Olivia Boden couldn’t imagine her life without theatre.
The Prince Albert resident started out in Broadway north in the winter of 2006.
“It’s grown and become a part of who I am, and it made theatre a passion I’ll never lose,” she said ahead of the summer intensive showcase Friday.
While Boden is used to being on stage, this year is a little different. Boden came back to Broadway North this year to work behind the scenes as the assistant choreographer.
“I’ve had so much fun,” she said. “It’s been great coming back and seeing everyone again, especially the kids. They were just little when I was here, and it’s great to see them grown up and doing so well.”
Boden said her past experience with Broadway North was an asset, as she was there for the dance role, but already had an idea of how some of the other elements worked together. It was also a neat opportunity for her to see the other side of a program that she’s spent so much time with.
“It’s been really cool. I didn’t know what went on behind the scenes. It’s really cool to teach kids, especially kids that maybe haven’t done dance before. Seeing how far they’ve come in a week is really inspiring.”
That week makes up the Broadway North summer intensive program. It wrapped up Friday with the showcase, an opportunity for the students to show their parents what they’ve accomplished in a few days.
“They do a lot in a small time frame,” explained Laura Hopper, who took on the role of program director this year.
“Monday we start them off with a bang in music, dance and drama classes. Every day they repeat their classes.”
The students also get workshops. This year, those included music theatre basics, an audition workshop and a backstage technical workshop, where kids learned how to do things like scene changes and costume quick changes. They also did a scavenger hunt to find 21 locations in the theatre, with improv, singing and dancing at each scavenger hunt station.
Friday, each student got to participate in one song, one dance, one song and dance number and a little improv. All the students also came together for a big finale, with each of the junior, intermediate and senior classes getting a mini showcase. That grand finale, this year, was We Go Together from Grease. Based on the students’ experiences, the organizers couldn’t have picked a better song.
“Everyone is like a huge family here,” said Tazana Nilson, who has been coming to Broadway North summer intensives for six years.
‘We all want each other to do our best. It’s very inclusive.”
Each year Nilson has been able to build on the skills she learned during the year prior. She’s come a long way since starting in the program.
“I remember coming in as little nine-year-old, not really knowing how to sing, act or dance,” she said.
“Now I’m a senior, and I have so much more confidence and creativity.”
Increased confidence was also a takeaway for Sam Malenfant, another regular summer intensive participant.
“I’ve been in this program for a long time, he said. “It’s been a lot of fun. It’s very hectic but very awesome too. You get to see what everyone is doing and performing. You get to see what it’s like so you don’t have any nerves.”
Malenfant said the week’s activities helped to build his confidence while teaching skills he can use on stage.
“The auditions are very scary, but you learn a lot from them so you can do better, Malenfant said.
“I can definitely say I’ve been way more confidence since the first year I came. I recommend to everybody to come here and have fun.”
Nilson also said she would “definitely” recommend Broadway North’s summer intensive.
“It’s a good boost to your confidence, because we’re a huge family and so encouraging,” she said.
“It’s just a wonderful place to be.”