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Live Oak Theatre summer camps

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Live Oak Theatre is setting the stage for an exciting summer for Hernando County’s youth. They are offering a few summer theatre camps that will teach a full array of theatrical and performance skills. Live Oak Theatre Company (LOT) is a not-for-profit 501(C)(3) repertory company of local artists dedicated to providing positive artistic experiences. The Live Oak Theatre general summer camp will take place from June 13th to June 17th from 10 am – 4 pm, for boys and girls ages 7 through 18 and tuition is $150 per student. “This marks the 13th year for our theatre camp,” said Randi Olsen, Live Oak director and teacher. “These camps teach the basics of musical theatre.”

Live Oak spokesman and teacher Vince Vanni stated, “The camps continue to become increasingly popular. Most importantly, the skills we teach are carried through adulthood. As I have told all the parents over the years, I am not training the next generation of New York City cab drivers and waiters. I am teaching leadership skills, like initiative, creativity and confidence in front of large groups of people.”

Camp topics may include:
Vocal technique & Song interpretation
Costume & Set Design
Movement to music
Auditioning skills
Acting skills such as:
Improv technique
And much more

The other camps that are being offered are a dance camp that is being held on June 27 to July 1st from 10 am to 4 pm. Tuition is $150 per student, ages 8-18. And an improv camp that is being held on June 27th to July 1st from 5 pm to 8 pm. Tuition is $75 per student, ages 8-18.

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Beyond the basics, Randi Olsen defines the theatre camps as an ever-evolving experience. “Our improv camp is new this year,” said Olsen. “And we’ll have an advanced dance camp by invitation only.” Olsen says that the Live Oak Theatre camps, which fill up quickly, help develop students’ relationship with the arts and with Live Oak Theatre. Camp veteran Lexi Allocco, for example, is now a director at Live Oak’s Acorn Theatre and a dance teacher at Live Oak Conservatory. Lexi stated, “This camp develops students as leaders. Some of them go on to teach classes.”

Allocco is a camp veteran who has evolved into a Live Oak creative force. She shares, “I have been going to camp since I was 11 and what I always looked forward to was learning so many new things about everything in theatre! We always had acting classes and singing classes but there was also dance, set construction, sound, lighting, makeup, etc. So I always had fun doing the extra stuff as well that I normally didn’t get to participate in. The camps really grow you in the skills that you need to be in a show and we can really dissect ourselves and each other in our acting, singing and dancing skills in ways that we can’t when we are in a show because all our focus at that point is what we need for the show.”

Cam Kennedy, 11, 6th grader at Gulf Coast Academy, is a current and loyal Live Oak Theatre camper. “I like Live Oak’s summer camp a lot. I really like the different classes that they take us through and each one is tailor-made to take us through different skills. My favorite camp was probably when we performed ‘The Ransom of Red Chief.’ I got to play Red Chief and they gave me a wooden sword and I got to be really annoying to the other kids in the skit and it helped with my characterizations going forward,” he said. “The things they teach us helped me with future performances and auditions. I made friends that I got to perform with later and a lot of them have stuck around for a long time.”

Shelley Kennedy, Cam’s mom, strongly supports her son’s participation in the Live Oak theatre camp. She shared, “Over the years camp has helped him prepare his auditions for the coming season, make lasting relationships with the kids that he performs with and the directors that he performs for. Each camp I feel like he comes away with a different appreciation of his talents-one year it revealed how much he loves singing and then another he found confidence in his acting when he got to perform with some of the older kids. We arrange our summer schedule around it – this is the one camp each summer he won’t miss.”

Much like the theatrical arts themselves, Olsen said that the Live Oak Theatre camp changes and evolves from year to year. She stated, “We change the camp every year to teach kids different skills. Everything from costumes to stage combat, that makes a show work.”

And in the eyes of Vince Vanni, the summer theatre camps work for many talented young people in the Hernando County area. Vanni stated, “Picture your favorite leader. Where are they and what are they doing? They are up there in front of people, inspiring and exciting. They are strategizing and problem solving. This is what the arts develop.”

For more details and to register go to https://www.liveoaktheatre.org/summer-camp.
For more information, email the box office at [email protected] or call 352-593-0027.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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