As J’Mya Smith contemplated the power of theater, she thought about the diverging interpretations that might emerge when two people take turns playing a single character.

“Even though they play the same role, there’s a different perspective because they’re doing it a different way,” said J’Mya, who’s 14 and heading into ninth grade next year.

J’Mya is participating in a theater summer camp at The Arts & Science Center of Southeast Arkansas, in Pine Bluff, and she’s fascinated by the way a single part can tap various chords in various people. She’s also pleased by the way the lighting, the fly system, the stage backdrop and other elements of a production can harmonize to make something creative, something whole.

The way J’Mya sees a panoply of parts and emotions emerging – and also uniting – in a theater project encapsulates, in a way, the hopes of the people involved in the Arts & Science Center’s vastly expanded summer camp of 2018. They hope to see children tap all sorts of different strengths as they unite to create a public production.

“This is our very first time for expanding our summer camp to be a junior play production,” said Leonor Colbert, public programs coordinator for The Arts & Science Center of Southeast Arkansas. “It’s not just five days of doing theater exercise. We’re actually putting on a junior play.”

Preparing for the public

That play is a kind of double-feature for the public is slated for 2 p.m. on July 13 and July 14, with students performing “It’s Not Ugly...It’s Art!” by Gary Ray Stapp and “Peggy the Pint-Sized Pirate,” by D. M. Larson. Regular tickets are $12, with students paying $8 and parties of five or more paying $5 a ticket. Those performances will be the product of the center’s four-week camp – a dramatic expansion, as Colbert said, of the camps in past summers that only lasted a few days.

Colbert said the center expanded the program