The 2023 Playmakers kids have been working very hard on their production of “The Hobbit,” a dramatization authorized by J.R.R. Tolkien and adapted by Patricia Gray. The production runs for one weekend only on Friday and Saturday, August 4 and 5, at 7:00 PM, and Sunday, August 6 at 2:00 PM. The performances are free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5.00 or more to the Garfield Center to help sustain their yearly Playmakers program.
It’s unusual for a modern work to become a classic so quickly, but Tolkien’s “ring” stories, which began with The Hobbit, clearly are in this very special category. They stir the imagination and intellect of everyone they touch. Bilbo, one of the most conservative of all Hobbits, is asked to leave his large, roomy and very dry home in the ground in order to set off as chief robber in an attempt to recover an important treasure. It’s the last thing that any sensitive Hobbit would want to do, but great benefit eventually results—not only for Bilbo but for all of the Hobbits who inhabit Middle Earth. It’s a charming, magical, occasionally dramatic but mostly lighthearted story, and it will provide a splendid opportunity for the Playmakers kids to create a challenging world inhabited by endearing characters.
Directing this year’s camp is Kaitlyn Wright. She is currently a Theater Arts and 7th grade English/Language Arts teacher at Kent County Middle School. She brings with her over a decade of experience in education, earning her Bachelor’s degree in English at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA, and her Masters in Educational Leadership and Administration at Salisbury University. Over the years in the classroom, she has infused her ELA curriculum with the study of drama, inviting her middle and high school students to perform and explore works spanning various genres including including titles such as the science-fiction teleplay “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street,” Shakespeare’s tragedy “Romeo and Juliet,” and H.G. Well’s radio classic “The War of the Worlds.” She directed her first middle School production, “The Big Bad Musical,” at Salisbury Middle School in 2017 and was very proud to direct Kent County Middle School’s production of “A Christmas Carol” this last December and “The Wizard of Oz” this year.
Kaitlyn has been working with an excellent staff of dedicated counselors and interns this year. Michael Tolbert, the GCA’s staff Theatre Assistant, is the camp’s Chief Counselor and the production’s Assistant Director. Other counselors include long-time GCA volunteers Tia Glomb, Avalon Robuck and Kathy Carter. Camp interns are Connor Christopher and Mariner Schut.
The Playmakers participants this year, and the role they will be playing in “The Hobbit” are Julianne Blevins as Gollum, Sydney J Bortz as Gandalf the Grey, Bailey Bortz as Tom the Cruel, Everett Brownley as Bilbo Baggins, Avery Brownley as Hobbit Neighbor 2 and Second Elf, Grady Glenn as The Voice of Smaug and Hobbit Neighbor 3, Giosue Greenwell as Grocery Boy and Third Elf, Madi Hopwood as Bofur the Wise, Emy Karlik as Essie the Ruthless, Peter Karlik as Goblin Soldier, Clover King as Kili the Twin, Mia Lee as Bifur the Young, Bryan Mann as Dwalin the Loyal, Henry Mann as Attendant Goblin, Amelia Ritchie as The Elven Queen, Natalie Ritchie as Bombur the Jolly, Will Ritchie as Great Goblin Leader, Angus Roberson as Bert the Brutish, Olivia Schofield-Methven as Fili the Twin. Stella Sullivan as Thorin the Heir and Leader, Charlotte Towne as Balin the Elder. Ayla Wilson as Old Bilbo, and Evangeline Wood as Hobbit Neighbor 1 and First Elf
Other production staff includes Technical Director Butch Clarke, poster artist and designer Sydney Bortz (a Playmakers participant), headshot photographer Tia Glomb, with Playbill Program by Francoise Sullivan and digital backgrounds and animations by Steven Arnold.
Once again, there is no charge to attend “The Hobbit.” Anyone interested in attending the show should just arrive at the Garfield Center starting a half-hour before showtime. Suggested donations of $5.00 or more will be accepted at the door. All donations go back into the GCA’s Playmakers program.
For more about the Garfield Center for the Arts, go here.