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Off to see the Wizard with UNC Pembroke’s G-Camp

Two dozen area students participated in the annual G-Camp at UNC Pembroke held July 25-29

UNC Pembroke welcomed area students to campus last month for the annual G-Camp, a weeklong musical theatre camp for children in first through eighth grades.

The camp was held July 25-29.

Sponsored by UNCP’s Offices for Regional Initiatives and Undergraduate Admissions, the program hosted educators from Compass Creative Dramatics, a Chicago-based organization specializing in theatre education for young people, who came to Moore Hall to work with campers. The mission of the organization is to engage students in activities designed to inspire growth and instill confidence, especially in regions with limited resources for arts education.

Putting the entire production together in just five days, the group met each other for the first time on Monday morning and presented the production Friday evening. Twenty-four students participated and were coached in large and small group instruction throughout the week. University student counselors mentored the campers, who practiced pronunciation, diction, memorization, stagecraft and character development. Students also worked to learn the songs, dialogue and dance movements.

The production featured a retelling of the classic story of Dorothy, her dog Toto, and the friends she meets during her quest to return home. The 2022 G-Camp version included rock music, exuberant dance scenes and modern twists, which kept the audience engaged throughout the show. The youngest campers excelled at their role as the Yellow Brick Road, featuring Paislee Demery, Emma Henderson, Abigail Lowery, Alyssa Locklear and Tesla Locklear.

Snappily dressed and performing as representatives from Oz were Latisha Bell, Isabella Oxendine and Alli Henderson. The welcoming munchkin group included Malissa Taylor, Kaden Chavis, Jimothy Locklear, SunnyDae Locklear, Westley Locklear, Brynlee McNeill and Brielle Smith.

The witch was heroically performed by Madison Ellerbe, whose melting scene received a large round of applause, accompanied by her dastardly flying monkeys Caelen Bendrot, Boston Oxendine, and Ethan Hunt. Dorothy, beautifully played by Destiny Strickland, was supported by her little dog Toto, Ellie Hunt, who charmed the audience. The Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow, played by Avery Locklear, Bristol Jacobs and Eryan Malcolm, garnered praise for their ease in embracing those familiar, beloved characters. Credit for lights and backstage organizing goes to Zina McMillan. The guest teachers Olivia Candocia and Cassandra Quinn, along with UNCP student counselors Zoe Polley and Tyler Oxendine provided inspiring leadership throughout the production.         

One of several programs for young people held on campus over the summer months, G-Camp has been a UNCP tradition for 13 years, originally hosted by the Givens Performing Arts Center.

“UNCP’s G-Camp production of Wizard of Oz proved to be a hit with our students and families,” notes Mary Beth Locklear, director of the UNCP Office for Regional Initiatives. “Participants worked hard to learn lines and perform a final show in just five days! We were extremely proud of the students and know they gained confidence and new friendships from this experience.”