Drama Kids campers learn about theater arts

Advocate staff photo by BRIANNA PACIORKA -- Georgia Vega, right, acts as a wild thing from Maurice Sendak's book 'Where the Wild Things Are' as Ella Esneault watches during a summer drama camp held by Drama Kids International.
Advocate staff photo by BRIANNA PACIORKA -- Georgia Vega, right, acts as a wild thing from Maurice Sendak's book 'Where the Wild Things Are' as Ella Esneault watches during a summer drama camp held by Drama Kids International.

Taylor Brandt, 10, took a bow, then he took another and another.

Taylor, who was part of the Drama Kids International youth summer camp at the Pasqua Theater, practiced his bow on day four of the weeklong camp held June 24-28.

Camp instructor Daniel Bourgeois, 19, threw in a few pointers as the seven young actors stood on stage.

Learning how to properly bow was just one of the theater lessons included in the camp, DKI owner Lorna Culmone Bourgeois said.

Lorna Bourgeois, 52, who retired in May after a long teaching career, has joined forces with local actor Michael Mason to purchase the DKI franchise for Ascension, Livingston and East Baton Rouge parishes.

DKI started years ago overseas and came to Louisiana 10 years ago, she said. Beth Jones, who operated the program in Baton Rouge, retired earlier this year.

An email to the Ascension Community Theatre, of which Bourgeois is a longtime member, sparked his interest in the franchise.

The timing was perfect, Bourgeois said and soon she and Mason were making plans to bring DKI training to Ascension Parish.

“This is not about making stars, but about teaching everyone to move and be comfortable on stage,” she said.

The summer camp is DKI’s first venture under new ownership, she said.

The DKI franchise came with programs and lessons on “everything theater,” Bourgeois said.

“The camp gives kids a chance to perform in a real theater,” she said.

The students learned about everything from how to develop a script to the importance of costumes.

Sessions were offered June 10 to June 14 and again last week, with the second session divided into morning and afternoon classes.

Drama campers spent their first day brainstorming about ideas for a play they would write, costume and stage.

“It’s all about learning the crafting of theater,” she said. “They had to learn how to use what you have to put on theater.”

Bourgeois said that as a child she would grab old clothes and “things that we had around the house ... and just be silly and put on a play.”

“I don’t think kids today do that anymore,” she said.

Bourgeois said the DKI programs will give children an opportunity to do just that.

Bourgeois and Mason plan to offer after-school and weekend drama workshops and classes for children of all ages.

This week, now that camp’s complete, Bourgeois is working on a website and future programs.

For information on upcoming classes, email cmg.dramakids@gmail.com or cal at (225) 571-2573.