MATTHEWS – Since launching in the 1990s, thousands of children of all ages and backgrounds in the Charlotte region have benefited from the summer camps at Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts. 

For the first time in its 25-plus year history, the theater is offering rising fourth through eighth-graders a special opportunity to adapt a children’s book into an original play that will be produced as part of its 2022-23 Mainstage Season.

Children’s book author, Lakeetha Blakeney (also known as Keetha B.), will lead students in this new intensive camp during the week of July 18 to 22 as they bring “Princess Fearless: The Play” to life on stage. 

The original play will be based on her first book, “Princess Fearless: Walking to School,” a story about fourth-grade student Louise “Lou” Carter, who must overcome her fears, so she may participate in her school field trip. Students will also work on developing their acting skills as they rehearse scenes to be performed at the end of the week.

Blakeney, an accomplished actor, director, and theatre educator, says Lou is loosely based on her own childhood story and the fears she had to overcome. 

“I was afraid a lot as a child for various reasons, and I grew into an adult that was also afraid. I was often paralyzed by my fear,” she says. “I want to encourage children and adults to always be fearless. By that, I mean that even if you are afraid, try new things anyway.”

A native of Concord, Keetha B. is the founder and artistic director of Redeeming History Productions, a production company creating work that celebrates the marginalized global majority. Keetha B. is a theatre teaching artist and has been working with K-12 students for over 15 years and strives to create space for all who wish to learn the craft of acting. Her play, “Sweet Jenn,” won Best Original Script at the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, and it will premier as a short film in 2023.

“Princess Fearless: The Play” Summer Day Camp is accepting enrollments and will take place July 18 to 22, at Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts. Space is limited, so parents are encouraged to register early. To learn more about Summer Camps at Matthews Playhouse, visit www.matthewsplayhouse.com/summercamp22. “Princess Fearless: The Play” will be performed from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2 as part of the Matthews Playhouse 2022-23 season.  

On the web: www.keethab.com 

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