Spotlight Brings a Popular Children’s Book to Life

Students participated by making unique masks for the dramatization of the popular children's classic.
Students participated by making unique masks for the dramatization of the popular children’s classic.

On January 11, 2014, Spotlight Acting School hosted its first Where the Wild Things Are camp. The camp was a huge success and well attended. Students were first introduced to African influenced art and music by participating in games and workshops designed to challenge their imaginations. After being served lunch, the students then moved on to African style dance followed by a dramatization of the popular children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are.

Mason (Left) and Seth (Right) discuss their designs as Director Sarah Bucknam assists a student behind them.
Mason (Left) and Seth (Right) discuss their designs as Director Sarah Bucknam assists a student behind them.

The art portion of this camp, organized by Director Sarah Bucknam, centered on the creation of a mask to use during the dramatization of the story. Starting with a simple black or white opera style mask, the students were encouraged to decorate them with the plethora of materials made available. Many chose to use markers to draw designs on their masks before adorning them with buttons, pipe cleaners, yarn and foam. In the end every student had a truly unique piece of art they were proud to show off and wear.

Mallory, Jessi and Linda experiment with various rhythms.
Mallory, Jessi and Linda experiment with various rhythms.

Director Letha Hembree led the music portion of the camp that enabled students to have a hands-on experience with over 15 different of instruments while learning about the various styles of music originating from the African continent. Mrs. Hembree recognized that the students were having a hard time sitting still while the music was playing. Instead of stopping the students, she encouraged them to continue while teaching that, in most of Africa, movement is synonymous with music and that you seldom find one without the other. After learning about music, the students were shown how to create their very own African style instrument by making a “shaker”. Students were encouraged to decorate a paper cup before filling it with beans and having the opening end covered to finish off their musical creation.

Taylor, showing off her new moves
Taylor, showing off her new moves

The dance portion of the camp was led by Director Brandi Burchfield. The students were shown various movements that were later constructed into a choreographed routine to be presented to the parents along with the dramatization. The students responded well to Director Burchfield and even though some of the movements required more coordination than a few of the students were capable of, there was a genuine sense of enthusiasm.

The end product of the day was a 15 minute presentation for the parents. The presentation began with the dance routine accompanied by instrumentalists, followed by the dramatization. Director Burchfield read the story while the students acted out movements, inspired by Director Bucknam and helper AJ Jeck. From the voyage across the ocean, to the gnashing of teeth and the voyage back home to a warm meal, Where the Wild Things Are came to life on stage through the limitless imaginations of these heartwarming youth.

Spotlight Acting SchoolSpotlight Acting School continues to be a driving force for the performing arts in Madison and surrounding counties by providing an instructional and creative outlet for young performers. Spotlight will be hosting auditions for its upcoming productions of Disney’s “The Jungle Book Kids” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie: The Musical”. Auditions for “The Jungle Book Kids” are January 18 from 10 AM until 11 AM. “Thoroughly Modern Millie: The Musical” auditions will be held on January 25 from 11 AM until 1 PM. There is also an audition workshop for students ages 11 to 18 on January 18 from 11 AM to 1 PM. All of these events will take place at Madison Middle School in Richmond, Kentucky. For more information contact Spotlight Acting School on the web at http://www.Spotlightactingschool.com or by phone at 859/986 – 0423.

Written by Chad Hembree

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