In next week's production of "I Got This!," the kids enrolled in the Liberty Theatre's summer camp are doing something new this year.
In years past, the children participated in skits and song-and-dance numbers they learned over the six-week program.
This year, they're taking part in a real theater experience. Those who don't want to be on stage, have designed the sets and lights and chosen costumes.
In all, 60 students are in the summer camp. Jonathan Perkins, the theater's new executive director, wanted the students interacting more with the seven teen counselors and five teachers, who teach music, dance and theater. In the past, hundreds of students roamed the halls of the theater.
Perkins, along with Chiara Richardson, Megan Dickens and Taryn Plunkett, wrote the three-part production.
The first part is an adaptation of "The Three Little Pigs," written for the 5-7-year-olds by Richardson. Dickens and Plunkett wrote "I Got This!," which takes on fairy tales, and Perkins' play is called "Exhibit A," which is a take on "A Night at the Museum." In it, students meet characters from history.
Because it's his first summer camp as the administrator, Perkins wanted the smaller number of students enrolled.
"It's a very manageable number," he said. "I know all of the kids' names and I know their parents when they come to pick them up."
Last week, Plunkett said she'd been working with the students for two weeks.
"They learn so fast and pick up on everything," she said. Plunkett and Dickens worked together, writing the script before camp started. After "casting" the show, they worked with the students on the choreography for "I Got This!"
Richardson, a Muscogee County elementary school teacher, is working with the "little ones," the 5-7-year-old group this summer.
"I always have the little ones," she said. "At school, I have the little babies; here I have the little babies. But they are precious."
One of her little ones, Lily Anderson, 5, a rising first grader at Pinehurst Elementary School, said she's having fun.
"It's good," Lily said of camp. "It's awesome. We do a lot of fun stuff."
Seven-year-old twins Zarifa and Malika Dobson, who are rising second graders from Fort Mitchell, said they're having "so much fun" this summer.
T'Anna Smith, 8, a rising second-grader at Downtown Elementary School, has been coming to the Liberty Theatre camp for two years. The activities she likes best are art and African dance.
"I'll come every year," she vowed.
The theater camp is not just for girls, though they vastly outnumber the boys.
One of them, Austin Baker, 11, said it's a new experience for him. The rising sixth grader at Arnold Middle School, said he'll be back next year.
"I've learned never to say 'I can't,'" he said. "I just try."
Schae Morton, 11, a rising fifth-grader at Edgewood Elementary School, said it's her first summer camp and she's loving it.
"It's a place where you learn dance, music and art," Schae said. "I've learned to project my voice. I've learned so much. It's like a party."
Not all the campers are in the musical.
Jessica Roberts, 9, a rising fourth-grader at Mathews Elementary School, is concentrating on acting this year.
In her fifth year at the Liberty, she said "I actually have fun here. My favorite part is the dancing. No one here will start laughing at you."