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Neverland Theater Company summer camp ready to stage

// ‘The Sword in the Stone’ Opening night in Friday, July 28 at 7 p.m.

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The sets have been built, costumes fitted and dance numbers all choreographed for opening night of “The Sword in the Stone,” Friday, July 28, 7 p.m. at Columbia Junior High’s Performing Arts Center. The culminating event of The Neverland Theater Company’s summer camp experience, “The Sword in the Stone” promises to be highly entertaining, and affordable, for all ages. It continues throughout the weekend on Saturday, July 29 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, July 30 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the door.
More students turned out for this year’s theater camp than ever before, resulting in 68 young learners doing something productive and fun during four weeks of their summer break from school. Ages range from 8 to 18 years old from local area school districts and one student from Idaho who is taking part in the camp while visiting with family in our state.
“We have a lot of new kids this year, which is very exciting, and a lot of younger ones,” said Emily Rathburn who, with her sister sidekick Hayley Rathburn, run Neverland Theater Camp every summer. To say the Rathburn sisters are gifted in what they do is an understatement, as both young women truly have a knack for connecting with students to bring out the best in them that can be. The duo is also very well versed in theater arts, with both having been involved in Fife Schools’ drama program going back to when they were in elementary school.
“It’s growing so much every year, and this year we had to put a cap on it because we were full,” Hayley said.
With many updated, hilarious twists and catchy songs penned by longtime Fife drama teachers Dave and Teresa Hockman, this version of “The Sword in the Stone” remains the medieval story that generations have known and loved but with surprises that make for a memorable night of theater.   
Audience members will meet the classic characters so known and loved, like King Arthur and Merlin the wizard, and encounter new ones such as Arthur’s wicked sister Morgan LeFay, devious witches, bumbling knights, noble kings and silly princesses in training.
“The main villain is actually Arthur's sister, Morgan LeFay, who wants to get rid of him to claim power of the kingdom,” Hayley explained. “There's an etiquette school for princesses, a rogue group of ruffians called Saxons, and all the sword-fighting excitement you can handle!”
As an interesting side note, Aradia Webb, who plays Morgan LeFay, had a small part in “The Sword in the Stone” as her first summer show 10 years ago. Now that she’s 18 and graduated from Fife High School, her appearance in this production of the play will be her last, so it’s fitting that she should be granted a major part in the play.
“It’s a cool, full circle thing and shows the younger students that they can look forward to different opportunities in the program,” Hayley said.  
A live band led by Music Director Karl Sorsensen will accompany the actors – guitar, drums, sax and bass making for a nice, full sound amid the song and dance numbers.
Be sure and bring some pocket cash for concessions – hot dogs, popcorn, coookies and more – and special roses audience members can purchase and add a note to for that special actor you want to send good wishes to. All funds go back into the Neverland Theater Company’s summer camp program. Learn more at