M Plays: Showtime for kids at Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre

Youngsters sing, dance and act their socks off at a Dubai drama camp.

Members of the Kids Theatre Works cast dance at the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre.
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I attended the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (Ductac) at the Mall of the Emirates this month to take part in the Kids Theatre Works drama camp. It was the first time I had been to Ductac and I was excited to see what it was all about. I kept a diary of my week there.

SUNDAY

There were lots of children waiting to get their name tags and signing in on the first morning with the parents standing in the background, no doubt already planning their day of freedom.

After signing in and picking up my name tag at reception it was off upstairs to the changing room and then to the main theatre. We all sat in a circle and introduced ourselves; we had to say funny things about each other, which made us all laugh. We split into four groups, and each was allocated a helper.

There were three main teachers who had flown over from the UK. Dean Elliott came from the West End show Buddy Holly, and Hayley Doyle and Anna Stranack are also both professional actresses. We all had to talk about a shipwreck, what it meant to us individually, how we imagined ourselves being there and what we would do in that situation. We didn't know it at the time but Shipwrecked was to be the name of the show.

I enjoyed my first day and made two new friends, Thomas and Natasha. I was already looking forward to the week.

MONDAY

The following day I sat in a circle next to my friends Natasha and Katie. First, we warmed up by dancing and expressing our feelings to the music. We were all being watched so that the teachers could decide what part we would play in the show. We were individually picked - some were lead actors, others dancers and some were singers. I was chosen to dance, say some lines and sing the Beatles song Hey Jude along with my group. I have not done anything like this before so this was a whole new experience for me. We all started acting out our parts for the play in our groups. Hayley, the teacher, would give us a scene to act out and after practising it we had to perform to all the other groups. I enjoyed today as I liked all the dancing and singing.

TUESDAY

Strolling into Ductac, my friends ran up to greet me. Today we concentrated on improving our technique and trying to raise the volume of our singing. We brought the play together for the first time and conducted a full rehearsal.

Afterwards I felt that we had improved, but there was still some work to do ahead of Thursday. It all started to come together and I couldn't believe how much fun it all was.

WEDNESDAY

It came to our final practice the day before the show on Thursday. We split into our groups and practised our scene, then the teachers took out a group at a time and worked with us individually. We all had to bring in a costume, which was ripped trousers and shirts. We were made to look dirty and scruffy - like we had been shipwrecked and had not washed for days. We made a ship out of a physical theatre; some of us stretched out on the floor to make the water ripples, others stood on each others' shoulders to make the masts. We then broke out into our dance groups and started to perform. It was looking good. We were all very excited but a bit nervous.

THURSDAY

Today was show day. We had to perform in front of the parents and teachers. I was so nervous but the helpers and teachers all reassured us. We all put our costumes on and had our faces made up and hair done; we looked great. We then went to do a full dress rehearsal; I was scared that I was going to forget my words. Then it came to the performance and I saw my friends watching me in the audience but luckily I didn't forget my words or dance routine, I just enjoyed myself.

Ductac drama camp is brilliant. It has helped me to gain confidence, think for myself and be more creative. It made me discover abilities that I didn't realise I had. It was my first time at a drama camp and I would love to do it again next year. The teachers and staff worked very hard with us all to make it a really amazing show.

Danielle, 10

The Ductac Kids Theatre Works is for children between the ages of 7-14. Costing Dh750 per child per week, the camps run until the end of August from Sunday-Thursday between 9am-3pm, as the children work towards a show, commitment must be made for the week. For details, go to www.kidstheatreworks.com