New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | April 14, 2024

Trojan Theatre’s ‘Star of the Day’ camp provides opportunity, inspiration for youth

By Robb Johnson | March 30, 2019 11:33 pm

Campers are greeted by New Kent High School Trojan Theatre cast members during a VIP session of the 'Star of the Day' camp.

Robb Johnson photos

As time passes, the transition from childhood to young adult means more responsibilities and setting an example as a role model. For New Kent High School’s Trojan Theatre ensemble, it was the opportunity to provide some fun to a group of youngsters and open a door to the fine arts.

Theatre students took the next step in enhancing their program, hosting the first “Star for a Day” workshop on March 23 for students from kindergarten to eighth grade.

Months prior to their performance, Trojan Theatre began working on their presentation of “James and the Giant Peach”, part of their annual production that is presented to the community. The teenage performers wanted to use their own reality to define their characters through different types of expressions. With that, they wanted to share those wide ranges of expression to the younger generation.

The play doubled as both a way for the teenage actors and actresses to express themselves, as well as give back to the community. While the play is based on scary events, allowing the younger students to experience a plethora of activities prior to the night performance sent a message that no matter the situation, you can triumph over it.

For a pair of Trojan Theatre performers, the meaning to work with the youth of the community also is a reflection of their lives.

“The story means a lot to our childhood because we grew up on it [James and the Giant Peach],” said Haley Wagner, who portrays a sponge in the play. “Our siblings will come to this show and they still get the same type of butterflies that we do.

“The same goes for the kids who showed up at our ‘Star of the Day’ camp today,” she continued. “It’s cool that after the camp all of the actors are even more excited because now, we are feeling what it was like when we were seven to eight years old.”

New Kent High School senior and show director Billy Bowery emphasized the emotional connection the story has to him.

“There is a defined reason why I wanted to direct this show as my sister passed away almost ten years ago,” he said. “These types of stories are tales that I grew up on and me getting into theater has always been my personal way of honoring her.

“I found this hobby because of her and by directing this show, it brings everything full circle,” Bowery added. “It brings that inner child back out of me because so many years ago it was lost. Theater has taught me how to love, learn, and listen to people and truly accept and look at the bigger picture.”

Those two students were among many who greeted youthful campers at the “Star of the Day” camp. Among activities included an exclusive VIP dinner with cast members, photo opportunities on the red carpet, and a question and answer period where children couldn’t hide their smiles as they were ready for the show.

That evening, the auditorium began to fill with anticipation, with campers having premier seating. The tidbits and hands-on with the youthful campers seemed to energize the cast, presenting a program that continued to show why Trojan Theatre continues to be a step ahead in what they do.

And on this night, it was the message sent by the high school performers throughout the day that presented an opportunity to others. The teenage role models proved to be selfless in their attempt to positively influence the next generation, something that New Kent High School’s Trojan Theatre hopes to provide to the future generation of stars.

Cast members perform a scene from "James and the Giant Peach" at the Mar. 23 performance.

Cast members perform a scene from “James and the Giant Peach” at the Mar. 23 performance.