Have you ever had 500 eyes focused on you as you’ve spoken a line? (That’s 250 people, by the way). Been a member of a chorus? Perhaps a backstage hand? Maybe you’ve enjoyed sitting among the crowd but have always wondered what it would be like to perform on stage. The Pemi community is one of the most supportive audiences you’ll ever find, and with numerous opportunities for you to continue, or develop, an interest in drama, you’ll add a fun dimension to your summer.
Gilbert & Sullivan operetta
The most ambitious production we mount is our annual Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, with two evening performances in the final week of each season and involving more than fifty campers and staff in the various leads, choruses, and production crews. We mount the following operettas in sequential years:
- The Mikado (our 2015 production. Read a review of the 2015 performance)
- H. M. S. Pinafore (read a review of the 2018 performance)
- Iolanthe (read a review of the 2017 performance)
- The Pirates of Penzance (read a review of the 2016 performance)
Once you’ve taken part in one of the shows, you’re likely to want to continue the fun in every subsequent summer. Veterans always welcome new members to the cast, and Pemi’s supportive environment gives even the shyest aspiring actors and singers the confidence to perform in front of an audience. More than a few Pemi alumni – a Hollywood casting director and a recent graduate of Yale Drama School among them – have gotten their starts in this wonderful yearly tradition.
Every Saturday night, the entire camp community gathers at the campfire circle at the Senior beach for an hour’s entertainment, featuring not only solo and group singing and the recitation of poems and stories but also original skits, conceived, scripted, and acted by the boys themselves. For years now, some of the most popular acts have involved comedy improv, and we regularly offer a morning occupation in which you can hone your talent for spontaneous lunacy under the watchful eye of experienced staff. As with so many other things at Pemi, it’s customary to see a ten-year-old developing an imaginary scenario with a fifteen-year old, the whole camp community sitting back with wide eyes and broad smiles.
Find the campfire circle on our interactive map, click the marker, and enjoy the sights and sounds of a Pemi campfire.
Twice a summer, old-time vaudeville shows provide yet another venue for dramatic acts, interspersed with a huge variety of musical presentations. As with the campfires, boys are encouraged to handle all aspects of the performance themselves, but cabin counselors and other staff are always there to help them with any aspect of the presentation.
Finally, the Fourth of July “Pee-rade” is a Pemi tradition that stretches back for close to a century. Every cabin in camp devises a “float,” which customarily ends up being a little drama-on-the-fly presented in front of the judge’s stand in competition for a lavish prize of Skittles or Jolly Ranchers. Themes range from American and Pemi history to the latest current events – whatever fires the imagination of the boys and staff in each individual cabin – and the event is unique in that every member of each cabin plays a part. On a day when we all celebrate the great common endeavor that is our country, it’s not only a fun but also a highly symbolic activity, enjoyed by all. Enjoy this 1-minute video of Senior 3’s creative Stomp-inspired rendition of daily inspection.
From the experienced high-school actor to the tiniest Junior wondering what it is like to hold the attention of 250 people, Pemi offers multiple opportunities to strut the boards. You might not end up on Broadway, but more than a few campers leave every year suspecting that if they can make it here, they can make it anywhere. That’s what we’re all about.
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