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BLT summer drama camp coming up July 14-25

A beautiful girl is cursed by an evil witch to spend her days in a death-like slumber. Only true love’s kiss will break spell. The classic story will unfold in the Brookhaven’s Little Theatre’s 2014 Summer Drama Camp’s rendition of “Sleeping Beauty.”

This will be the 10th anniversary for the youth summer camp, set for July 14-25 from 9 a.m. to noon, and camp registration has already begun.

First through seventh grades are eligible to participate and teenagers are encouraged to volunteer as counselors.

Campers will experience different aspects of theater production, ranging from arts and crafts to acting exercises. Each day participants will rotate between four different theater stations in preparation for a public performance of “Sleeping Beauty” July 24 and 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Haven Theater.

“The benefit is that you learn a lot about yourself by pushing your own physical and emotional boundaries,” said JoAnna Sproles, camp producer/director. “Effective communication skills and self confidence help you in life.”

Sproles said that the camp leaders do not push children, but give them a supportive environment so they can feel comfortable stepping outside their comfort zone.

Ten years ago Sproles and Emily Henderson began the camp as a way for their children to learn about theater and have an activity during the summer. Today the camp has 40-60 participants each year and every staff member is a volunteer.

“There were not a lot of camp opportunities available in Brookhaven,” Sproles said. “The theater shut down in the summer, so we decided that it would be a good outlet for kids.”

All proceeds from the camp go to the Save the Haven fund, which is used for updating theater equipment and renovating and restoring parts of the historic Haven building, home to one of the longest running community theater troupes in Mississippi.

The Little Theatre group originally performed around Southwest Mississippi in various settings until the 1980s, when they bought the Haven building. Since then, the group has added summer camps to their playbill.

“It’s progressively become a really important part of the community because it offers more opportunities and more choices for people of all age groups,” Sproles said.

The summer drama camp is the BLT’s main fundraiser for the fund. The camps raise $5,000 to $10,000 each summer depending on the number of participants.

“We still have work that needs to be done in the auditorium, and we are looking to renovate the space next door and possibly work to incorporate it in to the lobby area,” said Sproles.

Camp registration forms can be found at the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, the Recreation Department and the Lincoln County public library. Teenage counselors will receive community service hours for participation and their application form is available in the same locations.