For Mackie and Violet Saylor, two sisters from Waukee, the theater is not just a hobby - it's much more than that.
Mackie Saylor, 20, is a 2010 graduate of and is studying musical theater at the Webster Conservatory in St. Louis, Mo. Her sister, 17 year-old Violet, just graduated from Waukee High School and will attend Drake University in the fall to study stage directing and musical theater.
The company, founded by the two sisters, makes its debut this summer in Waukee. The children's theater troupe, the sisters say, will be a place where young people will not just learn the ins and outs of theater, but also learn about themselves.
"We feel like the arts has a place for everyone," said Violet Saylor. "In theater, you don’t have to be able to speak in front of people, you don’t have to be a good performer to succeed. Everyone can find their place in theater."
Children entering kindergarten through 10th grade can take part in a weeklong camp that begins June 25. Elementary age participants will see the results of their collaboration on a production at week's end called "Alice...Again!" The older participants will learn all aspects of theater production culminating in a performance on the last day of camp in the Center Stage Workshop.
Both Violet and Mackie Saylor will run the camps with the help of volunteers. Mackie Saylor says the sisters' contribution is a way the two can give back to a community that has supported their hopes and dreams through the years.
"Our teachers have been a main source of inspiration to us," said Mackie Saylor. "We have a great love and passion for what we do. I think it's our responsibility to give that back...to pass it on."
The pair say their parents were also big influences when it came to their involvement in the arts. Jim Saylor, their father, is a painter. Their mom, Jane Olson, teaches music. Together the couple created an environment that fostered a love of the arts and gave the two the confidence and enthusiasm to create.
"I think it’s great to see them in action," said Olson. "They're both such good teachers and the kids just look up to them and are inspired by them. It's really remarkable what they both have really done all on their own."
As a parent, Olson said involvement in the arts can open up a whole new world for kids of every age.
"I think if your child has any interest at all, it’s a great thing to get them involved early," she said. "It's not about them becoming an actor or going into theater, it’s more about gaining self-confidence, bettering their communication skills, creative thinking and problem solving, too. I think that's what the arts does for kids, more than anything else, and Mackie and Violet prove that."
Where: Both camps are held at , 405 Maple St.
Details: There are two camps available, both occurring the week of June 25 - 29.
(For students entering K - 6th grade)
June 25 - 29, 9 - 11:30 a.m. Final performance on Friday, June 29 at 11 a.m.
Center Stage Workshop
(For students entering 7th - 10th grade)
June 25 - 29, 1 - 4 p.m. Final performance on Friday, June 29 at 7 p.m.