It only takes a few days in an acting camp to transform a shy young lady into a confident stage performer. Tsang Chi-miu was one of 39 secondary school students who recently attended a six-day Camp on Acting, conducted by the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre. The camp was one of five such day camps organised by the Urban Council to introduce the basics of acting to Form Five and Form Seven students. 'I was too shy to say or do anything at the start,' said Chi-miu, 18. 'But after a few days I picked up confidence. It helped a lot when the drama coaches approved of my acting ideas.' Watching her and five of her schoolmates perform, one would not have guessed that Chiu-miu had never been on stage before. The Carmel Secondary School student gave an impressive performance in a ghost story-cum-love story that earned her a loud round of applause. Not a trace of shyness was evident in the scenes when she had to snuggle up to her 'lover-boy', Ng Wing-fai. 'The first thing we were told was that we should believe in the roles we were playing before we could make the audience believe in us,' Wing-fai said. The students were also told 'to think first' before acting. 'You must think about the feelings you want to express, then decide how you want to project those feelings,' Chi-miu said. She had not been particularly interested in acting before, but after attending the camp she was eager to join the school drama society. The camp took the students through various aspects of the actor's craft, from voice training and projection of emotions to use of the imagination and analysis of character parts. The students were also shown how to write simple scripts. The first camp began on May 27, and the last begins on July 1. All classes are being conducted by professional actors and actresses. The Hong Kong Repertory Theatre's assistant artistic director Ho Wai-lung said even as acting novices the students turned in convincing and impressive performances. For Wong Ka-yi, 18, the six days of the camp passed too soon. 'The days flew! I used to think drama activities were boring, but this one wasn't. It was a good introduction to acting. Now I'd like to learn more.'