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Monthly Archives: May 2012

TAP Summer Camps: Fun and Active Learning

Adventures in Art camp runs June 11 – 15.

Theatre Action Project is offering sizzling summer camps this year and we are so excited. Each week of camp has a theme to keep the kids active and learning. It all starts June 11th and it runs through August 10th. Here’s the best part–we’re at 4 satellite locations around Austin including Trinity United Methodist Church, The University of Texas, Lakeway, and Circle C. 

Choose your week and choose your adventure! At TAP camps this summer, kids will put on a play, write a musical, star in a movie, create puppets, and learn a drum and dance routine, just to name a few of the creative activities in store,

Choose a camp location nearest you. Locations include:

Trinity United Methodist Church
June 11 – August 10, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Ages 5 – 12.

University of Texas at Austin
June 18 – 22, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ages 6-10.

Lakeway Activities Center
July 16 – 20 & July 30-August. 3, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Ages 5-12.

Circle C HOA Community Center
July 9 – 13, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Ages 5-11.

Cost: $235-250. To register online visit:
For more information call: (512) 442-8773. or email:

Blue Bird uniform

PS: My favorite camp memory–okay my only camp memory–is a day camp in Corpus Christi when I was a Blue Bird, the younger version of a Camp Fire Girl. I was so looking forward to learning how to fish, until I found out you had to thread a worm on your hook first. Sadly, the only thing I caught that day was a turtle that I quickly unhooked and threw back in the pond.

Summer Camp Brings Lasting Memories

by Erik Weasenforth, Marketing Associate VISTA

I remember as a kid, the excitement of the last day of school. Once I got off of the bus I would rush home as fast as I could because I looked forward to all the things I would do that summer with no homework to do! One of the things I looked forward to during summers was camp. I never attended a sleepover camp as a kid, but had gone to several basketball camps, Boy Scout day camp, and a computer game camp.

Every camp was different in its own way, but I’d always leave each camp with the same things:

  • New skills/knowledge learned
  • A sense of accomplishment and improvement (trophies, medals, prizes, good experiences, new skills)
  • New friends

Like all camps, Theatre Action Project (TAP) will give kids those 3 things and more. At TAP Summer Camps, kids will learn new skills (dance, film, creative thinking), make new friends, and learn lessons that will help them grow to be Creative Artists, Courageous Allies, Critical Thinkers, and Confident Leaders in their communities. Campers will come away with memories that will last a lifetime.

P.S. My favorite Summer Camp memory was winning 3 contests (free throws, 3 on 3, and shooting challenge) at 7th grade basketball camp.

Summer Camp Teaching Artists

Now that school is coming to an end, Theatre Action Project (TAP) teaching artists (TA’s) are gearing up for TAP Summer Camp. But this year is different because TAP now has 4 camp locations whereas in the past there was only 1 camp, which means there will be a few more teaching artists working this summer.

This summer features the following TA’s:

  • Amy Downing
  • Aron Taylor
  • Caroline Reck
  • Freddy Carnes
  • Ignacio Cruz
  • Kate Shaw
  • Keri Boyd
  • Lillie Hollingsworth
  • Marcelo Teson
  • Maya Berry
  • Meg Greene
  • Mitch Bowman
  • Natalie Goodnow
  • Sevylla del Mazo
  • Stephanie Chavez-Noell
  • Taylor Harrison
  • Tonya Lyles

To see the full list of our wonderful TA’s that work year-round, visit the TAP Teaching Artists page. For more information on camp, see our TAP Camps page.

See you this summer!

My Volunteer Experience at YNPN’s Do Gooder Games

by Erik Weasenforth, Marketing Associate VISTA

This past Wednesday, I got to the chance to volunteer as a photographer for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) at their Sixth Annual Do Gooder Games in Austin, where teams competed in rounds of mental and physical challenges, with the champion team getting $500 to donate towards their favorite nonprofit. The highlight of the night was definitely the costumes that teams wore.

Here are just a few awesome costumes from that night:

Salsa Labs
Photo by Erik Weasenforth

Greenlights for Nonprofit Success
Photo by Erik Weasenforth

Team Green POWER UP!
Photo by Erik Weasenforth

Team Wigs Yall
Photo by Erik Weasenforth

To see the rest of my photos from the Do Gooder Games, check out my Flickr album or read my personal blog about it. My goal is to get better at photography this year, and I have a lot of opportunities coming up soon with Theatre Action Project (TAP) events like the 5th Annual Pageant in the Park and TAP summer camp.

Volunteer Call for TAP’s Summer Pageant in the Park

Interested in making a difference this summer?  Theatre Action Project (TAP) is currently seeking volunteers to assist Teaching Artists as they prepare for the 5th Annual Pageant in the Park on Saturday, June 23rd. This fun event focuses on the effects of the changing seasons on food harvest, native Texas farming, and the benefits of healthy eating. TAP Teaching Artists, volunteers, and students will create large-scale puppets, banners, costumes, and much more for this colorful afternoon in the park.

Here is a map of participating schools; most classes take place 12 – 4 p.m., June 4 – 28th. Volunteers must commit to helping once a week or more at a campus. We are flexible and happy to find a schedule that works for YOU!  Take a look at photos from last year’s Summer Pageant to get a look all the fun that comes with this event.

Contact Cassie Swayze at, or call (512)442-8773 x109 to schedule an orientation.

For more information about Theatre Action Project and getting involved, CLICK HERE.

End of Year Spring Showcase, Preparing for Summer

by Freddy Carnes, Artistic Associate

On May 9th we had our end of the year showcase at Popham Elementary in Del Valle. At the showcase we featured the following:

  • A video that we made earlier in the semester about “The Odyssey” ending with a live performance of “Circe’s Island” by 3rd grade.
  • Live performances of scenes from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Nights Dream” by 2nd Grade
  • 4th grade performed “Hamlet” and 5th grade performed “Romeo and Juliet”.

Ballet Folklorico rehearses on the stage right before we rehearse so we have had an audience every day.  We seem to be peaking at the right time so that makes it very satisfying.

As this Spring Semester ends we begin preparing for summer at Theatre Action Project (TAP), this is one of the busiest times of year.  I love doing the summer camps and getting the opportunity to collaborate with other TAP teachers.  I love the routine and ebb and flow of each week with the Friday sharings.

This summer I have added a new exciting program.  We got a request from Stepping Stone School to bring a program that was half performance and storytelling and the other half teaching and directing.  I will go to 14 Stepping Stone schools mainly in July and in two-hour blocks create a short version of “The Odyssey” and “A Midsummer’s Nights Dream” with 15 children in each hour.  This includes full costumes and props and staging.  We will learn short Shakespearean speeches and songs.  I can’t wait!

If you’re preparing for the summer too and want your 5 to 12 year old to do a fun and engaging program, join us at TAP Summer Camp. To register, CLICK HERE.

Final Show

by Susie Gidseg, Managing Director, Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble

There is something about the Changing Lives family. As you all have followed our journey this year—you have seen many high points—performances and sharings, trips and media opportunities, growth and change, but this final performance may have been my favorite. We gathered together at Hyde Park Theatre (an amazing space- that you should patronize if you haven’t already) for our end of year- family and friends only performance. For hours before we worried because we had too many people interested in seeing the show- but as it often does, theatre magic happens, and the theatre was full, yet no one was turned away.

The audience was buzzing with energy, friends and parents, brothers and sisters, classmates, staff of SafePlace and Theatre Action Project and more filled the theatre. The evening wasn’t just about the final performance. It was about all of us, the Changing Lives family, coming together to celebrate what we have accomplished this year. To celebrate our students for their hard work and dedication, and celebrate the staff, family and friends who gave them space this year to grow, helped with rides and snacks, and believed wholeheartedly that the work the students were doing was WORTH IT.

After the show we held a talk-back with the audience, had students speak about their favorite times in Changing Lives, handed out end of year certificates, and had a post show party with food and cake. We broke the set down for the last time, folded up the Romeo and Juliet costumes and dissembled our sound system.

It was the end of this year, but as with every year, there will always be a new beginning in the fall. The group will be different- but equally amazing in their own way. I’m excited to see the future of Changing Lives as it continually grows and changes. Thank you to SafePlace and Theatre Action Project for believing in this program, and the good it is doing in our community.