 of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas, youth camps can operate but live theater performances cannot resume.
That makes pulling off a production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.” more than a challenge.
HCCT Executive Director Mike Rademaekers and actor-filmmaker Patrick Lescarbeau joined forces and came up with a solution.
“We will still be producing the musical Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid Jr.’ on stage, but it will be filmed and edited together like a movie,” Rademaekers said. “Kids will learn the fundamentals of acting as well as techniques to perform for the camera, and they will gain experience of how video productions are put together.”
Since the theater can’t stage a public show, each student will receive a DVD of the performance.
The camp is 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, July 13-24. The theater is accepting applications from ages 8-17. If accepted, the cost is $310 per student. The camp takes place at the Cottonwood Shores theater, located at 4003 FM 2147.
Christine Ashbaugh and Jordan Jones will lead the main part of the program, and Rademaekers and Lescarbeau will offer film support.
“It’s going to be different this year,” Rademaekers said. “We’ll teach them filmmaking and things like how to hit their mark.”
Students from previous camps are looking forward to this one.
“They’re chomping at the bit to do something,” he said.
COVID-19 restrictions mean parents won’t be able to enter the building and must sign their student in and out in the parking lot. Theater staff and crews are also upgrading their sanitizing efforts to protect students.
“The Little Mermaid Jr.” takes place in a magical underwater kingdom. The beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home — and her fins — behind and live in the world above. But first, she’ll have to defy her father, King Triton, make a deal with the evil sea witch Ursula, and convince the handsome Prince Eric that she’s the girl whose enchanting voice he’s been seeking.
Based on one of Hans Christian Anderson’s most beloved stories, “The Little Mermaid Jr.” is an enchanting look at the sacrifices we all make for love and acceptance.