Theatre has always been the most important thing in my life. I grew up at The Naples Players and have learned so much in my eleven years there. If it wasn’t for all the support I’ve received from everyone at that theatre, I don’t think I would be the actress I am today.
I started out doing musicals, and then transitioned to plays, and then decided to try Shakespeare,” shares Campbell. Currently a Barron Collier High School student, she has been studying and performing at The Naples Players since preschool. Campbell has been seen in Coney Island Christmas as Young Shirley, Les Misérables as Young Cosette, Sister Act as Sister Mary Theresa, and CATS as Demeter. “Shakespeare had the ability to take a concept and write it in the most eloquent way. I think it’s important for someone of my generation to understand Shakespeare, and I have just the most fun performing these special works of art,” continues Campbell.
Kylie attests her success to her training and development with The Naples Players KidzAct youth theatre program. “She really loves the craft, learning the techniques of acting, and has been very hungry to learn by taking every class and becoming involved in all different scopes of work and productions offered at The Naples Player,” shares Associate Artistic Director Jessica Walck who has been instrumental in her arts development over the years.
Debbie Campbell, Kylie’s mother, has been impressed with her daughter’s theatre interest since such a young age sharing, “She’s had a passion for performing ever since she was very little, and she’s just always known that she’s wanted to be an actress. It’s amazing to see her find new aspects of theatre that she loves. Her father and I are so very proud of her.”
Naples Players Director John McKerrow, has been an ESU Naples-based competition judge for about 8 years and shares, “The students seem to get better and better. That is a testament to Kylie’s great win and to our local teachers and school system. This is a wonderful opportunity for Kylie and I am so proud of her.”
As the first place finisher, Campbell receives $500, The Riverside Shakespeare Complete Works, an ESU First Place trophy, and an all-expense paid trip to New York City to compete in the National competition and free coaching. At the ESU National Competition, she will be sequestered with approximately 65 students who have won their local ESU branch competitions from around the country. They will attend a show together, participate in educational activities, and then perform on The Lincoln Center stage. “It is truly an experience she will never forget.” continues McKerrow.
The Naples Players offers specialized Shakespearean training for children, which culminates in an annual children’s production, which follows the adult Shakespeare on the Plaza production. “One of our greatest assets that our Shakespeare program gives out young students is the opportunity to work with the area’s foremost Shakespeare experts.” shares Craig Price, The Naples Players Director of Education. Price continues, “Bryce Alexander directed the children’s production
of The Taming of the Shrew last year, in which Kylie performed as Petruchio and this year she is involved in the adult Shakespeare production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Each year, more than 20,000 high school students participate in the English in Action National Shakespeare Competition at the school, regional and national levels through the help of more than 2,500 teachers and 55 ESU branches nationwide. As part of the competition, students perform a monologue and recite a sonnet from Shakespeare and are judged on their understanding of their selected texts and on their ability to communicate their interpretation to the audience.
Through this school based program, students in grades 9 – 12 develop critical thinking and speaking skills and increase their
self-confidence through performance of Shakespeare’s work. Since 1983, the English-Speaking Union has given more than 300,000 students of all backgrounds the opportunity to bring the timeless works of Shakespeare to life and to learn to express his words with understanding, feeling and clarity. The competition has been recognized by the Globe Center, the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America and the American Academy of Achievement.
The Naples Players Sugden Community Theatre is Naples oldest and premier theatre and a vital part of the exciting experience of Downtown Naples. As one of the top theatres in the country, The Naples Players is celebrating its 65th season by offering a variety of plays and musicals in three performance spaces: Blackburn Hall, the Tobye Studio Theater, and the outdoor Baker Stage – all located in one building on 5th Avenue South.
KidzAct, Southwest Florida’s premier youth theatre program, offers top quality productions as well as in-depth skills classes for children. Adult education classes are offered throughout the year for first-time performers to skilled professionals. Readers Theatre offers an opportunity to hear new works as well as rare one acts and classics. The Naples Players continually seeks to enrich, educate, and entertain the community through a superior theatre experience. The Naples Players is inspiring passion for the performing arts through lifelong opportunities to participate in vibrant theatrical experiences.
The KidzAct Shakespeare on the Plaza free production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs Saturday, April 13th at 11:00 a.m. and Sunday, April 14th at 6:00 p.m. outside on The Baker Stage in Sugden Plaza. All performances are free, and no tickets are required.
The 65th Anniversary Season, generously sponsored by Tanya and Denny Glass, is filled with dazzling musicals including Guys & Dolls – alongside heartfelt comedies, Always a Bridesmaid, and classics like Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers.