Students can apply for theater’s summer camp scholarship

Summer camp isn’t just for kids anymore.

At least not at Theatre Baton Rouge.

“We have a summer camp for adults that is popular,” Jack Lampert said. “They take it seriously, but they have a lot of fun. And in the end, we do a production, and everyone really gets into it.”

Lampert is Theatre Baton Rouge’s educational director. He coordinates the theater’s annual summer camp schedule, which includes sessions for children in the first through 12th grades, as well as the aforementioned camp for adults.

Also part of his job is collecting applications for the theater’s Derrick D. White Scholarship Fund for students “who have never had the opportunity to express themselves through the medium of theater to attend one of Theatre Baton Rouge’s summer camps.”

That’s a quote from Theatre Baton Rouge’s mission statement for the scholarship. The application deadline is Wednesday, May 15.

“And we’re hoping a lot of kids will apply,” Lampert said.

White was 15 when he died in an automobile accident on Feb. 23, 1996. His involvement with Theatre Baton Rouge began with a summer camp in 1990.

“Derrick started attending summer camp when he was 8 or 9,” said Barbara White, Derrick White’s mother. “He loved it, but he was also playing baseball. There came a time when he had to choose between theater and baseball, and he chose baseball.”

Still, that first camp opened a new world for Derrick White. He eventually acted in the leading roles of the musicals You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and Bye Bye Birdie.

“Derrick’s experiences with the many talented instructors at Theatre Baton Rouge helped mold him into the fine young man that he was at the time of his death,” the theater’s biography on Derrick White stated.

And his mother seconds this statement. “Derrick thoroughly enjoyed it,” she said. “He was shy, and his experience at the theater did bring his personality out. And it always amazed me what the kids learned in two weeks.”

So, 13 years later, in 2009, Barbara White’s friend, Sue Hilliard, said she wanted to honor Derrick White’s memory.

“She set up the scholarship,” Barbara White said. “She started trying to get funds together to help out parents and kids with the summer camps.”

Through Hilliard’s efforts, Theatre Baton Rouge established the Derrick D. White Scholarship Fund with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Scholarships have been administered by the White family and the theater beginning with the 2009 summer camps.

One middle school-age student usually is the recipient, but two recipients were chosen in 2012.

“Our hope is that the fund will grow so we can give more scholarships in the future,” Lampert said. “We want to encourage young actors to participate, and we want to reach out to inner city children. This way, they can participate.’

And the camps offer many theatrical opportunities. Campers who may not be interested in acting can work behind the scenes.

“It’s all about building confidence,” Lampert said.

The camp lineup is as follows:

9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. June 3-14, Musical Production Theatre Camp for students in the sixth through 12th grades. A Broadway musical comes to life during this two-week camp session as the participants become a theater company performing all the activities it takes to mount a production. Dana Lux is the instructor. Tuition is $245.

9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. June 17-28, Creative Theatre for Kids for students in the first through fifth grades. This camp is full, but a waiting list is available. This is a program for young people to explore the wonderful world of theater through games, exercises, songs and scenes. There will be a performance on the last day of camp. Bess Yunek is the instructor. Tuition is $225.

9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. July 8-12, Improvise for students in the ninth through 12th grades. Through a series of improvisational exercises, participants will develop their own short play discovered, written and created by them. This class is limited to 25 students. David Coley is the instructor. Tuition is $125.

9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. July 15-26, Play Production Camp for students in the sixth through 12th grades. This two-week camp will take students through the entire experience of being an actor from auditioning to performance. Students will rehearse a play and have a performance on the last day of camp. Students also will have the opportunity to develop their acting skills through many activities, games and improvisation. Emily Coley is the instructor. Tuition is $225.

July 8-13, Camp for Adults age 18 and older. Camp times are 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. A performance is set for 7 p.m. Saturday. Participants will start with auditions and proceed through the week to build a one act play or musical. Jack Lampert is the instructor. Tuition is $125.

To register or for more information, call (225) 924-6496 or visit http://www.brlt.org for a downloadable form.