Beginning in the last weeks of June, a joyful noise can be heard emanating from Camp Jabberwocky’s wooded Tisbury campus. According to session director JoJo Romero De Slavy, every day is a raucous celebration but there are three Ps that every Jabberwocky camper lives for: the parade, the prom and the play.

This summer, the parade float was Broadway themed. The prom was Greek-Isles themed. And over the weekend, the play brought it all together with Mamma Mia!, a show that takes place on a Greek island far from our own.

Camp Jabberwocky was started in 1953 by Helen Lamb as what’s considered North America’s first sleepaway camp for people with disabilities. Campers come with a vast array of disabilities ­­— some physical, some intellectual, some psychological— but everyone is embraced for their boundless creative potential, not their limitations. Besides the three Ps, campers also go horseback riding, take art classes, sail on the Mad Max, kayak and dance to Rick Bausman’s drumming on the beach.

Full stage, full hearts. — Jeanna Shepard

The camp is divided into July and August sessions and is run by a crew of mainly volunteer counsellors. While the campers have fun all summer, the play is a chance for the public to join in.

The plays themselves are absurdist works of joyful genius. From Frankenstein to The Sound of Music, Jabberwockians are famous for taking a familiar story and zapping it to life with playful innuendos, surprising cameos and twist endings. Mamma Mia! was no different. The story is built around the songs of 70s Swedish pop band ABBA. It was a perfect choice for Jabberwocky, said Ms. Romero De Slavy who selected and choreographed the production.

On the Saturday night before the second of two shows, cars lined the narrow road to camp. Between the buildings, counsellors and campers could be seen making their way to the studio, where the play would be performed. Sequins glittered beyond the bushes and a pair of horns bobbed up the ramp. Inside, the seats were all filled.

A woman named Sandra was sitting alone. “My family is over there but I’m sitting here to be closer to the fans,” she said.

Summer play is a highlight of each camp session. — Jeanna Shepard

Sandra’s grandson Myles, 23, is one of Jabberwocky’s 33 campers this session and has been attending for 10 years. Myles had previously starred as Alexander Hamilton and Jay Z. He bemoaned his smaller part this year, Sandra said, adding that any part in the play was part of the magic of Camp Jabberwocky.

Session co-directors Kirsten St. Amour and Ms. Romero De Slavy welcomed the crowd. The lights came down and a rustle of feet and wheels made their way onto the stage. From the first moment, counsellors and campers wholeheartedly rocked the house. The show was a foot-stomper, with live accompaniment by the Jason Lopes Experience Band. Fake cash rained down during Money, Money, Money. Glitter jumpsuits flashed in Mamma Mia. Campers discoed during Dancing Queen.

Ms. Romero De Slavy was up on stage too. Originally from Puerto Rico, she has been working at the camp for 28 years, since she was 17. In the off-season, she works as a clinical nurse specialist in Baltimore.

“Camp is a magical place,” she said. “Whether there’s returning counsellors or new ones, it’s always the same family atmosphere. It’s very much about campers and counsellors coming together and having a good time.”

My my, how can I resist you? — Jeanna Shepard

Michael Leon and Ms. Romero De Slavy co-directed the play. Madeline Wey, who has worked at the camp for about 40 years, was in charge of costuming. Campers work on the songs in music class but the staging of the play comes together in four or five days. While some campers memorize lines, others improvise.

“We just go with the flow of what happens on stage,” Ms. Romero said.

This attitude was clear when Sandra’s grandson Myles was left as the last man on stage. His counsellor had turned into a fish and swam off into the wings. Sandra straightened up as Myles looked around the stage, alone. But a second later, another counsellor flew in and wheeled him off stage, a big smile on camper and counsellor both.

The crowd applauded madly when the curtain eventually came down. Ms. St. Amour and Ms. Romero De Slavy thanked everyone and invited them to join the cast for ice cream sundaes. Audience and performers intermingled on the ramp out the door and into the warm evening. Sandra met back up with her daughter and waited for Myles to come triumphantly out the door.

While the rest of the year may come with obstacles and barriers, Camp Jabberwocky helps campers soar over them, one life-affirming celebration after another.

More pictures from Mama Mia!