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Circle Theatre welcomes 37 campers in summer production

The Yellow Brick Road led to Barnwell County this past weekend when The Circle Theatre campers held their summer production.


The Circle Theatre summer camp production of The Wizard of Oz brought many new faces to the Academy Street stage. 

With a record-breaking 37 participants, campers and directors worked together during the whirlwind week of June 16 to put on the sold out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday shows. 

The opening night show came with a view fitting for the nearing rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” as a double rainbow appeared over the theatre serving as both a good omen and an uncanny coincidence. 

Last year’s production of Into the Woods Jr. had 24 participants and was such a hit, many of the campers came back this year and brought a friend. 

This is 10-year-old Sydney Jackson’s second year at the camp, and her friend Eliana Cruikshank’s first year. 

“She did it, and they were talking about how fun it was, so I thought, ‘You know what, this seems like fun, I’m going to try it,’” said Cruikshank, who is also 10. “It already is really fun!”

Caitlin Bell was excited to be cast as one of the show’s iconic roles, Toto. This is the nine-year-old’s third year at camp, and so far she is enjoying the show. 

This year, the youngest camper to hit the stage was 5 years old acting alongside their oldest at 16 years old. 

Director Kimberly Sanchelli is excited to share this classic show with the next generation, and is looking forward to the parents seeing their children reenact a familiar tale. 

With the increased number of campers, Sanchelli decided to double cast. 

“We wanted to give all the kids more opportunities than just being on the stage one time, so they’re playing multiple roles,” she said. 

This leads to a lot of prop and costume changes, as well as ample practicing to ensure everyone had time to learn their multiple roles. 

On the last full day of practice before the Friday night show, Jackson was looking forward to having fun and being confident on stage as a Munchkin and during the Jitterbug dance. 

Cruikshank is also playing multiple roles as a Munchkin, a Winkie Guard Leader, and performs in the Jitterbug dance. She also simulates the tornado with ribbons. 

Another first-time camper is nine-year-old Annabelle Lowry, who is playing a member of the Winkie Guard, a Munchkin, features as a cat, and says the iconic line, “Follow the yellow brick road!” 

“I kind of just have it in my mind,” said Lowry of her multiple roles. 

She was looking forward to the dance routines, the costumes, and having fun on stage. 

The cast of Circle Theatre's production of "The Wizard of Oz" included Kiera Asmus, Sydney Asmus, Caitlyn Bell, Eliana Cruikshank, Neo Culp, Aviana Derisma, Olivia Derisma, Zehra Godhrawala, Shelby Jackson, Sydney Jackson, Sanaa Jenkins, Bryson Jones, Olivia Kaney, Summer Long, Annabelle Lowry, Noah Hutson, Avery Lowry, Hunter Phalen, Jasper Purewal-Fisk, Rayna Pureway-Fisk, Alexander Scully, Abigail Smith, Isabelle Snead, Rachel Stanbrook, Hartlyn Still, Brinkley Taylor, Alyssa Tedder, Stanzi Tolbert, Sylvaneas Tolbert, Freedom White, Charlee Wix, Chloe Wix, Anna Yates, Elizabeth Yates, and Reagan Lowry.