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Radio Camp 2018: Behind the scenes at the Guthrie Theater

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MPR News Radio Camp 2018
Radio Camp students at the Guthrie Theater
Lacey Young | MPR News

How do you get young people who might not even own a radio to fall in love with radio?

That's the mission of our annual Radio Camp, a weeklong program for high school students in partnership with ThreeSixty Journalism at the University of St. Thomas. This summer, eight students from diverse backgrounds came to MPR News to get firsthand exposure to our broadcast center and learn the basics of what we do: field recording, interviewing, writing stories and voicing their own scripts.

The camp was created to honor the legacy of Toni Randolph, a longtime MPR News journalist and champion of ThreeSixty. Toni believed newsrooms should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.

MPR News Radio Camp 2018
2018 Radio Camp students and their MPR mentors outside the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis
Lacey Young | MPR News

This year's camp involved reporting at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Each student worked with an MPR mentor and produced a feature story on someone who works at the Guthrie. The culmination of their hard work? Inspiring, sound-rich radio storytelling — featuring the students' own voice tracks and the audio they gathered in the field — mixed by a professional sound engineer.

"I'm glad I got to work hard and experience discomfort because it has motivated me to be a better journalist," one student told us after the camp ended.

Listen to all of the students' pieces below.

The actress

MPR News Radio Camp 2018
Puerto Rican actress and pop star Ana Isabelle, who plays Anita in West Side Story at the Guthrie Theater, talks to radio camp reporter Autumn McKinney about bringing authenticity to her performance.
Lacey Young | MPR News

by Autumn McKinney

The actress who plays Anita in "West Side Story," Ana Isabelle, is a pop singing sensation in her native Puerto Rico. She brings authenticity to her character — but there's one big difference between her and Anita.

The set designer

MPR News Radio Camp 2018
Radio Camper Heaven Aschalew in an MPR News sound booth.
MPR News photo

by Heaven Aschalew

Technical director Jim Gangl takes the crazy, innovative and seemingly impossible ideas from the Guthrie's designers and directors — and makes them happen.

The dramaturg

MPR News Radio Camp 2018
MPR News producer Sam Choo chats with Radio Camper Neng Thao.
MPR News photo

by Neng Thao

Long before West Side Story went into production, dramaturg Carla Steen researched the history of gang life in the 1950s. And that research influenced the acting and directing of the musical.

The costume designer

MPR News Radio Camp 2018
Guthrie Theater costume director Amy Schmidt shows radio camper Heidi Sanchez some of the wild costumes her shop created for 'The Legend of Georgia McBride.'
Bill Wareham | MPR News

by Heidi Sanchez

In "The Legend of Georgia McBride," it's not only the actors who get to make statements. The costumes do as well. They're flashy, glittery, loud and flamboyant, as costume director Amy Schmidt intended.

The director

MPR News Radio Camp 2018
Aaliyah Demry interviews Guthrie Theater artistic director Joseph Haj.
Lacey Young | MPR News

by Aaliyah Demry

Joseph Haj, the director of "West Side Story" and the Guthrie's artistic director, understands the immigrant experience in America. Born to Palestinian immigrants and raised in Miami, he remembers growing up in a world of challenges and trying to fit in.

The props team

MPR News Radio Camp 2018
Tristan Xiong interviews the Guthrie's props manager, Sarah Gullickson, while mentor Laura McCallum (background) looks on.
Lacey Young | MPR News

by Tristan Xiong

Meet the people who make the props at the Guthrie — including "The Blood Guy."

The sound engineer

MPR News Radio Camp 2018
Isabel Saavedra-Weis interviews sound designer Alex Ritter.
Sam Choo | MPR News

by Isabel Saavedra-Weis

When sound engineer Alex Ritter is behind the mixing board, he adds a crucial layer to any performance and brings magic to the audience's ears.

The light board operator

MPR News Radio Camp 2018
David Gutierrez interviews light board operator Angelina Vyushkova.
Marianne Combs | MPR News

by David Gutierrez

While the cast of "West Side Story" enjoys the spotlight, some people, like light board operator Angelina Vyushkova, are content to stay in the shadows.