In her second year directing one of The Grand Theatre’s Summer Music Theatre Camps, Kaye Compton is cherishing the opportunity to help young thespians develop their acting skills. Along with her fellow directors, Morgan Brooks and Kristy Montgomery, and choreographer Katie Ruth Bennett, the Cartersville residentcurrently is teaching middle-schoolers the ins-and-outs of theater.
“I find it amazing that there are 30 middle school age kids that can sing, act and dance, all at the same time,” Compton said. “It’s just inspiring.
“[During the camp], they learn how to work together. They learn how to help each other and therefore they grow up a little bit and that’s a lot of fun to watch. ... I just appreciate the fact that the staff at The Grand trusts me to do this and I appreciate that the parents in the community see the value in the arts and support them in this way.”
The Middle School Camp, which started June 2, will culminate with the public production of “Wipeout” on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. To be held at The Grand Theatre, 7 N. Wall St. in Cartersville, the musical is set in the 1960s and centers around developers wanting to demolish the Surf Shack at Avalon beach.
“You’ve got the rich kids that have their part of the beach and you’ve got poor kids that have a part of the beach,” Compton said. “The family that runs this part of the beach has gotten behind in their payments and they are about to lose the beach and the rich kids’ parents are about to buy it up and turn it into a parking lot.
“It’s supposed to be somewhat lighthearted, but you’ve kind of got some social issues there ... [such as] does money speak the loudest and how ... people pull together to accomplish something that seems impossible and how sometimes teenagers with their dreams override adults who’ve lost theirs. So there’s some kind of heavy themes if you want to read it in there.”
The Middle School Camp is the first offering in The Grand’s Summer Music Theatre Camps program. While the Senior High Camp is at capacity, there still are openings for the Elementary Camp’s second session, June 23 to 27, for those who have completed grades two, three or four. A non-refundable payment of $150 is required at registration.
“Our camp started out in 1989, so that makes this our 25th year,” said Terri Cox, program director for The Grand Theatre. “We’re very excited about that. It started out with George and Jonalyn Bew and Don Kordecki. They just wanted to give performing arts opportunities for young people in our community. They had one camp for all ages. They started out with [performances], like ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Babes in Toyland,’ things like that.
“Then over the years, the program has grown. We have three different levels now: an elementary, middle school and high school level. We basically take them through the acting process, working on music, dancing and acting. We start out with the basics at the elementary level, where everybody’s [role is] pretty equal, then it grows into a more developed plot and characters in middle school and then in high school we do a full Broadway show.”
Following the middle-schoolers’ production, the Elementary Camp will perform “Pirates, The Musical” June 21 and 28 at 7 p.m. and the Senior High Camp’s “Anything Goes” will take the stage July 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. and July 27 at 2:30 p.m.
“First of all, I always encourage the families of students who think they might be interested in participating in this to come and see what it’s all about,” Cox said about the productions, which will be open to the public. “It’s very encouraging to have people from the community come and see young people and give them their support. The amount of talent that you see from our community is amazing. It’s wonderful to come see what the young people can do.”
Tickets for the Summer Music Theatre Camps’ presentations — $5 for elementary and middle school productions, and $7 for students and $10 for adults for the senior high performance — are available at the door or in advance by calling 770-386-7343 or visiting The Grand’s Box Office Monday to Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 5 p.m.