Summer actors take the stage

School is officially out for the summer, but the doors of the La Cañada Playhouse, La Cañada High School’s theater, are open and filled with youngsters for the Summer Acting Camp, which began Monday.

The Summer Acting Camp has been produced by the Theatrical Education Group, based out of Los Angeles, and Justin Eick, LCHS’ theater director and the Theatrical Education Group’s artistic director, for the past 14 years. The Camp originated in Glendale but has been at La Cañada High for the past three years.

“I am so excited. It’s without a doubt one of our biggest years in recent memory,” with about 100 kids signing up for the Camp this year, Eick said. “I really feel this is going to be a great year.”

This year will mark the first time that the Camp gets full use of the La Cañada Playhouse. Many of the Summer Acting Camp participants, ages 5 to 15, will be taking the stage for the first time.

“It is their first introduction [to theater] in many cases for these kids and that’s why we go to such lengths to provide a diversified curriculum,” Eick said.

The Summer Acting Camp teaches students about more than acting, with singing, stage combat, tap dance, improv comedy, on-camera technique, movement, technical theater and magic courses also being offered.

“I think that’s what makes it so unique. We offer a wide variety of classes that the kids take every day,” Eick said. “Usually camps just have the kids play theater games and have an all-day acting class. With us, it’s very structured.”

Students in the Summer Acting Camp rotate to a different class every hour. The Camp begins each day at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m.

“It’s like private lessons all day long for these kids, but it’s not at a private-lesson rate,” Eick said. Each three-week session for the camp costs $600.

Eight instructors and five full-time interns, incoming juniors and seniors in LCHS’ theater department, make the Summer Acting Camp happen. Eick hopes each student walks out of the La Cañada Playhouse with a newfound appreciation for all kinds of theater.

“Our goal isn’t necessarily to turn all these kids into actors, but to expose them to a wide variety of performing arts,” Eick said.

The Summer Acting Camp has two sessions. This year’s first session began Monday and goes for three weeks, ending on July 8. The second session begins July 11 and ends July 29.

For more information or to fill out an application online, visit the Summer Acting Camp’s website, or call the Theatrical Education Group at (818) 957-1619.

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