Category Archives: Blog

Spotlight Acting School Official Blog

Spoonbread and Spotlight

The Spoonbread Festival
The Spoonbread Festival

This weekend come to Berea and experience one of the best festivals in the state. Spotlight Acting School is excited to be part of the 18th annual Spoonbread Festival and we are rolling out the red carpet to prove it. Stop by our booth this weekend and be treated like a celebrity as you walk our red carpet while our paparazzi are more than eager to take your picture. We will also have accessories to make your pictures fabulous and memorable. While there, learn about all the exciting programs coming up this next season and see how you can be more involved in Spotlight Acting School.

The Spotlight Sound Machine
The Spotlight Sound Machine

Another exciting thing happening this weekend is the premier of The Spotlight Sound Machine. This musical group, formed by the staff of Spotlight Acting School, will be performing some of today’s latest hits with their own spin and style on Sunday, September 21 at 2:00 PM. The goal of this group is to eventually open auditions to the community and students to join once we are nicely situated in our new Berea campus. This musical group will add to the offerings of the Spotlight Acting School as another avenue to teach performing, stage presence and musicianship. The group will also perform regularly to promote Spotlight Acting School and The Spotlight Foundation.

Please come out and say hello to us this weekend and enjoy the festival. If you get lost in the crowd or cannot find our booth, go to the main entertainment tent and look for Mr. Chad. Spotlight director Chad Hembree is honored to be a Master of Ceremonies for the festival again this year and will be more than happy to see you and point you in the right direction.

Visit the Spoonbread page for more information about the festival.

Introducing the Spotlight Sound Machine

The Spotlight Sound Machine
The Spotlight Sound Machine

The goal of this group is to eventually open auditions to the community and students to join once we are nicely situated in our new Berea campus.

This musical group will add to the offerings of the Spotlight Acting School as another avenue to teach performing, stage presence and musicianship. The group will also perform regularly to promote Spotlight Acting School and The Spotlight Foundation.

Currently this musical group is formed from staff members of the Spotlight Acting School and will be performing some of today’s latest hits with their own spin and style on Sunday, September 21 at 2:00 PM at the 18th annual Spoonbread Festival.

Don’t miss this debut performance and support the premiere of this musical group.

Christmas Showcase 2014 Announced

Christmas Showcase 2014 Auditions October 4th
Christmas Showcase 2014 Auditions October 4th

The Spotlight Acting School and the Spotlight Players will be producing a Christmas Showcase for the 2014 season.  Last Christmas the school produced Barbara Robinson’s wildly popular story, THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER.  The show was a great success for the school and seeded the idea to continue having an annual Christmastime production.  While digging through mountains of scripts the two ideas that kept resurfacing were making THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER a standing tradition (Yes, we liked it that much) or trying a musical.  The musical that came to mind was Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS.  With only 9 weeks to rehearse the show a musical seemed quite the undertaking and despite our love for PAGENT we still were not sold on the idea.  It was at this point, late one evening we jokingly said let’s do both.  After laughing too long, partly from the idea and partly from being slap happy that late, we decided why not parts of both.  Working even later into the evening we began to expand on the idea to add more scenes from other Christmas shows we like, then voila, the Christmas Showcase was born.

This show is sure to be a hit with all ages.  The show, scheduled December 12, 13 and 14, will include; comedy, music, dancing, drama and some spectacular large Broadway style moments.  Spotlight is encouraging participation from all age groups as way to allow families to perform together.  As the great song, THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS, says, “Nowhere can you get that happy feeling, than when you’re stealing that extra bow.”  Imagine stealing that bow with your child or grandchild. Not only is it a great bonding experience, but it creates memories and stories to share for a lifetime.

From the hit films THE POLAR EXPRESS, and ELF to the timeless classics like WHITE CHRISTMAS, and ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE to cult favorites like THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS, and NATIONAL LAMPOON’S: CHRSTMAS VACATION, we are working to include as many of the greatest, funniest, and most spectacular Christmas scenes ever created.  Now, all we need are excited and talented families, and individuals that want to share in this experience.  We are advertising that we need participants four and up.  That is true for individual’s auditioning for participation, but should your family include a two or three year old that wants to stand and sing Christmas songs with the rest of family, we are not going to turn them away.

The auditions are on October the 4th at 2:00pm at the Madison Middle School Auditorium.  Rehearsals will be 9 weeks of mostly Saturdays, starting first in the afternoons then migrating to mornings after our current shows run in November.  There will be three categories to audition for.  Participants may choose to audition for any or all of these. We understand the fall holiday season can be a busy time, so we expect families to miss some rehearsals and will plan rehearsal accordingly.  All we ask for is some advanced notice.

(Audition for as many categories as you want)

Music:  One prepared solo.  Can be as simple as Jingle Bells.  No accompaniment or tracks are required. Our pianist will be on site to play along if requested.   We have music for all the standard Christmas carols.

Dance:  A short routine will be taught in a group for all participants wishing to audition for dance numbers.  The group will then perform the routine. Both the instruction time and the performance will be considered for the audition. Please wear suitable clothing and shoes for moving.

Acting:  Participants will cold read from provided scripts.  No monologues are required. Participants that cannot read or do not read well, will be assisted by our staff.

The tuition for this show is only $5.50 per week for individuals and $9.00 a week for the entire family.   As per our usual policy tuition may be paid weekly, monthly or all at once, so long as it is paid in full before the performance.  The registration fee for this show is $25.00, due at audition, and covers an entire family as well.  Limited financial aid is available for qualifying families per the schools regular policy, call 859/986-0423 to request aid.  No reservation is required for auditioning, but we do appreciate you showing your interest in participating by calling, sending us an email or dropping us a Facebook post or even a Tweet.  We love technology.  Maybe you even have an idea for a scene you would like to see included in the show that you want to be part of.

Visit our website at for more information and checkout the online calendar for the scheduled rehearsals and performances.  Please call 859/986-0423 for answers to any questions concerning auditions, schedules or the show.

Chad Hembree

Jenna Sehmann

alumni spotlight.fwI was in the seventh grade when my childhood best friend (and current spotlight director) Sarah Bucknam

Jenna Sehmann
Jenna Sehmann

convinced me to audition for my first musical, High School Musical (embarrassing, I know!). The musical was through Spotlight Acting School, run by a woman who I knew only as “Miss Kathie” through various Sunday school activities and church functions at First Christian Church. That was my first of ten productions over the course of the next six years. Favorite roles include Demeter in “Cats”, Narrator in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, and Anna in “The King and I.”

Continue reading Jenna Sehmann

Spotlight to open new theater in partnership with Churchill Co.

The Spotlight PlayhouseSpotlight Acting School is proud to announce it has made an arrangement with The Churchill Co. to construct a theater inside the historic former home of Churchill Weavers. The state-of-the-art facility is slated to host a black box main stage theatre, a film production studio, a radio broadcasting studio, recording booths, practice rooms, classrooms and will serve as the Berea campus for Spotlight Acting School.

 lobbyThe Spotlight Playhouse will be designed in a 1930’s theater theme with liberal use of deep reds highlighted by gold accents. The lobby will be a spacious reception area with displays of art and information on upcoming events flanked by windows into a radio booth where onlookers can watch and hear live programming as it happens. The lobby is also to have a few small tables and available refreshments, perfect for parents waiting on students and show goers alike.

 dinner.fwThe back box main stage theatre will be a highly versatile facility with technical capabilities to host a variety of productions and events. From a traditional curtain forward stage production to theater in the round, or even dinner theater, this is sure to be a highly utilized space and offer Berea citizens and visitors alike the opportunity to engage and participate in local entertainment. The video and radio studio production details are still in design, but currently The Creative Tech Media Group and Brigadoon Studios have both agreed to use the facility for production space.

 Spotlight Acting School has a long history with Madison County Schools and a great relationship with their current home. Spotlight has no intensions of moving, the additional campus in Berea will allow Spotlight to operate multiple shows, simultaneously, in conjunction with the existing Richmond Campus in the wonderful facilities of Madison Middle School.

 The new facility is also to be the home offices for The Spotlight Foundation charity and the Spotlight Players, the adult acting troupe of the Spotlight Acting School. Both of these groups are charged with a mission to raise funds and provide financial aid for low income and special needs students.

KaSandra Barnes DMD

alumni spotlight.fw

KaSandra Barnes DMD
KaSandra Barnes DMD

Let me begin by saying that I am honored to have been asked to be the first featured “spotlight” for the acting school. It is most certainly true that the children’s Spotlight Acting School will always have a special place in my heart. When I graduated from Madison Southern High School in 2006, I was honored and excited to have been asked by Mrs. Kathie J. R. Bettler to join in her vision for a children’s acting school–one that had a sole purpose of giving the children of our community the chance to perform. From the very beginning, it was never about fancy sets, beautiful costumes, cool lighting, or even bringing in revenue. It was about the kids. Period. That is why Kathie’s legacy still lives on to this day and continues to help children foster their own senses of self during crucial developmental years. It was not uncommon for kids to come to us shy and unsure of themselves only to become the bright, shining stars taking center stage in our shows. It was truly amazing and rewarding to bear witness to such transformations over and over again. Continue reading KaSandra Barnes DMD

Disney’s The Jungle Book Kids (musical)

The Jungle Book Kids
The Jungle Book Kids

Kipling wrote the jungle book back in 1894 and over time there have been countless renditions of this timeless story. After being disappointed by the public’s reaction to the sword in the Stone, Walt Disney decided to be more involved with the production of his next film. Walt chose Kipling’s the jungle book as the basis for his 19th animated feature and eventually settled on veteran screenwriter Larry Clemens to produce the story. Upon giving Clemens a copy of Kipling’s book, Walt Disney said “the first thing I want you to do, is not to read it”. You see, Walt thought that Kipling’s story was too dark for children but he loved the characters and the main plot line. Continue reading Disney’s The Jungle Book Kids (musical)