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A scene from Oregon Stage Works' Ashland Children's Theatre production of the comic mystery 'A Laughing Matter.' - Oregon Stage Works

Fun and theater games for young actors

Oregon Stage Works' Ashland Children's Theatre is celebrating its fifth year. The group will present "The Improv Games: TeenProv Showdown," an improv comedy performance at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at Oregon Stage Works, 191 A St., Ashland.

Directed by Eve Smyth, the event will showcase the talents of Ashley Chapman, Christy Chow, Jackson Davis, Madison Gilpin, Kairo Holbert, Makayla Laughery, Mel Maas, Elli Mallory, Katie Mallory, Danika Nutter, Camille Pejcha, Kai Pejcha and Preston Swanson.

In "The Improv Games," two teams of teen improvisers compete by challenging each other to different improvised scenes. Some of the scenes will be familiar to those who have seen the popular television show "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?"

The performers will ask the audience for suggestions to start their scenes, then make it up from there. Audience members will have the final say as they vote for the winning scene. Only one team will walk away at the end of the evening with the coveted trophy.

Smyth is the co-director, with Kate Sullivan, of Oregon Stage Works' Ashland Children's Theatre. She has been coaching TeenProv for this event and will be the emcee for the evening. Smyth has been acting and performing improv for over 20 years.

Smyth received her improv training at BATS Improv in San Francisco, where she continued on to teach and perform before coming to the Rogue Valley. She now teaches improv at Oregon Stage Works' Ashland Children's Theatre and is a member of the local improv troupe, The Hamazons.

Smyth has written several plays for Ashland Children's Theatre and is a company member of Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Tickets for the one-night-only performance are $5 at the door.

With summer fast approaching, Oregon Stage Works' Ashland Children's Theatre, directed by Smyth, will be holding its Incredible Instant Theatre Camp from June 15-Aug. 28.

A variety of theatrical fun for ages 4 through 17 is being offered including improv, musical theater, puppets, stage combat and a performance focused camp, Children's Mystery Theatre.

All camps will take place at Oregon Stage Works and each camp culminates in a showcase performance for family and friends. Children's Mystery Theatre camp will present two public performances on Saturday, Aug. 15.

Ashland Children's Theatre offers eight camps throughout the summer for children of different ages with a diverse range of theatrical experience.

A new offering this summer will be Scratch Built Puppet Theatre camp taught by Kyndra Laughery. Students will create a puppet performance from start to finish; beginning with construction of puppets and scenery, then moving on to create their own scripts and learning puppetry technique.

Laughery, a "found object" artist, is the director of Teen Theatre, a member of the Hamazons, and an instructor with Ashland Children's Theatre.

After last summer's success of "A Laughing Matter,"Ashland Children's Theatre is developing a new mystery script written by Smyth especially for Children's Mystery Theatre Camp. This intensive two-week camp for ages 12-17, will delve into the mystery genre in classic film-noir style, with a comic twist.

In addition to actors, the camp will welcome students who are interested in lighting, sound, stage management, and production. A hard-boiled detective, a femme fatale, a man with a strange accent "¦ all ingredients for a fun whodunit.

Laura Derocher will return for a third year, teaching both musical theater camps, which will feature excerpts from "The Music Man" (Camp 6) and "Wicked" (Camp 7).

Derocher has performed lead roles in musical theater for over 30 years. She has coached children in acting and voice for other local and Chicago-area theaters. She teaches voice at a home studio in Ashland.

For more information call 482-2334, ext. 2 or visit Oregon Stage Works' Web site at oregonstageworks.org, where you can download a camp registration form.

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