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Theater Camp At Home

Even though you may not be able to get together with a group of friends this summer you can still build your skills as a performer and have fun doing it.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa we’re going to the theater. The Des Moines Community Playhouse hosts summer camps every year, usually inviting young people into the playhouse to act, sing, dance, laugh and learn. This summer their camps have gone virtual. The first week of camp is underway, but there’s still time for you to get involved in the coming weeks. They’ve also agreed to bring theater camp to today’s show.

What does it mean?

Improvise; verb, to make, invent or arrange offhand.

Musical; noun, a film or theatrical production typically of sentimental or humorous nature that consists of musical numbers and dialogue based on a unifying plot.

Prop; noun, something used in creating or enhancing a desired effect.

Script; noun, the written text of a stage play, screenplay, or broadcast used in production or performance.    

Games to play at home!

Tell That Story:  We’ll word associate with each other. When one response sounds interesting, I’ll say Tell That Story to the person.

I Have A Pen:

Person A: I have an (object).

Person B: I have a problem: (describe problem not associated with pen).

Person A: Oh! I can use (object) to _________ (solve problem).

The Secret Suitcase: Place one object inside a plastic suitcase. Pass the suitcase around so everyone feels the weight, and then start with some high-level questioning.

What can you use it for?

What material is it made of?

You use the answers to put a show together and think of a different use for the object inside the suitcase making it a prop.


  • Robin Spahr, education director for the Des Moines Community Playhouse 
  • Joe Van Haecke, improv teacher for the Des Moines Community Playhouse 
  • Robin Fulton, master teacher for the Des Moines Community Playhouse 

Summer may be a little different this year, but it's still a wonderful time for learning and adventure. Welcome to Talk of Iowa Summer Camp! Every Tuesday all summer long you can join us for "Talk of Iowa" episodes that will be fun and educational for learners of all ages. 

Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa