Camps and campers thrive this summer at Metropolis
September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
By Hilary Nelson
In summertime when kids are out of school, parents look for ways to keep their children busy during those long, hot summer days. Some kids spend their summer solving equations at math camp or honing their athletic abilities at sports camp. And some kids spend their summer acting in plays and musicals at Metropolis.
Now in its 8th year of partnering with Arlington Heights Park District, Metropolis’ Summer Performance Camps were more successful than ever in 2011, with more than 300 students in 8 different camps. This year, the summer camps featured more rehearsal time, specific technique training and additional camp choices – including an all new camp for 4 and 5-year-olds.
“Each year camp continues to grow and expand in so many great ways,” said Kate Schwarz, Metropolis Camp Director. “The productions at the end of each session continue to amaze the parents and also inspire the staff to continue to be a part of a great thing.”
One family that has greatly benefitted from Metropolis summer camps and classes in the School of the Performing Arts is Kelly Sullivan and her 12-year-old son, Ben Marshall. Ben has been taking classes and participating in summer camps at Metropolis since he was six years old. “Ever since he started, he’s been hooked,” Sullivan said. She praised the teaching staff at Metropolis for being a great influence on her son, noting “Metropolis, to our family, has been a godsend. The staff is like family to us. They are nurturing and have helped develop Ben, not just as a performer but as a person.”
This summer Ben was in the Curtains Up! program, and performed in two shows, Mulan and Once Upon a Mattress. “It’s a pretty professional environment, which is hard to believe because there aren’t any adults in the show with you,” he said. “The teachers at Metropolis are amazing. There is something new every year and each director brings their own unique individuality to the experience.”
“Our staff creates a positive environment for these kids in order for all of them to thrive and succeed,” added Schwarz. “Our kids feed on this positive environment and feel comfortable enough to really open up and show their passion for theatre. They are learning skills used in acting, singing, dancing and life simultaneously. Our program is truly like no other.”
According to Sullivan, her son’s classes at Metropolis have taught him many important life lessons. “The performing arts encourage life skills,” she said. “The kids need to learn to work together and support one another. And that’s life; learning to work with different types of people for a common purpose. Metropolis teaches kids to be proud of themselves and each other.”
In addition to taking acting classes, Ben is also taking singing and dancing lessons this fall. He is eager to sign up for another camp session next summer which means another opportunity for his mom to watch him perform on stage. “I look forward to it every summer,” Kelly said. “It never ceases to amaze me that the staff is able to pull together such an amazing show in such a short amount of time. The product is something the kids can be proud of.”
Thanks to his experience at Metropolis, Ben is confident about his future career aspirations. “I want to be an actor when I grow up,” he said. “Metropolis has given me acting opportunities outside the school and summer camps and has introduced me to the real world of acting.”