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  • Writer's pictureSpotlight News Hampton Roads

Socially Distanced Summer Camp – Spotlight Productions

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

Words by Rebecca Edwards. Images courtesy of Spotlight Productions.

Summer. A time when most parents are looking for something to keep their kids busy. Many different camps are typically offered, and it provides a chance for the kids to do something they enjoy while providing parents with a much-needed chance to recharge without the kiddos around. Most kids have been attending the same camps since they were younger and look forward to it each year. This year, things are different. Because of the pandemic, all overnight camps and most, if not all, in person camps have been cancelled. This leaves a huge void.

Stepping into the void is Spotlight Productions. (Editor’s note: no relation.) Spotlight Productions is a company that was formed by Missy Sullivan and Penny Baumgartner in the late 90’s. Their focus is the performing arts. This is their 24th season. According to their website, “Spotlight Productions believes every child has a natural talent. It is our mission to develop that talent, self-confidence, and self-esteem in a non-stressful environment.” This year instead of offering a traditional camp for youth and teens they are offering a week of Zoom-like classes for people to attend.

The staff of Spotlight Productions in matching shirts by a lake

These cousins invest many hours developing concepts, selecting productions, acquiring rights, obtaining rehearsal/performance spaces, and finding a staff to bring their vision to life each year. They had the summer planned with two outstanding productions. No sooner did they announce their summer spectacles than everything was shut down. Missy and Penny went into brainstorm mode. Missy said, “We wanted to be able to offer SOMETHING. We wanted to still give kids a creative outlet while allowing these kids to see each other. Of course we would love to be face to face, but the reality is that we can’t provide an absolutely safe place for a face to face camp without compromising the size of the camp.” Their brainstorm ranged from not having a camp at all this year to hosting various Master Classes. The duo wasn’t sure if they could pull it off. Their effort has spawned Virtual Camp 2020. As we chatted in our own Zoom meeting, I could see and hear the excitement for this year’s offerings.

Spotlight breaks their camps down by ages. They offer a youth camp for children ages 8-12 and a teen camp for kids ages 13-18. Both camps will have virtual classes July 13-17, 2020.

A variety of kids lounging on platforms during their production of Damn Yankees

From Damn Yankees

The Youth Camp will be mostly live zoom like meetings from 9am – 12 noon. They will be working together to learn several scenes from School House Rock Live that will be recorded and edited together to create a video that the participants will have access to so that they are able to share with their family and friends.

The Teen Camp will have different electives that will cover topics like auditions, make-up, dance, and many other things that will help build confidence and experience. Some sessions will be live, and others will be recorded and shared with each group. As a group, the participants will be creating a production of “Raise You Up” from Kinky Boots. Similar to the Youth Camp, this performance will be recorded and edited together to create a video. Each participant in the Teen Camp will leave the camp with a reel for their resume and experience with taped auditions that will help carry them into the future.

A blackbox rehearsal of Damn Yankees. Kids are all over the platforms while a camp counselor supervises

From Damn Yankees

In addition to their usual camp offerings, they have also managed to snag some amazing people to host Virtual Master Classes. These classes are for anyone ages 13 and older whether or not you attend the camp. You do not have to attend the camp to participate in the Master Classes. These classes will be held July 13-16, 2020 from 5-6pm and 7-8pm with a total of 8 Master Classes being offered. These classes will be hosted by Broadway Professionals as well as local talent and past participants of the Spotlight Production Company.

Tuition for these camps is as follows: Youth Camp is $75 for the week Teen Camp is $100 for the week. Cost of the Master Classes are: $20/class for a non-camper $10/class for a camper Bundle: purchase the whole week and get one class free: $140 for the full list of Master Classes for a non-camper $70 for the full list of Master Classes for a camper

These prices are a steal for the opportunities provided. Something to keep in mind, this virtual camp isn’t limited by location or number of participants. It is open to anyone, anywhere! If online isn’t your thing and you’re looking for a camp next year, keep Spotlight Productions in mind. They are looking to the future and will have yet another incredible season coming soon. You can find a complete listing of their camp offerings on their website.

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