Ask around Fort Worth about Casa Mañana and you’ll hear a slew of raving reviews. If you ask a Fort Worth Native, you might even hear about their second-grade field trip to the magical playhouse venue. Indeed, Casa Mañana is well established as a premiere live theater in Fort Worth’s cultural district. Since 1958, the dome has dazzled viewers with whimsical performances, but in the summer, Casa Mañana is happiest serving and inspiring the next generation of theater artists and technicians through their summer camps. So,while you may just think of Casa Manana as a theater house, the non-profit is deeply rooted in educating children. Monica Bermea, Director of Marketing for Casa Mañana, explains how their passion projects: Camp Casa, Camp Casa Junior, and All Abilities, are not only bringing children to the theater, but building a more confident, capable generation of Fort Worthians.
“The All Abilities Camp is very important to us because the opportunities we offer are otherwise very limited for special-care needs kiddos, so we are very proud that we’ve been able to hold these student's engagement for, up to, 10-15 years,” explains Bermea. Casa Manana holds classes year round at their Casa Manana Studios, located across the parking lot of the dome, but in the summer they host camps: Camp Casa, Camp Casa Junior, and the All Abilities camp. The programs are designed to fit each kid's personal goals and skill requirements, with a vast number of theater specialties to choose from. Camp Casa Junior is the shorter program, but it caters to all ages, the same as Camp Casa. “Camp Casa Junior is typically a week. Students will learn a show or theme, right now we are focusing on Disney villains as well as Madagascar,” says Bermea. The All Abilities camp caters specifically to 7-12 year old students, but their year round program accommodates children of all ages, and they see a lot of retention with these kids. Bermea believes students come back because of Casa Manana’s dedication to individual care, “if they need help with memory, there are different classes that will hone in on bringing out the best in that child, to help them grow individually, however they need.”
To ensure students are able to continue growing with Casa Manana, Bermea explains that the camps must remain accessible to everyone. “We have Title 1 pricing that we work with, all to make sure the door stays open to everyone. We also offer after-school scholarships on the website and those are also available for the camps,” elaborates Bermea, “we see confidence and imagination develop at the theater every day, it brings kids out of their shells…And so we really try to cultivate a better community, where all shapes and sizes and backgrounds can afford this opportunity to come to the theater.”