Tag Archives: Spotlight Acting School

Spotlight Acting School’s First Theatre-A-Thon

Hello all! I hope all is well and everyone is staying creative! Here at Spotlight things are booming! I wanted to share and give some insight on something coming up that you may not be familiar with.

Over the summer I went a Theatre teacher professional development day, where Theatre teachers from everywhere in Kentucky came to meet and exchange ideas/advice. One of the ideas I really liked came from a local Theatre teacher that raved about the experience. It sounded like so much fun I wondered if Spotlight could have a spin at it.

Thus on Sunday October the 18th Spotlight Acting School is having it’s first Theatre-A-Thon.

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What is a Theatre-A-Thon, you may ask? Well search no more!

Our Theatre-A-Thon is where the whole cast of Alice in Wonderland will gather for six hours at our scene shop at the Spotlight Playhouse. We will be teaching different aspects of theatre throughout the entire day and working on the production.
Spotlight’s ambition is to share the art of performance with our students. A major part of theatre that many do not recognize is behind the scenes work, also known as technical theatre. (Fun fact: Many times it is easier to get a career doing technical theatre than it is with performance.)
During this day, the students will be learning invaluable lessons such as set building, costume construction, and make up design. These are skills that they will need to know in order to become a well-rounded performer. It also helps them gain an appreciation for their show since they were so involved with the process of creating their show, from making their characters to their set pieces come alive.
We are also taking this opportunity to fundraise for Spotlight Performing Arts Inc. This nonprofit organization’s mission is to provide scholarships and financial assistance for students. Did you know that in the 11 years Spotlight has been performing not one student has been turned away for inability to pay? To read all about Spotlight Performing Arts, click here! The cast was sent out with pledge forms, which they will use to fill up with sponsors to support them for every hour they work at the Theatre-A-Thon. For example if someone pledges $1 per hour of the Theatre-A-Thon, they will be donating six dollars. If someone pledges to donate $1,000 an hour they would be my hero! Wishful thinking, right?
On top of all of these benefits of the Theatre-A-Thon, the event will also be valuable time for the cast to bond with each other. It’s basically just going to be one big theatre palooza. The students will be provided lunch and snacks throughout the day, as well as jamming out to some Broadway music. They were super excited when I mentioned I would be making Sarah’s famous Oreo balls to bring.
You can follow our activities that day by entering the hashtag, #SpotlightTheatreAThon on Facebook and Instagram, where we will be taking many pictures and videos of the day’s adventures. I encourage everyone to check it out the 18th! Also if there is a way you would like to get involved please call (859)986-0423 to sign up to sponsor a student or make a donation to Spotlight Performing Arts. Regardless, make sure you come and watch these talented actors perform the very first production at Spotlight’s new campus, Spotlight Theatre on October 29th and 30th at 7:00 and November 1st, at 2:00. You are in for a big, not to mention crazy, treat.
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Costume Construction for Charlie

The Charlie Brown cast is not only working hard on the show itself but also their costumes. The cast, directors, and parents have worked together to create costumes for each character.

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“It’s amazing what a little fabric and a hot glue gun can do”
Sarah Bucknam

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“ It has been so much fun watching these 6 kids get so excited about their costumes. We were told that one student even turned down a day at the pool because he knew a piece of his costume was scheduled to be delivered that day.”
– Aj Jeck

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“When Caraline found out she cast as Sally, she was beyond excited, even though her character wears pink! Caraline is not a fan of pink but “its all for the cause” she says! 😀

Measuring and sewing her polka dot dress and lacing her white shoes with black strings to match her character has been exciting. Caraline can’t wait until the entire Peanuts cast is together in full costume!”

– Katie Perkins: Sally’s Mom

Make sure to mark your calendars to come see the finished products!

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Matching Shirts for the Charlie Brown Clan

When cast shirts walked in the door on Saturday morning, you would have thought it was Christmas. The face of every student lit-up and they couldn’t get the shirts on fast enough.

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You may notice a few things about these shirts that are a little different…

Instead of a cast list, each student was able to personalize the back of their shirt with their character name. Parents,  directors, and Spotlight fans were also given this opportunity. Some of us got REALLY creative!  _U1R8202

Each shirt is also a different color. Can you figure out why each students shirt is the color that it is?

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Answer:  The design was printed on different colors because the cast wanted their shirt to be the color that their character wears. Bright colors play a predominate role in this show and our students wanted their cast shirts to represent that.

The cast is in love with their shirts and I will be surprised if they will every take them off!

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Make sure you mark your calendars so that you can come see these crazy kids put on an AMAZING SHOW!

 

 Sponsored by Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives

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KEEP CALM & DO THEATER

Charlie Brown rehearsals are still going strong. As we have mentioned in previous blogs, this show was created to challenge our students who were ready for an extra push. We have challenged the students with the difficulty of choreography and music but also with the rehearsal intensity. Spotlight students typically rehearse every Saturday for 1-3 hours but we pushed the Charlie Brown cast much harder. Last week Charlie Brown rehearsed every night for three hours and for EIGHT hours on Friday. We choreographed and cleaned ALL musical numbers.

“When deciding to conduct such an intense week, I had my worries. This week could have gone one of two ways. The kids could have loved every second and come out stronger actors OR we could have killed them(not literally). I am pleased to say that each student arrived and left with an amazing amount of energy and an increased love and passion for the ARTS!
Sarah Bucknam

 

Mya Hunt and Dylan Maynard practicing Harmony

We asked the Charlie Brown cast a few questions after this crazy week to get their opinions. You can find some of their answers below…

1.) What have you enjoyed most about being a part of the Charlie Brown Cast?
2.) What are you most excited about?
3.) Share your favorite memory from this past week.

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Caraline Perkins: Sally Brown

  1. I enjoy more one-on-one time with the directors because there aren’t as many people. I love this group of people too!
  2. I am so excited about performing at the schools because I’ve never gotten to do that before!
  3. When Matthew brought his iPod and we were listening to broadway radio. “Naughty”, from Matilda, came on and we went crazy! We were jumping and dancing all over the place!

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Jean Luc Gallien: Charlie Brown

  1. Learning new dances and getting to hang out with friends.
  2. Seeing how the play comes together and getting to perform at different schools
  3. Everybody sharing their costume ideas. It’s hard to think of one thing that stands out, because I’m happy every time I go!!

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Mya Hunt: Lucy

  1.  Singing practice, acting, dancing,and being part of the cast.
  2. Performing for people and doing the traveling shows.
  3. When we dressed up during rehearsal and we acted wild and crazy. Oh yeah….. and planning Sarah and Aj ‘ s wedding.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

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The 7 Golden Things to Bring to Every Rehearsal

A common question I get from parents time to time is, “What does my child need to bring to rehearsal?”

Now that Spotlight Acting School is constantly in the middle some kind of rehearsal (right now we are in full swing of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and starting up Aladdin and Alice in Wonderland. Cinderella and Arsenic and Old Lace audition this weekend), I thought it might be appropriate to share some rehearsal essentials. These are seven things that any actor needs to really thrive during practice!  

1. Closed-Toe Shoes

So many times, especially during summer, it is easy to throw on some flip flops and head on to rehearsal. However, any kind of open toed shoes, such as flip flops or sandals, are not a good choice for rehearsal, and I’m not meaning in a fashion sense. Not only can it be difficult to dance and act in sandals, it can also be dangerous. I can’t count how many stubbed toes could have been prevented. Tennis shoes are always a safe choice that allow actors to move about comfortably. There are also jazz and character shoes to consider as well!

2. Water

I cannot stress this one enough! What many people do not realize about Theatre is that it is an extremely athletic activity. For example, by the eighth time we practice a certain dance in just one rehearsal, it feels like a workout! Young actors (and seasoned ones as well) need to stay hydrated for obvious health reasons. Here at Spotlight, we encourage students to take breaks as they feel they need to, so to have at least one bottle of water nearby is very handy. There are also some instances where we rehearse in a place with no water fountain, so it is always good to get in the habit of bringing your own bottle.

3. Comfortable Clothes

I typically prefer to wear athletic clothes to rehearsal because of how much activity just an hour and a half can provide. Although athletic clothes are not required, rehearsal clothes should be very comfortable. If your young actor does not feel like he or she can move freely in his/her outfit, they should probably change. Actors have enough to worry about singing, dancing, and acting. They don’t have time to be concerned over a wardrobe malfunction!

4. Script

I’m pretty sure I just heard every director in the world go, “Amen!” Here at Spotlight we value our scripts so much that we even have every cast take an oath that they will take care of their script. Sometimes it is inevitable that a script gets left behind, however the more rehearsals that script can make it there the better! Even when students have their lines memorized, scripts are important to practice so students can take notes, go over their lines, or follow along as we review the play.

5. A Pencil

Well, just like school we ask our students to come and take notes, but these notes aren’t for math or science. Of course, we know not every student can read or write, which is totally fine. For those who can, we have found note-taking super helpful for our students to remember what blocking and what stage directions they are instructed to do later. A lot of questions and forgotten direction can be fixed if our students write them down in their scripts.

6. Practice before Practice

This sort of goes hand in hand with bringing your script: knowing the stuff in it. Now parents, I know that most of the time by opening night you know the show as well as the kids do, but that means that they know it too! To push students to their full acting potential, several weeks before dress rehearsal week, we encourage students to be “off book,” which means to have their lines memorized. Because most of our shows take place over the span of several months, if rationed and planned, this is an easy feat. Memorizing a line a night may suffice, or perhaps practicing a dance a couple times before the next rehearsal will do. I know many students like to listen to the music in their car. As a director, it is very easy to tell the difference of when students do go home and practice and when they don’t.

7. Positive Attitude

Because some rehearsals can be difficult it is always best, but hard, to come with a positive outlook on things. I know it is difficult especially on the young ones to repeat something over and over again. It does help the whole atmosphere when students keep enjoying themselves and the rehearsal. Do we expect everyone to always wear a smile? No, though it would be nice. 🙂 However, rehearsal should be a fun atmosphere where children get to express themselves in the arts, and learn about how to better their performance skills. Here at Spotlight, we strive to make rehearsals a positive experience for everyone, therefore negative attitudes should be left at the door.

Of course there are other things every actor can bring to a rehearsal that fit their individual needs. Some students bring healthy snacks in case they get a little hungry. Some students bring notebooks to occupy their time when they are not learning a lesson or on the stage. Electronic devices are never encouraged to be used during rehearsal, including game consoles and cellphones. A cellphone can be used after rehearsal if the student needs to contact their parents or rides.

With these things your young actor can feel prepared and ready for rehearsal!

Do Something Creative Everyday

For those of you that are justing joining us here at Spotlight Acting School, you may  not know that a famous motto we have here, from Spotlight’s founder, is, “Do something creative everyday.”

This is something that many artistic children do naturally anyways, but students at Spotlight are particularly encourage to let their inner creativity out!

Since summer is coming to an end this week for most of our students and our semester begins this Saturday with auditions for Aladdin and Alice in Wonderland and next Saturday for Cinderella and Arsenic and Old Lace, I thought it would be a good time to share some creativity that has happened over the summer with some staff and some of our students!

Sarah Bucknam

As a director here at Spotlight, Sarah typically stays busy all the time. Seriously, she is one busy bee. On top of Shrek the Musical, the multiple camps we’ve had this summer, and directing You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Sarah has also been very active with her photography business! In case you didn’t know Sarah is the creator and owner of Pretty Pixels Photography, where she takes all kind of photos, from weddings to dress rehearsals to family portraits! In fact, some of Sarah’s photography made it in the Kentucky Living magazine!

“Pretty Pixels Photography gives me the chance to be creative! I am pleased to say that I have done something creative EVERY DAY this summer.” -Sarah

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The Perkins’ Family

You might have seen Caraline on stage before in shows such as, Little Mermaid, Jungle Book, Aristocats, Peter Pan, Shrek, and upcoming in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. This summer her little brother and sister, Zach and Lainey, joined Spotlight with Oh Those Summer Nights. On top of having cupcake competitions to making movies this summer, this bunch loves to perform so much they decided they wanted a stage in their backyard. If that’s not creative, I’m not sure what is!

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Katie U.

Earlier this summer you may have seen Katie onstage singing about how Farquaad’s guards blew her condos down in Shrek the Musical and then in Oh Those Summer Nights, but the fun didn’t stop there. In fact, Katie went to MADD Camp (Music, Arts, Drama and Dance), where she got to learn and express her creativity for an entire week!

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Chad & Letha Hembree

Chad and Letha Hembree are pretty much creative all the time. They kind of have to be, being the owners of Spotlight Acting School. They have had an eventful summer, from Shrek the Musical, to Oh Those Summer Nights, to the multiple camps, to planning and preparing for this semester. There’s been a lot of creativity going on in the Hembree household. Even on their vacation in Florida they were hard at work, researching and participating in mystery dinners.

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Yes, this is Mr. Chad participating in a dinner show.

Katie W.

Katie W. was also in Shrek the Musical hitting those wicked notes as the Dragon. Not long after Shrek ended, Katie packed her bags for three weeks to participate in Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. Katie looked like she had a blast!

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Karlie

Karlie has had an eventful summer! After traveling across the country she visited the Oregon Film Museum and was a cowgirl out west! Karlie didn’t have to go too far to be artsy though. Just in her backyard she made a birdhouse for her clubhouse and colorful lanterns out of tin cans.

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Gwen

Gwen sang about being “too off the wall” in Shrek the Musical this summer as Humpty Dumpty. I think her choice in hair color is just fine…in fact I think it’s awesome! As soon as Shrek was over, Gwen dyed her hair BLUE (and a gorgeous shade of blue, I may add).

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Brandi (Me)

I have had a lot of fun this summer with directing or being involved with all of our productions here at Spotlight. Something creative I like to do outside of Spotlight is crochet. I love making scarves, blankets, dishcloths, accessories, and this summer a couple of photo props for Pretty Pixels Photography! One of my favorite things I have crocheted this summer has to be this baby blanket I made for a good friend.

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Critley

This summer Critley has had the opportunity to not only be involved with several of Spotlight’s productions, but she has also gotten a job writing for the Berea Citizen. She does a great job covering local news in our community!

“It gives it a chance to use the other part of my degree, English! New’s and writing has always been something I’ve loved. I even used to publish a family newspaper when I was 9 . I would collect family stories, birthdays and events . Then I would print them and deliver them to my family months. So I guess you could say I’m back to my roots!”

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With our semester starting on Saturday I am excited to hear more stories about how our students spent their summer creatively. I bet if I had a list of every single student that did something artsy then I could write a whole book! I love our students and how artistic and talented they are, thus I am looking forward to another fantastic semester at Spotlight Acting School!

You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown

Spotlight Acting school is first and foremost, a school. We work hard to make sure that every second a student is in our care, they are being challenged and are learning. Over the past year, we have noticed that some of our students were progressing so quickly that they were no longer being pushed or challenged when working with their age group. To make sure that every student enrolled was receiving the amount of attention/information they needed to continue growing, we created an intermediate group. For the intermediate group’s first season, we picked six students who went above and beyond what was asked of them in the last several productions. These students had presented not only talent but also drive and a passion for their art. 

Every group presents a production at the end of their session. The production that was chosen for the intermediate group was You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown is usually performed by six adults, but Spotlight had faith that these youngsters could pull it off! Directors Sarah Bucknam and Anthony Jeck began rehearsals early July. 

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“We couldn’t be more proud of this group of kids. We knew going into this show that it was going to be challenging, but our students have surpassed every obstacle thus far. It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with students who have a passion for theater like we do!”
-Sarah Bucknam 

“It’s always wonderful watching all of our students grow and learn, from the least to most experienced.  These 6 kids, though, have taken the more advanced and demanding instruction in stride, and it’s inspiring to watch their passion, talent, and enthusiasm.  I hope we can continue to give this sort of opportunity to these students and other deserving students in the future.”
– AJ Jeck
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Spotlight is not the only one that sees the potential in this small group. Director, Sarah Bucknam, recently approached Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives to brag on the cast. East Kentucky was so impressed with this group that they have decided to sponsor You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown for $7,000. East Kentucky will be presenting Charlie Brown and the other peanuts with the check before their first performance (September 25th) at the Spotlight Playhouse. 

 

Make sure to mark your calendars so you can come support this amazing cast and check out our new home in Berea! 

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Shrek Diaries Day 5

Good afternoon!

With only six more days until opening night for our production of Shrek the Musical, we decided we should share the creative projects and hard work our cast, crew, and parents have been coming up with!

Yesterday I shared an exciting preview of our three little pigs’ costumes. Today I’ll give a little sneak peak of one of Fiona’s costumes.

Day 5 of Shrek Diaries: The Wedding Dress

Now since this is a wedding dress, I can’t share the whole outfit. After all, it is bad luck, right?

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I can reveal that it is big and poofy! And white. And at a price real brides would swoon for.

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Made from white tulle and elastic, the skirt part of the dress had to make for a quick costume change. Thus I can say no more without spoiling too much of the production!

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You don’t need to RSVP for this wedding though, cuz it’s taking place in Shrek the Musical! Come see the whole outfit along with a production you cannot miss June 11-14 at Madison Middle auditorium. For more info click here!

For more of our #Shrekdiaries check out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 and stay tuned in the upcoming days before the production!

 

Shrek Diaries Day 4

Good morning all! This Brandi.

In anticipation of Shrek the Musical, which premieres in just ONE WEEK (hold on I think I might have just had a minor heart attack), we decided we should share the projects and hard work our cast, crew, and parents are contributing to the show.

Day 4 of Shrek Diaries: Pigs in Pink

Today’s post will be about the fairytale creatures we all know and love as the three little pigs. Except in this production this trio is a little spunkier than the traditional tale.

Unlike in the story you may know, these condo-owning, accented pigs don’t let anyone push them around! Plus, they’re stylish to boot.

The costumes are an assembled hodgepodge of pink! Look at their ears, that one of the pigs herself made:

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These look awesome Katie U.! Here is some more stuff that was collected and you can expect to see the pigs modeling.

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This stylish trio is one of the many reasons you don’t want to miss out on this production! Be sure you mark your calendars for June 11-14 to come see Shrek the Musical at Madison Middle auditorium, here in Richmond, KY.

For more #Shrekdiaries check out Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. Then stay tuned for more in the upcoming week before the production!

 

 

 

Shrek Diaries Day 3

Good morning all! This is Brandi writing here.

For anyone that was not aware, Spotlight Acting School’s Shrek the Musical premieres in just 9 more days! With so little time and so much being done behind the scenes in order to bring the audience a truly spectacular show, it’s hard not to share some of the work from our students, crew, and parents!

Day 1 I shared Dulocian wigs

Day 2 was ogre skin

Day 3 is something you may find cute, yet disgusting. And this time I’m not talking about ogres.

Day 3 of Shrek Diaries: Dancing Rats

That’s right, rhythmic rodents. And I’m not talking about the singing, dancing three blind mice that are in the show either.

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Even if you don’t like rats, how can you not find these tiny cast members adorable? Director Sarah has creatively taken stuffed bears to make them into light weight rats!

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Why must they be light weight? Well that is because these rats will be dancing on top of Sarah’s feet, along with choreographer Kelly’s, cast member Sienna’s, and my own feet as well! Thus I will say no more, not to spoil too much of the show, but dancing rats is one of the many reasons for you not to miss this production June 11-14! For more information on the performances click here! Until then stay tuned for more previews with #Shrekdiaries.