This summer, Mikayla Benson (11) juggled play performances, taking numerous dance classes, and discovering herself as an actor during three weeks at the Stagedoor Manor performing arts camp.
After six years of attending Interlochen Center for the Arts, a six-week theater program, Benson opted for a change of pace, she said. Stagedoor Manor casts around 300 students in 16 different shows, providing them all the resources to put together a production in only ten days of rehearsal time.
In addition to performing in a play, the program offered different courses for the students. Benson participated in a tap dance class, a conditioning class, a class studying different genres of musical theater, and the Master Acting class, a selective course for advanced students at the camp to study various methods of acting.
“Master Acting was my favorite part of the camp because it was a major transformative experience,” Benson said. “It taught me how to understand and have empathy towards other people, because if you don’t have that you can never truthfully step into the role of a character in a show.”
For Benson, this role was Fraulein Schneider, an old woman in the famous play Cabaret, set in Berlin, Germany.
“Since I had one of the leading parts, it was a very stressful and overwhelming experience at first to learn all of my lines and songs,” Benson said “However, it flew by, and once I was done, I couldn’t even believe all that I’d accomplished in so little time.”
“I’ve been acting from a young age, but in seventh grade I realized I want to do theater for my entire life because it is the most fulfilling thing I do with my time. I loved Stagedoor Manor because it allowed me to explore myself as an actress in classes, and live and breathe theater for three weeks,” Benson said.