ANDERSON — Rich in cultural traditions and history and bursting at the seams with great music, “Fiddler on the Roof, Jr.” makes fertile territory for Central Christian Church’s summer youth arts camp.
While other churches host Vacation Bible Schools to keep kids engaged in a fun way during the summer, Central Christian looks to theatre.
“It’s kind of a natural thing for us,” said the Rev. Rick Vale, senior pastor at Central Christian Church. He, along with a number of others in the church, has background in theatre and ties to Anderson’s Mainstage Theatre.
“It’s obviously an outpouring of who I am with my love of theatre and the church,” said Vale, who started the program in 2009. The two-week evening camp centers on a theatrical production and engages kids in drama, music, dancing, set and costume design. Along the way, they pick up on Bible precepts, history and culture. The program is known as C.A.M.P., an acronym for Central Art, Music and Parables.
Kids from second grade through high school participate for the entire two weeks, which started July 22. Kids ages 4 through first grade participate for the second week only, starting July 29.
Each year, the arts camp selects a play that makes a good fit with the church while being fun for the kids.
“We try to pick one with spiritual stability,” said Vale. He especially likes “Fiddler on the Roof, Jr.” In his career as a thespian, Vale has played almost every male role in the play.
“It’s good entertainment. Great music. Great story. And just enough foreign that it’s interesting,” said Vale. He noted, “It’s great for kids, too.”
Jayna Friend is directing this year’s C.A.M.P. production. Friend is no stranger to theatre. She has been involved with Mainstage for more than 20 years, including directing productions there. She’s enthusiastic about “Fiddler on the Roof, Jr.”