‘Spotlight’ on Summer campers at university

Published 11:10 pm Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eight-five young people from the local area are in the Summer Spotlight, and it’s a fun and exciting place to be, actors say.

“This is our second day, and we’re having a lot of fun, and we’re learning a lot,” said Haley Jordan, who attended last year’s Summer Spotlight Creative Drama Camp at Troy University.

The camp opened on Sunday and will culminate on Thursday night with a Summer Spotlight Showcase with all 85 campers participating.

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The camp is divided into four groups, ages four and five, six and seven, eight through 10 and 11 through 13.

“The campers take morning classes in creative drama, creative movement and stage craft,” said Tori Lee Averett, camp director.

“They are involved in hands-on projects for the show and have a choice of afternoon classes including acting, musical theater, play writing and technical crew.

“They choose according to their interests and abilities, and we have a lot of fun learning and doing.”

This is the second year for the Summer Spotlight Creative Drama Camp and this year young people from outside the Pike County area are also taking advantage of the opportunity.

“Most of our campers are from Pike County but we also have campers from Elba, Luverne, Brantley and Montgomery and a couple from out of state,” Averett said.

The Summer Spotlight camp has three purposes. The first is to provide enrichment experiences for those who are interested in drama.

“In years past, we had summer theater programs in Troy, but there is not a play that I know of that can accommodate 85 children,” Averett said.

“The Summer Spotlight Showcase gives every camper an opportunity to perform on stage, and it’s a great learning experience.”

Averett said there are many areas in the country in which the arts are underserved.

“Pike County is one of those areas,” she said.

“A lot of schools aren’t financially able to offer arts programs. There are arts kids in all schools and there should be programs for them just like there are for athletic kids.

Troy University wants to help provide arts opportunities for kids as part of its partnership with the community.”

The summer drama camp serves as a lab for the staff, most of whom are theater education majors.

“Troy University has a theater education major that is a couple of years old,” Averett said.

“The Summer Spotlight Creative Drama Camp gives these majors an opportunity to work with kids in a theater setting and learn about kids’ theater first hand, not from a textbook.”

The Summer Spotlight Showcase at 6 p.m. Thursday will feature 85 “seasoned” performers in costumes they have designed, on a stage they have set and in a performance they have created. Seating is limited so those who have a budding actor or actress, dancer or crew technician will want to come early, or there might be no seats available.