Last year, Kennebunk teen Ana Dinino discovered that her favorite summer event, MaineStage Shakespeare’s ShakeSTARS camp, was in danger of closing. The theatre company has connected professional actors with local children for week-long outdoor summer camps for the last five years, but recently ran out of funding.
Dinino and her fellow ShakeSTARS members “pounded the pavement” and asked local businesses to help with funding. The students created videos to advertise the camp’s needs and performed live for donations. According to the Portland Press Herald, the kids raised enough money to keep the camp open this year.
“The (funding) problem is never really solved. We just hope the community believes we’re worth keeping around.” – Jay Ben Markson, associate artistic director of MaineStage
In Lafayette Park, on a stage built by the town of Kennebunk, more than one hundred and fifty students (ages five to seventeen) met with eleven professional actors for several divided sessions of study. Thanks to the efforts of Dinino and others, students have been exploring various theatrical skills: from combat to costuming and performance to playwriting. This summer’s season will conclude with MaineStage Shakespeare productions of Julius Caesar and Twelfth Night as well as the “Shakestacular” cabaret-style performance of scenes from camp participants.