Act One Day Camp

Central Park Players (CPP) youth theatre day camp, Act One!, is a place where young people ages 5-13 years can express themselves creatively and develop interpersonal communication skills.

Our youth theatre has had a major impact on the lives of young people. It challenges them to open their minds, explore various worlds through scripts and scores of music, diverse characters and be able to tell a story in a variety of ways—through spoken words, song, mime, image… and the list goes on!

Every summer, Act One! is held at Central Park Place.

Meet Our Instructors

Lena Arnold has been on stage with Central Park Players, Muskegon Civic Theatre, and The Playhouse at White Lake (formerly Howmet Playhouse) since 2004, and she served as an intern for the Rising Stars Day Camp it’s very first year. Her partner, Kristopher, is also a performer in the area, and their 1 year old son, Harvey Fox has already attended many rehearsals and workshops with theatre groups in the area.

Lena is a Y5-12 Art Teacher at GHAPS. She teaches at Ferry Voyager School as well as at Central High School. She studied art and education at Central Michigan University with a focus in painting, ceramics, and secondary education. She has her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and her Bachelor of Science in Visual Arts Education. 

She is thrilled to be introducing the magic of theatre to all of the new and returning campers this year.

Muskegon native Claire Root Benson graduated from Mona Shores High School and then St. Olaf College in Minnesota, with a music degree in Vocal Performance. After a formative year teaching English in South Korea, Claire and her husband wanted to return to their hometown. Being intentional about her goal to become a professional who works toward an equitable greater Muskegon is something that has come to define her. 

She currently serves as the president of the Board of Directors for Muskegon Civic Theatre; on the governing board of her faith community in Muskegon Heights; and as a member of the DEI subcommittee of Muskegon Rotary Club. 

Her career has walked a line between the arts and social services, serving various roles in West Michigan nonprofits. Currently, she is grateful to wear both of those hats, as the Executive Director of the Poppen Programs, Inc., including the Nancy K. Poppen program for arts studies for students at Muskegon Public Schools, as well as the Sherman R. Poppen college scholarship program. She also advises the Muskegon High School Rotary Interact Club and loves inspiring the next generation to give back. 

Her husband Derek is a Medicaid Eligibility Specialist for Tanglewood Park; they have a son, Rory, a daughter Cora, a sassy orange cat, two cranky guinea pigs, and the sweetest Boxer puppy.

Samantha Portice is a Deaf and Hard of Hearing elementary teacher with the Muskegon Area ISD. She studied Early Childhood Education at Michigan State University with a minor in Dance and is currently pursuing a Masters in Deaf Education.

She also teaches dance at Lakeshore Academy of the Arts. This past year she began working with the competitive team at Lakeshore and traveled to multiple competitions with the group, winning multiple first place overall and most entertaining accolades for her musical theatre group routine.

Sam loves spending time in the theater both choreographing and performing for musicals and dance.

Act One! exists to:

  • Expose children to the theatre
  • Create opportunities to form lasting friendships
  • Grow teamwork and communication skills
  • Engage young actors in the arts
  • Spark creativity and joy

Additionally, Act One! Participants use skills that can be used in their everyday lives!

How do participants benefit?

  • Reading and reciting from scripts: develops literacy skills.
  • Working with theatre professionals: develops listening skills.
  • Performing in front of an audience and practicing for an audition: develops research and preparation skills.
  • Performing in front of their peers: develop self-confidence and appreciation of one-another’s talents.
  • Being cast in a particular role: develops acceptance of their achievements with grace.
  • Learning stage direction and choreography: develops hand/eye coordination.
  • Meeting deadlines for learning lines: develops project and time management skills.
  • Experiencing “when something goes wrong onstage (which it inevitably does in theatre): develops abilities to manage the unexpected and how to proceed with positivity in a fast and effective way.
  • Working behind the scenes and on stage: develops ability to grasp the bigger picture and appreciate all the elements of a production.
  • Students learn what it means to give the community a source of pride via their achievements.