Month after month passed as the signs “See you soon” and “Stay Safe” remained on the marquis in front of the Newton Theatre. The pandemic was not kind to the arts.
Now, the long wait is over. The theater and its Arts Academy are reopening. Youth are encouraged to get excited to sing, dance and act this summer with the choice of two Academy camps. Auditions for Seussical Jr. and Disney’s Peter Pan Jr. will take place at 219 Spring Street (located catty-corner across from the theater) on Tuesday, June 8th, and Wednesday, June 9, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Callbacks will be held on June 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
“We are excited to be offering musical theatre performance camps again this summer with the important messages in Seussical Jr. and the classic tale of Disney’s Peter Pan Jr,” said Jonathan Peirce, Newton Theatre’s President/CEO. “The skills the students learn and the confidence they build, the friends and memories they make will last a lifetime.”
Sign ups are in full swing and started with over 2,400 clicks on the initial e-blast about the return of the summer camps for 2021.
“We’re just thrilled to be back,” said Sara Bartlett, who has been the Academy’s Director of Education for the past four years. “It’s just so great to see everybody again and see the arts thrive once more.”
Heather Hollar of Wantage helps out with costume design and coreography. She’ll also be assisting Bartlett with auditions. Her son, Ty, has been a part of a number of Academy performances since he was 11 including The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Elf Jr. Frozen, and Jungle Book.
“We stumbled upon the Academy and loved it from the very start,” Holtar said. “The return of the Academy has been long in coming. It’s time to get the kids back in the arts again. It’s just so good physically, mentally and emotionally for them to get out, see other kids and do what they enjoy.”
Kris Kelleher of Hope is a professional set designer and became involved with the Academy a year-and-a-half ago.
“I was looking for something closer to home and not as far away as the city so I called and asked if they were looking for a set designer,” she said.
Bartlett was on the receiving end of the call and after a second interview with Peirce, she was hired.
“I love what I do and seeing the kids work so hard yet have so much fun preparing for a show is so great,” Kelleher said. “I could not possibly be more excited that the Academy is reopening. It’s so much fun and such a great opportunity for kids to explore their creative outlet again.”
Interested students must sign up and show up for one of the two audition nights. Come one day only to audition for one or both shows. Seussical Jr. camp will run from Monday, July 12, through Saturday, July 24, with performances on July 23 and 24. Disney’s Peter Pan Jr. camp will run from Monday, Aug. 2, through Saturday, Aug. 14, with performances on Aug. 13 and 14. For both camps, children entering grades 2-3 in the fall will rehears from 9 a.m. to noon and kids entering grades 4-12 will rehearse from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Each participant will receive a tee-shirt and a digital video.
The Newton Theatre Arts Academy offers limited scholarships and follows the latest state and CDC officials protocols regarding COVID, updating procedures accordingly.
Visit skypac.org/arts-academy to sign up for auditions.