Registration open for South City Theatre summer camp

Published 8:15 am Tuesday, June 4, 2013

By Stephanie Brumfield 

Francie Gardner teaches theater at Chelsea High School August through May. In June, while other teachers are on vacation, she still teaches, but her classroom is filled with kids of all ages participating in South City Theatre kids’ summer camp.

The camp, which got its start about 15 years ago at Helena Elementary, now serves about 70 children every year and allows them to build skills in four main areas – acting, dance, music and theater-based art. The camp is now located at Holy Spirit Church in Alabaster and will start June 17, lasting from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday until June 28. Registration is now open for children ages 9-16.

During the camp, participants are placed in groups based on age, and they attend all four classes each day of the camp. Certified teachers and working professionals in acting, dance, music and other theater arts lead the workshops and provide the energy and personas necessary to be successful with kids, according to Gardner.

The two-week camp ends with a showcase, where each age group has the opportunity of showing off their newly learned skills by performing skits, dances, songs and more. By having a showcase rather than producing a single show, Gardner said participants are able to learn more and be exposed to more specific skills, such as speaking in dialects, costume design and stage combat, which are often classes offered to older students.

“If you try to do an entire production in two weeks, you come out with an okay show,” Gardner said. “The parents are thrilled because their kids are on stage, but the kids don’t get as much out of it. I don’t want anybody to be sitting out and doing nothing. With a showcase, everybody has lines.”

Lisa Singer, a Hoover resident and parent who will bring her son to the camp for the fourth time this year, said she keeps coming back because her son loves it.

“It’s a fun environment,” Singer said. “The kids are not expected to be a certain way or sit still, and all of the teachers are good. There’s also a huge range of kids who come to the camp – kids who have never done drama before and kids who have been doing it for years. But they run the camp in a way that doesn’t put pressure on the kids and makes it fun and comfortable.”

Registration forms are available at, and the cost to register is $315 per child. Registration for the camp is open until June 16 or until the camp is full.