The main room of the North Augusta Community Center was transformed into an underwater stage this week for the Riverfront Theater Company’s first summer workshop for kids.

All week, 35 students ages 7-12 have been learning dances and songs for a production of "Big Blue World."

“With Riverfront Theater Company, we’re looking to start a youth program and this is the first step,” said Rebekah Robeson, director of the workshop. “So a summer workshop is a good way to get a feel from the community about the interest level in a youth program, and everyone loves a good summer camp, so this is a good first step.”

Robeson said the camp is not only important, because a new generation of performers are always needed for community theater, but because it’s been proven in studies that exposure to the arts helps kids perform on many levels.

“They may not pursue a career in theatre, or music, or dance or something, but just having that exposure and experience helps them open up their minds and think differently, approach situations differently, and so arts involvement helps everybody. That’s very important to us,” Robeson said.

"Big Blue World" is about a school of different colored fish. “As kids do, as we all tend to do, they form cliques based on their interests and based on what they look like,” Robeson said.

Their teacher, Hank the Octopus, teaches the fish that the ocean is made up of many colors, and none of the colors is more important than the other.

“Everyone’s colors make the ocean a beautiful place, and so we’re better together than separated into groups,” Robeson said.

During the workshop, the kids have learned two songs, three dances, built their own set and costumes, offering them a sampling of every aspect of theater.

Robeson said the company would announce next year's workshop during its Friday night performance, and that they were looking at opportunities to work with kids during the school year, as well.

Lindsey Hodges is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. Follow her on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges.