Huntington to host Summer Theatre Youth Camp

Huntington, Ind.—Are you looking for a different kind of summer camp? This summer, the Huntington University Department of Theatre Arts will host its second Huntington University Summer Theatre Youth Camp. From June 25-July 20, campers ages 6 to 15 will learn basic theatrical training from theatre professionals and perform a fully produced musical theatre production. This summer’s performance will be “Annie Junior,” and every camper will have a part.

The camp will run Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Huntington University Merillat Centre for the Arts with performances on July 21. Camp sessions the week of July 4 are to be announced.

(left to right) Prof. Harold Hill (Philip Harmon) tries to convince Tommy Djilas (Carlos Pena) and Zaneeta Shinn (Hannah Nelson) to join his band.

Cost is $175 per camper with a late registration fee of $25. Space is limited to 50 campers. Brochures and registration forms will be given to area elementary and middle schools and will be available at the Merillat Centre for the Arts Box Office after March 1.

For youth ages 16 to 18, an apprentice program also will be offered at the same time. Apprentices are students with theatre interests that assist with facilitating the camp. They will work more closely with the camp directors and serve as assistant directors, assistant choreographers, stage mangers and assistant designers. The cost, dates and times are the same for the apprentices as they are for the younger campers.

The theatre arts camp is building strong relationships with the Huntington County Community School Corporation and the LaFontaine Arts Council.

“These groups see the need for a strong arts-oriented summer program in Huntington County,” said Mike Burnett, assistant professor of theatre. “They offered valuable advice to us for our first camp last summer, which presented ‘Music Man Junior.’ Both LAC and the school corporation are excited about that possibility and how it can strengthen the youth of the Huntington area.”

David and Kristi Shamburger, Huntington University theatre faculty, will serve as co-camp directors. The Shamburgers created and directed summer youth musical theatre camps in Georgia and have experience with the Nevada School of the Arts youth theatre programming. Mike Burnett, assistant professor of theatre at Huntington, has worked in youth programming throughout the United States and will serve as camp technical director. In addition, three Huntington theatre students will serve as mentors.

After six years of running a theatre arts camp while teaching at Middle Georgia College in Georgia, the Shamburgers came to Huntington and were surprised to find that the University did not have a similar program.

“We have the facility, the means, the personnel to do a top-notch arts camp,” said David Shamburger, assistant professor of theatre. “It’s a necessity to offer the arts to the community, sort of an outreach program. We want to build a bridge with the community, and the best way to do that is to connect with children.”

In addition, Shamburger hopes the camp will help promote the University’s Department of Theatre Arts, assist Huntington theatre students by providing camp positions, and most importantly, impact the local community for Christ. “We are a Christ-centered university, and everything we do is through Him,” he said.

While in Georgia, Shamburger and his wife Kristi, a member of the university’s adjunct faculty, led campers in full-fledged productions of musicals such as “Music Man,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Wizard of Oz” and “Lil’ Abner.” Intensive rehearsals taught children to sing, dance and act.

Shamburger says the Huntington University camp is a great opportunity for youth to work with real theatre professionals. “Both my wife and I are actor union members and professionals, and Mike and Ella Burnett are also professionals in the field. It’s great for kids to not only do theatre, but to do theatre with professionals.”

Shamburger most enjoys the enthusiasm and passion of the young actors. “To them it is magic,” he said. “I always try to get my actors to return to a sense of play. The children still have that, and it’s nice to work with.”

For more information, call David Shamburger at (260) 359-4257. To obtain a registration form after March 1, call the Merillat Centre for the Arts Box Office at (260) 359-4261 or log on to
Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).


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