Recently, in response to the pandemic and in the best interests of the community, the Garfield Center for the Arts temporarily cancelled both Playmakers and Musicmakers for this summer. The GCA’s summer theatre camps have a long and distinguished history of providing excellent youth education opportunities for the community and the GCA’s resolve to bring them back next summer in their traditional form is firmly in place.

With a strong desire to continue the outstanding tradition of Playmakers in some fashion for this summer, the Garfield Center is excited to announce its online Playmakers Virtual Summer Camp, for ages 8 through 16, that will run for three weeks starting July 27. True to the tradition of Playmakers, the camp will culminate in a final production performance, an original piece created by the campers with guidance from the teaching staff, that will be streamed online on the weekend of August 14.

The camp will offer participants a variety of theatre learning skill sessions, with a strong emphasis on acting, character performance, character development and creating dialogue. Also, there will be design and theatre craft sessions that may include props design, costuming, elements of scene design, puppetry and stage makeup design. All learning sessions will take a ‘fun through activity’ approach to developing theatre skills, and the skills can then be applied by participants in creating the story, characters, dialogue and facets of design for the final presentation.

In years past, the traditional daily schedule for Playmakers was 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM with campers simultaneously working in separate spaces based on age groupings. The online camp will have the same overall daily hours, but it will be utilizing a time block schedule to engage different age groups at different times. The time blocks will more successfully allow instructors to keep each age group focused on tasks, engaged and interested at their own level. Younger kids will participate in the earlier session, there will be a period of full-group crossover in between to work together on production development, and the older kids will then move into the early afternoon session. A more detailed schedule will be designed and given to registrants once the age disposition of the entire group is known.

Producing this summer’s online Playmakers is GCA Executive Director Steven Arnold, GCA Education Coordinator Paul Cambardella and Melissa Paolercio. Melissa is the Executive Director of Center for the Creative Arts in Yorklyn, DE. She has been managing non-profit arts organizations for over 10 years. Melissa is a passionate theater artist who holds a B.F.A. in Acting from Arcadia University and a M.F.A. in Theater Management from Yale School of Drama (YSD). While at YSD, Melissa served as the Producing Director of the Dwight Edgewood Program, a youth playwriting initiative that allowed New Haven students to debut world premiere short plays each summer. Professionally she has managed non-profit regional theaters in Bristol, Philadelphia, Ambler, and Wilmington.

Registration for our Playmakers Virtual Summer Camp will begin on June 15 and can be done online at Anyone who had already paid for Playmakers and wishes to transfer that registration fee to the new online camp, and for any other general inquiries about the virtual camp, contact GCA’s Education Outreach and Playmakers instructor Paul Cambardella at The Garfield Center for the Arts can be found online at



Youth programming is supported in part by funding from: 

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