Columns & Blogs

Theater camps culminate in family shows

First, a shout-out to David Post’s Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s choir, who sang at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on June 26.

Here’s what Post said on Facebook, praising the students who spent five days in the Big Apple:

“Five days, 40 singers and not one complaint the whole trip, just tons of kindness and thank yous! You represented the sweet spirit of BAAY wherever you went. We even received multiple complements from the hotel employees on our good attitude.

“We learned about making beautiful music, having grace and focus under pressure, being a fantastic friend and how to step up to a higher level than we even knew we could musically! I am just bursting with appreciation and gratitude for all of you.

“Isn’t it inspiring to see the children (our future leaders) do so very well together as a community out there in the big world? The world is in good hands with these guys coming up to take over.”

Post’s incredible energy and enthusiasm for instilling a love for the performing arts in young people is matched by his unflagging staff — Lisa Markowitz, Maddy Hamilton, Jack Eiford, Steve Barnes, Dana Crediford, Evan Ingalls, and the many parent volunteers.

BAAY is producing a slew of musicals this summer, starting Friday, July 17: “Green Eggs and Ham,” “Robin Hood: Men in Tights,” and “Hercules.”

Other young Whatcom County thespians are getting reading for the annual productions by Missoula Children’s Theatre camp at Mount Baker Theatre’s mainstage, starting with “Aladdin” on Saturday, July 18, followed by “Red Riding Hood” on July 25 and “The Jungle Book” on Aug. 8.

Missoula productions are full shows for kids entering grades 1 through 12 who rehearse daily for a week with Missoula actors and directors.

Also, Ferndale Arts Commission has sponsored a new theater camp for kids 8 through 18, culminating in a production of “Honk! Jr.” July 16-19 at Ferndale High School.

Lizanne Schader talked to me about her company, the Neighborhood Playhouse, which she operates with her husband, Jerry McGarity, and then wrote this to me:

“The Neighborhood Playhouse (TNP) is in its 14th year of offering summer drama camps to students of Whatcom County. This year we’ve got four camps running, and at the end of each is a presentation for family and friends. The favorite is always the Production Camp, which features more advanced actors who work for two weeks on a production together. This camp ends with performances at the Bellingham Theatre Guild. This year, it’s “The Little Prince: The Musical” at 7 p.m. July 31 and at 2 and 5 p.m. Aug. 1. Tickets are by donation only (suggested $5).

“If you’ve grown to depend on TNP for family entertainment with such shows as “A Year with Frog and Toad,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse,” “Go, Dog! Go!” and “Goodnight Moon,” you will be disappointed to hear that the theater is taking a break for a year while we reconfigure our non-profit to become more sustainable. Though audiences have grown dramatically over the past four years, the theater still has no home in which to rehearse, build, perform and store the shows.

“Hopefully during this next year, someone will come forward with a space that we can transform into a theater (to share with other organizations, if need be) so that we can continue to provide professional-quality shows for children and their families for many years to come.”

Coming up: Western Washington University’s production of “Schoolhouse Rock,” Aug. 26-30.

Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or margaret.bikman@<code_dp>

Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth: 360-306-8531,, and Facebook.

Missoula Children’s Theatre: 360-734-6080,

Honk! Jr.: 360-384-0050.

“The Little Prince: The Musical:” 360-961-2213,

“Schoolhouse Rock:” 360-650-3876,