Homer students pose after their performance from the musical Shrek on Saturday after the three-day Broadway Bootcamp theater workshop with director Jim Anderson in October 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Emilie Springer/ Homer News)

Homer students pose after their performance from the musical Shrek on Saturday after the three-day Broadway Bootcamp theater workshop with director Jim Anderson in October 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Emilie Springer/ Homer News)

Intensive Broadway Bootcamp offered in Homer in August

During the five-day bootcamp, youth participants will work with top performing artist educators to develop leadership skills through theater arts.

Working with Homer Council on the Arts, local performing artist Jim Anderson is providing Alaska youth the opportunity to come to Homer and participate in Broadway Bootcamp 2024.

During the five-day boot camp, youth participants will work with top performing artist educators to develop leadership skills through theater arts.

The camp will culminate in a full public performance on the last day. The event will take place at the Homer Mariner Theatre Aug. 6-10 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Anderson has been offering theater boot camps like this in Alaska, primarily Anchorage and in other states, and has been working with youth in theater for more than 30 years. However, Anderson said the theater arts-based leadership curriculum is something “that has really gained momentum over the last eight years.”

As described on the HCOA website, the curriculum entails a teaching technique that “allows students the opportunity to process and express complex emotions through character development and performance and grow in areas such as confidence, negotiations, posture, interaction, communication, projection and expression.”

One of the instructors, Lonnie Quinn, an actor and broadcaster from New York City who studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts with Anderson, will bring the Sanford Meisner Technique to the students. Quinn has studied directly with Meisner.

Anderson describes the Meisner Technique as “very much a process of being able to focus in the moment, which is something that is really critical for youth.”

“It’s a life skill for our youth, who are bombarded with technology and distractions, to be able to eliminate those distractions through a technique that helps them fully engage in what they’re currently doing. Everything with this boot camp, even though it’s in a theater arts-based curriculum, is very much geared to teach life skills that are going to go with these youth in whatever career path they choose.”

The next instructor is Theresa Hays, an actress and dancer from Los Angeles, who will also provide some similar life skills techniques. Hays was head of curriculum for Los Angeles branch of the Academy of Dramatic Arts.

“She also has a background not just in dance and choreography, but in movement and posture and body placement. She brings a real wealth of knowledge in how to build physical confidence through her teaching,” Anderson said.

Anderson said Hays will provide ways for camp attendees to deal with some of the awkward tendencies they might be feeling in their bodies, “and help find methods for improving social graces rather than just kind of retreating because they’re not sure how to present themselves in the best way.”

The third instructor is Linda Brennan, PhD, one of the top speech and dialect instructors in the United States, according to Anderson. Brennan is also on the faculty of the academy as well, and “she travels throughout the world doing recruiting for the academy,” Anderson said.

During the camp students will use material from four Broadway musicals: “Catch Me if You Can”, “Matilda”, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love” and “Les Miserables” to provide a final cabaret-style performance. Mixed in with the musical will be monologue or dialogue material that the students will audition on the first day of camp. When the students register they will receive more information on what they need to do to prepare for that. Songs or music will also be encouraged.

If students are more interested in theater tech, they are welcome to do that instead.

“If they want to do sound, lighting, costuming, set or stage assistance, that’s fine. We really try to encourage the tech students to get involved in all aspects of tech, and we give them a lot of opportunity for creativity, too,” Anderson said.

In addition to the youth camp, the instructors will also provide two evenings of adult workshops and more information will be available on that in the near future, Anderson said.

Registration is live now on the HCOA website. Registration is open to youth in grades eight through 12. The fee is $150 and there are scholarships available for Homer-area students. Also, for students coming from other places on the Kenai Peninsula and beyond, HCOA is helping to coordinate free host family housing options. Anderson said some students will be coming from Anchorage but is also reaching out to communities like Kodiak to check for interest.

More information and registration is available at https://homerart.org/event/broadway-bootcamp-2024/.

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