Julia Motyka (right), director of education at Bay Street Theater, and her summer intern Megan Minutillo (left), are the driving forces behind Bay Street’s expanded education and camp programming this summer. They discussed their backgrounds and some of the exciting options there are for budding thespians on the East End from now until Labor Day.
By Mara Certic
Why did you two decide to get involved with the summer camps at Bay Street this year?
JM: Well this year, Megan and I came on board to kind of help diversify the programming and extend it to a new location and give that a little more focus. I actually came to teaching through performance, I still work primarily as an actress in New York City. I was actually just in “Travesties” at Bay Street, and we just closed that show. I started teaching a bunch of Shakespeare workshops when I was 24. It becomes about wish fulfillment–What do I wish I’d had when I was falling in love with this? I feel like as a performer; it’s incredibly grounding to come back and to teach and to watch the light bulb moment with kids.
MM: I’ve always loved theater. And when it came time to study further, after college, I saw that NYU has a really wonderful educational theater program. And I decided to do that program and it was wonderful, I taught in the city for a bit. This summer, I wanted to do a little bit more of a crossover of the professional and teaching aspects and so I came to Bay Street. I have a real interest in producing and directing as well, and Scott Schwartz has so graciously made me the assistant producer on “Black Out at Bay Street,” our new late night programming.
How does this year differ from last year?
JM: In the past there were generally two or three camps and they were generalized musical theater camps. And what we’ve done this year is diversify from just the Bridgehampton location to Bridgehampton and Southampton. And we’ve also shifted from three to four camps and shifted to a more diverse age group. In the past it was 8 to 12, and now it’s 7 to 9 and 9 to 12. And then in terms of actual programming we have two different tracks; in Bridgehampton we have two Shakespeare-based camps. One for the younger campers is called a “Mini-Midsummer Night’s Dream” and for the older age group is “Green Eggs & Hamlet”—It’s like a Dr. Seuss sort of send-up of the great Bard’s tale. And in Southampton we have two make-your-own-adventure camps. There’s a camp called “Land of Make Believe” which is like a fairytale mash-up and kids get to make their own fractured fairytale over the course of the week. And then there’s “My Life is a Musical” where the kids create their own musical over the course of five days.
“My Life Is a Musical” sounds a little familiar, how did you come up with the idea for that?
JM: The show that’s about to open at Bay Street is called “My Life is a Musical” and we thought it would be really cool this year to take the theme of that show and use it as the structure for the musical theater camp this year. We thought it would be fun to say to the kids, what would happen one morning if you woke up and your life was a musical. It’s basically all songs with a little bit of dialogue, we’re looking at having at least five songs in the 10-to-15 minute production that will be performed to friends and family at the end of the week.
Will you two be teaching the camps?
MM: I like to call us the principals. Julia and I both thought that it’s always nice to have some sort of administrator or figurehead who’s going to be troubleshooting everything that we anticipate, and it’s nice to go to someone with questions: especially when you’re a teacher watching 10 or 15 little people.
JM: We’re sort of trying to offer some programming support as well; the teachers have been given a lot of jumping off points for how to structure their lessons and they’re coming back to us with ideas and questions so we can be a sounding board.
The various weekly Bay Street summer camps begin on Monday, August 4, and will continue until the end of the month. For more information visit baystreet.org.