Permian Playhouse set to offer Saturday morning camps

Permian Playhouse is set to offer some camps this summer that may look a little different from what participants are used to.

Nichole Vanderford, chair of the education committee for the playhouse, said it is a Saturday Morning Cartoon Camp that will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 10, 17, 24 and 31.

“We’re going to host kindergarten through sixth grade,” Vanderford said.

The two-hour class will focus on the basics of theater. Youngsters will run through theater exercises, learn some songs, dances and a couple of skits.

“… But it’s for them to just test out theater, to have fun with it, and I think that’s kind of what we’re missing right now is just trying to get people back into the theater arts after being secluded for so long,” Vanderford said.

For seventh through 12th grade, the playhouse will offer camp on the same days from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This will be a play reading series and is going to be run by Ector County ISD theater teacher Micaela Grenier, Vanderford said.

“She is going to teach students how to read the play, because in theater it’s all about reading to act, but she wants to teach them reading for meaning and how do you go from a script to a production,” Vanderford said.

It will tie in with Midland Classic Theatre’s Shakespeare Summer Season.

On July 24, Permian Playhouse students will venture out to view one of the plays they have been reading and discussing.

“… The week before, they’re going to read the play and the next week they’re going to see it. The plays that we’re looking at will be Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Bluestockings and Peter and the Star-catcher. That will get kids … back into theater,” Vanderford said.

When she’s not volunteering with the Playhouse, Vanderford is senior English lecturer and director of the Quality Enhancement Plan at University of Texas Permian Basin.

At the end of July, the playhouse will stage its production of Guys and Dolls, which is currently in rehearsals. Dates are July 23, 24 and 25, July 30 and 31 and Aug. 1.

Joe Jung, the choir director at Midland Christian School, wanted a production that would bring Midland and Odessa together so rehearsals are being held in both towns.

Vanderford said the playhouse also is revamping its theater education for next year.

Its Kaleidoscope Company, the teenage group, was anyone sixth through 12th grade.

“Well, it became really large. And so what we really wanted to do is turn it back into a teenage company, so we’re going to make it audition only again. Kids will audition for KC, and KC will become our competition group. They will have one show, possibly two during our season. And then, over the summer they’ll compete, possibly, TNT (Texas Nonprofit Theatres Inc.) They have a huge competition over the summer, so that’s the direction we’re talking about taking KC,” Vanderford said.

“Those who don’t make KC, who need just a little bit more fine tuning, we’re going to expand our theater school. We’re looking at turning it into more of an academy. We will have k through 12th grade classes in the fall. We’re still working on the details, but for those who are dipping their toes in the water if they really like it, we encourage them to take our theater classes in the fall and in the spring and try out for our company, our teenage company, and then do more with our productions” she added.

After hearing about the play readings, Vanderford’s daughter Emilie said she was interested in them. She’ll also be working in various capacities with the summer program.

She added that the experience will teach them about the basics.

“It’s a good idea, especially for the younger ones” to get them acquainted with theater, Emilie said.

She will attend Permian High School next fall and made it into the production class.

“I really do anything. I’ve done tech and acted, and probably made a further advancement in tech, but I do really like acting,” Emilie said.

Two more shows are planned for the season, Wait Until Dark and It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.

It’s a Wonderful Life was planned for last year, but Vanderford said COVID paused that and the playhouse wound up cancelling a lot of its season.

It’s a Wonderful Life will run Dec. 3-12.

Wait Until Dark, a play that was made into a movie adaptation with Audrey Hepburn, is planned for Oct. 8 through Oct. 17.

“I’m looking forward to just having people back in the theater …,” she said.

For more information, or if you would like to volunteer, the best way to contact the playhouse is through Facebook messenger at