This photos shows Perseverance Theatre. The theater’s annual summer youth program, Summer Theatre Arts Rendezvous, is scheduled for July 19-Friday Aug. 4. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

This photos shows Perseverance Theatre. The theater’s annual summer youth program, Summer Theatre Arts Rendezvous, is scheduled for July 19-Friday Aug. 4. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

A STAR is re-born: Perseverance Theatre gears up for new take on annual summer youth program

Registration is open.

The stage is set for Perseverance Theatre’s annual theater arts summer program.

Registration is open for Summer Theatre Arts Rendezvous, which is scheduled to take place 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday, from July 19 to Aug. 4. While some details of STAR are still being finalized, Perseverance Theatre artistic director Leslie Ishii said STAR will include opportunities for young writers, actors, musicians, artists with a flair for design or visual arts and youths who may be interested in the behind-the-scenes work that brings an effort to the stage.

“We’re excited to include everybody,” Ishii said in a video interview. “It takes a whole ensemble to bring forth the creativity.”

Rio Alberto, who will be overseeign STAR and has worked with the theater on multiple past projects, joined Ishii for the interview.

This year, STAR will be open to youths as both an in-person and virtual event. The virtual version is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. on weekdays. Registration for the virtual version is $150 compared to $300 for in-person STAR, according to the Perseverance Theatre

[11 ‘very brave’ performers take on ‘White Rabbit Red Rabbit’]

More information and registration and available scholarships can be found through https://www.ptalaska.org/star2021/.

Alberto said that decision helps open up the program to the entire state and ensures it’s available to youths regardless of how ready they are to get back to working in close spaces with other people.

“It really is just about making sure that as we ‘reopen’ and return to our community that we’re meeting people where they’re at,” Alberto said.

This year’s iteration of STAR is open to youths 12 and up in light of the federal Food and Drug Administration OKing COVID-19 vaccination for people 12 and up.

Ishii said while STAR personnel will be fully vaccinated, being vaccinated is encouraged but not required for youth participants. Rio and Ishii said other mitigation measures will be followed during in-door portions of the program. That means distancing, masks and some time spent outdoors are parts of the plan.

“We’re really looking forward to sessions where we can be outside,” Ishii said. She said outdoor sessions may include making use of theater managing director Frank Delaney’s background as a certified fight coordinator to create sort of epic group battle.

Ishii noted lightsabers are a social-distancing-friendly weapon and said that the brainstorm is still alive.

The program will also include building more “classical” skills such as movement, vocals and choreography as well as expanding what participants perceive storytelling to be, Alberto said. Teaching artists will also be available to help mentor the young artists.

Ishii emphasized that the program is student-driven and students’ experiences will be shaped by their individual interests and talents. STAR will conclude with an artists showcase at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 4. The showcase will be both an in-person and livestreamed event.

“We’re hoping that this coming together will show us what our students love, what they need, what they find joy in,” Ishii said.

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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