ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — OFC Creations Theatre opened a new center that will be home to the largest summer theatre experience of Western New York. Children will be singing, dancing and acting under strict safety precautions this year due to COVID-19.
Not only is it the largest summer theater camp in Western New York, but owners also had to overcome the difficulties that came with opening during a pandemic to bring this new theater to families in Brighton.
“My daughter actually has cerebral palsy and she was welcomed with open arms into this camp, and it gives her an outlet like she’s never had,” said Dresden Engle, whose 13 year old daughter participates at the camp.
Engle’s daughter is one of the 350 children learning, singing, dancing and acting at the summer camp. It’s run through OFC Creations Threatre Center, which is celebrating the opening of the new space — a 260 seat theatre center which leaders were able to secure even with COVID-19.
“When COVID hit, how are we going to keep doing this? We already started, so might as well keep going. I think it kept us sane during the lockdown to have paint and do the little things we could do along the way, and as soon as we got the clearance for summer camp it was full steam ahead,” said Eric Johnson, executive director OFC Creations Threatre Center.
Children coming to the camp must fill out health forms, do temperature checks, and wear a face mask at all times.
What’s new this year is that instead of one large performance, groups are made up of 10 children and the theater has a ‘Fun and safety plan’ clearly laid out, that parents say bring them peace of mind.
“If you sing a song at OFC, you have to wear a shield and a face mask. It might look a little interesting on video to see our kids singing and dancing all masked up, but we know they are safe and having the time of their lives,” said Engle.
For now, performances held here will be filmed for parents to watch, but the owners are hoping to open up the center as soon as possible to other organizations so they can utilize the new space.