KAINALIU – For teens with a flair for theatrics, the Aloha Theatre has a program that channels that energy.
The Aloha Teen Theatre, ATT, has been around for about 20 years teaching kids about the world of theatrics. The program has an emphasis on leadership and skill-building to get the kids ready for the real world and the industry of theater and creative arts.
Jaquelynn Collier, education director for the Aloha Theatre, develops classes for thespians age 4 to 94, including teen workshops through the Aloha Teen Theatre. She heads the CREATE program (creative, resourceful, engaging, arts and theater education).
“It focuses on how we can take the performing and creative arts education and how can we tie it into real world and skill-building opportunities for our community,” said Collier.
Growing up in Kona, leaving for school then coming back, Collier has made it her mission to create opportunities.
The latest summer camp stressed “86 self deprecation” meaning don’t put yourself down, which is such a big thing to do as a teenager. Also taught was how not to take things personally, like not getting the part you wanted.
Leah Lynn Beckett, 14, is a member of ATT and attended the summer workshop.
“It’s fun to be in a production. You get close to everybody, like family,” she said, emphasizing the supportive feeling she gets with the group.
Ramsey Hauanio, 13, wanted to learn more about musical theatre and thought the camp would be good training.
“It helped with confidence building and how to act on stage,” Hauanio said, adding it was fun to meet other kids her age who also enjoy the theater.
ATT teaches teens how to build confidence in themselves as artists rather than just as a teenager.
The group performs a musical production each year. This year they put on Legally Blonde Jr, a show the members chose themselves. They are in charge of doing the research, nominating shows and voting as a whole to decide what show they will perform.
The program is completely free, full school year program, run on grants and donations Collier secured.
Open enrollment for the program continues through August.
Camps are tuition based with scholarships available.
Amanda Trusty and Delaney Ross were busy working with the teens on the last day of their summer camp, preparing to give family and friends a performance of what they learned that week.
For Ross, it was coming full circle, having grown up at the Aloha Theatre, participating in ATT, moving to the mainland and coming back home as an advisor for the program. “It was such a joy to influence these teens, they’re so dedicated and talented,” said Ross.
“This co-teaching experience this summer has been an incredible experience for two professionals, trained professionally to work together,” said Trusty.
Because of the overwhelming response to the workshop scheduled, they added a second workshop to allow more teens the experience.
This is not the first time the two have worked together. They appeared as mother and daughter in the production of Mama Mia in February.
But they never got to sing together in the show. So they decided to do a show themselves to benefit the teen theatre while getting another crack at performing side by side again. They even worked in an ABBA medley from the popular show.
Passing the Torch, a musical revue with singing, dancing and humor with appearances by the Aloha Teen Theatre, Collier, Reggie Koffman and Miguel Montez will have a one night only performance at 7 p.m. July 26 at the Aloha Theatre.
“Come and hear songs you’re going to love to hear,” Trusty said.
Teens 13-18 are free, adult and youth tickets are available at alohatheatre.com