Toledo's historic Wieting Theatre and Opera House was recently filled with wizards, jesters, princesses, frogs and a dragon.
Not to mention, there were about 60 boys and girls, who helped bring those characters to life during a week-long theatre camp. With the help of three professional actors from the Old Creamery Theatre in Amana, the week-long Camp Creamery concluded July 27 with a pair of productions of the popular musical "Merlin's Apprentice and the Deadly Dragon."
"Merlin and the Deadly Dragon was delightful to watch," said Denise Fletcher, President of the Wieting Theatre Guild. "It was fun seeing the huge smiles on the parents' and performers' faces. Can't wait to see what these kids can accomplish next year."
Lead jester Ticklefeather, played by Katie Colletta, leads the group of jesters in a song during a dress rehearsal July 26 at the Wieting Theatre and Opera House. Camp Creamery presented “Merlin’s Apprentice and the Deadly Dragon” at the end of a week-long youth theatre camp. The final performances were on July 27.
The theatre camp helped raise approximately $1,200 for the Wieting Theatre. The money will go toward paying off the existing loan, much like the other performances and movies held at the historic downtown theatre.
During the week leading up to the performances, the kids were turned into actors and actresses during hours of daily rehearsals. The kids were eligible for groups of characters - princesses, frogs, apprentices and jesters - with the professional actors taking the main roles of Queen Genevieve, Ticklefeather the Jester and Merlin.
"I learned to be big and bold on the stage and not shy and quiet," Nyana Eubanks, who played Princess Edith, said.
Many of the other children enjoyed their team at Camp Creamery.
"This is the happiest time of my whole life," said Ella Rosario, who played a frog.
Fellow frog Hannah Isaacson also enjoyed her role in the musical.
"I liked the frog jumps the best," Isaacson said.
Some of the children tried to improve from the first show to the second performance.
"I'm going to try to be better than the last show by being more bold, because it is fun and most of my family will be at the 2 o'clock show," said James Hofer, who played Jester Gigglesmith.
Three local assistant directors also had the opportunity to be part of the musical. They were South Tama High School students Carrie Cibula, Mackenzie McFate,and Michael Cahow.
"It was lots of fun working with the kids and Jeff, Katie, and Lizzie," Cahow said.
The camp was made possible because of a $2,500 grant from the Tama County Community Foundation an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. The camp t-shirts in the photo were purchased by SKIP (Supporting Kids in Prevention). The Wieting Guild plans on making this an annual event.
"I want to be in camp next year," said jester Luis Avalos.