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Providence High’s summer acting camp continues to be a big draw

For eight summers now, a playful, educational, fun and supportive summer camp has seen its numbers grow and its students and instructors progress, thanks to a unique partnership.

The arts-based organization DiscoveryOnstage, in collaboration with Providence High School’s arts department, is wrapping up its summer acting camp on campus with plenty of rave reviews.

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The monthlong camp began in mid-June and will culminate with performances from Thursday through next Saturday.

Students ranging from 5 to 15 years old took part in workshops that included acting, music, visual art, dance, filmmaking, movement, voice, diction, improvisation, stage combat and swordplay.

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DiscoveryOnstage was founded by Providence High theater arts co-directors Jeremy Kent Jackson and Dominic Catrambone in 2007. That year, the duo’s headquarters was in a dance studio in Monrovia and the original camp had 24 students.

Two years later, DiscoveryOnstage found its new home at Providence High. The entrepreneurial pair sold out their latest camp with 160 attendees.

“By having this summer camp on campus here, we’ve kind of designed our Providence High Arts Summer Acting Camp as really a place to come study the arts and maybe begin a long-term connection with the Providence community in Burbank,” Catrambone said.

“You can start as early as 5 and get comfortable on campus here. By the time they’re aged 14, they might want to come to this program here,” he added.

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On a recent Tuesday morning, workers and volunteers welcomed arriving campers on the school’s parking lot before leading them onto the main stage and studio — a converted basketball gym that still has its wooden hard court.

I’ve done a whole lot of things that I would have never done because of this camp.”


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Creativity is immediately on display when entertainment coordinator R.J. Godinez, a Providence 2015 graduate, leads a “Lost and Found” fashion show. Camp volunteers strut down a catwalk with missing or left-behind student supplies such as lunch bags, water bottles, jackets and in one case, a headband with cow ears.

“The campers are all so fun and I look forward to this experience every year,” said Godinez, 20, who is in his fifth year at the camp.

“I worked at Disney World this past semester, and I was looking forward more to this. There’s a whole bunch of returners and it’s such a tight-knit community and just being able to be the entertainment coordinator and put a smile on everyone’s face – that’s what brings me back,” Godinez added.

He later helped with the video editing in the Cinema Arts Center of a campers’ produced daily news and entertainment program known as the “D.O. Show,” short for DiscoveryOnstage, which included a segment on selfies and another on friendship, while the filming was shot with a green screen background of the Las Vegas Strip.

“I love how everybody is open to any ideas and I like how everybody is supportive of each other in everything,” said camper Sasha Camacho, 13, of North Hollywood, who took part in the “D.O. Show.”

Entertainment meshes with serious study as well.

British cane-fighting specialist Matt Franta, who has been featured in “The Atlantic,” taught the swordplay workshop, while Marisa Rawlins-Bradfield, an executive board member of the Southern California Vocal Assn., led instruction on singing.

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News reporter Ella Duane, 8, center, prepares a report interviewing unicorns, with the voices of Avalon Durand, 9, left, and Sophia Sopapunta, 8, right, at the Providence High School eighth annual Summer Acting Camp in Burbank on Tuesday, July 3, 2018.
News reporter Ella Duane, 8, center, prepares a report interviewing unicorns, with the voices of Avalon Durand, 9, left, and Sophia Sopapunta, 8, right, at the Providence High School eighth annual Summer Acting Camp in Burbank on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

Kent Jackson said the camp has a 72% return rate and that DiscoveryOnstage’s partnership with Providence has paid off in various ways.

“I would say about 10% of the student body has attended a camp, and we’ve brought many students to Providence High School over the years,” Kent Jackson said. “It’s just been a great partnership with the school.”

Several of the camp’s instructors are Providence High graduates, including Godinez and Rogelio Caedo, from the Class of 2011.

The camp received a significant endorsement when Allison Castro, Providence’s principal, enrolled her son, Jordan.

And just-graduated Providence High student Sophie Collins gives her own stamp of approval.

The 18-year-old Pasadena resident attended her first camp in 2007, enrolled at Providence because of its arts department and has been involved ever since as either a participant or instructor.

“I’ve definitely found my voice,” said Collins, who will be studying arts leadership at Seattle University in the fall.

“I was a shy kid, and now I’m not, I guess. I definitely found who I am as a person and I found my passion in life is doing something in the arts because of this camp. I’ve done a whole lot of things that I would have never done because of this camp,” she added.

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