The Viola Project Part 2: Villain Camp

    In this three-part feature, we take a look at an Oak Park summer camp focused on empowering our youth through the works of Shakespeare

    Running from July 29-Aug. 2, The Viola Project's Villain Camp is the second of three Oak Park summer camps that take lessons from the works of William Shakespeare

    Nonprofit summer camp organizers, The Viola Project, will host their next camp from July 29-Aug. 2 at Austin Gardens in Oak Park.

    The Viola Project will model the activities of its week-long camp after the works of William Shakespeare. But instead of focusing on the strong female protagonists like in previous camps, the theme this time around is “Villain Camp.”

    The camp organizers are creating an atmosphere for girls and young women ages 10-16 to feel comfortable in their own skin. More importantly, these children and young teens are challenged to think for themselves, grow confident in their individual abilities, and learn a few lessons along the way.

    “Villain Camp is going to be a wonderful opportunity for our students to explore some of the most complex, exciting characters in Shakespeare’s canon,” said Program Director Rebecca Dumain. “I feel as though young women are conditioned to shy away from wanting to play ‘the bad guy,’ but our students have made it clear that not everyone always wants to be a Desdemona — sometimes they want to give Iago a shot!”

    Two campers read lines during one of the summer camp’s soft rehearsals.

    At Villain Camp, campers will learn all about the antagonists in Shakespeare’s work, what motivates them, and challenges the campers to see the humanity in the characters.

    “No one is perfect,” said Dumain. “By exploring these complex characters, it is our hope that the campers will take valuable lessons from learning their motivations and apply it to how people behave in the real world.”

    Villain Camp will give students an opportunity to try material they might not always be considered for in other theatrical settings. They will be challenged to stretch themselves as performers, all while thinking, “What really makes a villain, a villain?”

    The Viola Project’s Villain Camp is currently open for enrollment but it will cap the attendance at a total of 18 in order to ensure that each camper gets the individual attention that she deserves.

    Villain Camp will last a total of five days from July 29-Aug. 2. The day camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at Austin Gardens with drop-offs beginning as early as 8:30 a.m.

    You can apply online right now at Pricing for the camp is $375 per child/young teen. Scholarships and financial assistance are available on a case-by-case basis.


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