Imagine you have five days to rehearse and perform the musical Les Misérables. Now add that you’re still a teenager and have little to no professional acting experience. It sounds overwhelming, but for 32 elementary, middle and high school students of the South Sound, it’s a welcome challenge. The students are working with Apple Tree Productions to perform a workshopped and condensed version of Les Misérables, the classic French play based on Victor Hugo’s novel.
Students participating in the five-day winter camp will spend their afterschool hours under the tutelage of Heidi Fredericks, owner and director of Apple Tree Productions. Fredericks started the company in 2012 with Colleen Powers. It provides drama instruction to children and teens through the production of plays, and it exposes students to such realistic theater experiences as working under professional artists. OLY ARTS asked Fredericks why she chose to work with young adults. “I love teaching…and I found that teaching was so much more rewarding for me than performing. I liked the idea of there always being an outlet for the kids here,” she said. She talked about the importance of working with young adults across the South Sound. “We have ongoing mentorship that just keeps going over the years. I really like that part of it. I feel like it makes our community stronger and it keeps the program alive.”
Fredericks is also an actor, director and theater teacher in Olympia. She’s the drama director at Tumwater High School, where Les Misérables will be showcased later this week. But why such an ambitious, sung-through musical for Apple Tree Productions’ first winter camp? The answer is simple, said Fredericks. “The students wanted to do something over the Christmas break…and I (already) knew what they wanted to do.” Neither the students nor the director shied from the challenge. Thus, the Les Misérables workshop began this week.
What: Les Misérables
When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 30-31;
2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31
Where: Tumwater High School,
700 Israel Rd. SE, Tumwater
How much: $5-$8 at the door
Learn more: 360-359-6685 │ Apple Tree Productions