I was at a meeting two weeks ago preparing for this summer’s Musical Theatre Pioneer Camp starting June 19th. Someone asked me “Are you a historian?” I paused, surprised by the question, and then replied. “Yes, I am, actually, I’m an actor.” I don’t have a PhD in history, but I do have a lifetime of researching roles for plays and musicals that have earned me a place at the historian’s table. From Medea to Grease; Hildegarde of Bingen to The Sound of Music; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s been an incredible, personal and in depth connection to history that has cultivated in me an expansive world view.
This summer, starting June 19th, some of South Bend’s youngest actors will gather for two weeks to begin researching life in South Bend, circa 1865. They will discover details about South Bend’s founding families, The Studebakers, The Olivers, The Birdsells and others. We will visit the History Museum and search for clues about our characters: Sally Studebaker, Emma Malloy and Frances Coquillard, to name a few.
But don’t let all this serious research and history fool ya! It’s all woven into the developmentally appropriate, wonderfully creative act of making theatre. This rich and relevant South Bend history will be gleaned through song and crafting, friendships and field trips. We will immerse ourselves into the sights, sounds, smells, feel and tastes of the great history of South Bend. And perhaps most importantly, WE WILL HAVE A BLAST doing it!
There are still a couple spots open. See you on the wagon trail.