Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Charles River Tent Flaps: 1972

[“CHARLES RIVER TENT FLAPS – THE FIRST TEN YEARS” is made up of interviews with past and present staff members and campers of the Charles River Creative Arts Program of Dover, Massachusetts and of articles from The Daily Double.” -from “Tent Flaps”, published for the CRCAP tenth-anniversary celebration, summer 1979 (David Downing, editor). We begin as CRCAP begins to get noticed …]



The summer of the infamous sleep-overs…the Playwriting Contest yields PRIDE OF THE YUKON…Peter Dewey is transformed into Mick Jagger…


After the tennis bubble deflated, they used the tennis court the way it was. In 1972, they added another tennis court and put that whole thing together with the swimming pool.”

‘I couldn’t believe it last August when the tent blew down after making it all through summer. What a disaster,’ said Meg Vaillencourt of Westwood, who was a member of the cast of the Charles River School Creative Arts Program musical version of PETER PAN…

On weekends during February and March the young people in the cast have been touring with the show, to raise funds for a new tent for the 1972 summer theatre in Dover.” -Westwood Press 3/29/72

They also did a videotape of it for Channel 5 which they still show on JABBERWOCKY.”

I always know when they show the videotapes of PETER PAN and RIP’S NEW WRINKLE. I get fifty calls that day from people wanting to get their kids in here. The PR is built right into it, Eric Matthies and Sheryl Stevens saying, ‘Come to Charles River!’”

Hank Sparks designed the new Festival Theatre which was where the stage is now. Elsom rented it to outside theatre groups. The first was actually OLIVER! Which Elsom directed. Anne Matthies was Nancy, Tom Scott was Bill Sikes, Frank Foster was Oliver. I got the pit together: Paulette Bowes, Bob Johnson, Margaret Johnson, Ron Haroutunian, Anita Asher. Bill Maxwell played the piano. Elsom asked me to head the Music Department. I had to hire people who could teach and also double as the pit for the shows. We worked very hard. The Music Department, Technical Theatre, and Make-up were involved in Festival Theatre. Everyone else would go home after camp. We would stay, eat dinner, then go rehearse. We also played the camp shows, KING ARTHUR’S KNIGHTS AND DAZE and RIP’S NEW WRINKLE.”

I was here a lot the first two years but just writing musicals. The third year, I wrote PR for Elsom. I wrote about three press releases every week and a syndicated column for about 22 papers on the arts. I interviewed people like Walter Kerr, Stephen Sondheim, Billy Friedkin. Always at the end it was tied in: ‘You too can be a Billy Friedkin! You can come to Charles River and make your own films just like he does!’ I did columns on some of the kids who came to camp, Dana Berger and Frank Foster. I also wrote about the boys choir and the shows Elsom paid to perform here.”

We thought it would be great to have smoke coming out of the stage when Guenevere was burning so I drilled four holws in the stage and Katy Hutchins and I [Anne Matthies] sat there and blew cigarette smoke through the holes. Of course, you couldn’t see it at all from the audience. It was really funny because Katy and I were trying to give up smoking.”





That Performing Telephone rang all the time. It was in a little room upstairs. But it got lines crossed all over Dover. Everyone in town would pick up their phone and hear it. Finally they were forced to stop it.”

June 13, 2019 - Posted by | CRCAP

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