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Curtain goes up on creative drama Sunday

Sunday, July 12, is the beginning of something new and exciting at Troy University.

In mid-afternoon, 65 youngsters between the ages of four and 14 will descend on the campus for orientation to the university’s creative drama camp, Summer Spotlight.

The reality of the camp far exceeded its expectations, said Tori Lee Averett, camp director.

“We had hoped to have about 30 participants but the enrollment just boomed, and we had to stop taking applications. The interest in the creative drama camp was much more than we had expected, and that’s both exciting and encouraging.”

The creative drama camp is being offered by the Troy University College of Communication and Fine Arts and the Fine Arts-Department of Theater and Dance.

The camp will run July 12 through 16 and will conclude with the Spotlight Showcase performance at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Trojan Center Theater.

The theater seats 300 and Averett said, with the large number of camp participants, there might not be any tickets available for the general public.

“Whether we have tickets available will depend on the number of tickets requested by the families of the participants,” she said.

“If there’s room, we would love for members of the community to come.”

The younger campers will report each day to the university’s recreation facility on Elm Street and their camp sessions will be from 8 a.m. until noon. Sessions for the older campers will be from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Trojan Center Theater.

Summer Spotlight was put together with the support and help from the College of Communication and Fine Arts and the university in general and will offer benefits to the college as well as the community.

“We now have a theater major in place, a theater faculty and theater education, so we wanted to launch a summer program where those enrolled in this new major can get real life experiences with kids. Textbooks are fine but you don’t really learn until you get thrown into the middle of children. We are throwing them into the middle of children.

Even though the situation is better than it used to be, Averett said there’s not an abundance of theater programs in the local schools.

Therefore, theater education students don’t have a chance to observe and teach in theater classes. Summer Spotlight will give them a great opportunity to do both.

Averett said some schools have drama programs but, in most schools, “theater” is limited to school programs and class plays.

“There are opportunities at churches to participate in Christmas programs and other plays,” she said. “Some churches have rather elaborate productions and puppet theaters so there’s a lot going on in churches.

“The We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge offers young people opportunities to be involved in community theater but those roles are limited.”

The creative drama camp will help fill the void of theater opportunities for Pike County’s young people.

The camp sessions will be broken down into smaller groups and the campers will schedule workshops including acting, puppetry, stage choreography, stage management, musical theater, mask construction, creative movement and dance, performing for an audience, singing, costume design, clown makeup, improvisation and set and props and lights.

“Summer Spotlight is a non-competitive camp,” Averett said.

“It’s based on imagination and creativity. We’re not trying to create Broadway stars. The emphasis is not to perform. It’s to do something creative and to give them a way to display what they’ve learned and done. We’re not going to do ‘Annie’ Thursday night. Rather some quick plays that focus on the imaginative and creative abilities of the campers.”