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BLT Drama Camp numbers up; the big show begins tonight

DAILY LEADER / KATIE WILLIAMSON / Jenna Segura, 12 practices Wednesday as the evil witch, Morgana for the BLT children's production.

DAILY LEADER / KATIE WILLIAMSON / Jenna Segura, 12 practices Wednesday as the evil witch, Morgana for the BLT children’s production.

The 10th annual Brookhaven Little Theatre Drama Camp will present “Sleeping Beauty” tonight and Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Haven Theater.

With only two weeks to assign parts, learn lines and coach the 52 campers, the volunteers have had their hands full. Joanna Sproles, camp director, said this year’s enrollment has jumped from 38 campers last year.

“It’s the biggest group we’ve had in the last five years,” she said.

The camp is open to students entering the first through seventh grades, with counselors ranging from eighth graders through college age. The play only has 40 characters, so some of the parts are split. Sproles said she even created a whole new fairy group.

DAILY LEADER / KATIE WILLIAMSON / Evelyn Waterloo, almost 8, plays with her fairy wings (atop her head) Wednesday during practice for Brookhaven Little Theater's children's' production of Sleeping Beauty. The play will be presented today and Friday.

DAILY LEADER / KATIE WILLIAMSON / Evelyn Waterloo, almost 8, plays with her fairy wings (atop her head) Wednesday during practice for Brookhaven Little Theater’s children’s’ production of Sleeping Beauty. The play will be presented today and Friday.

The camp does have a tuition requirement, which goes into the Save the Haven fund. All money is this fund is specifically earmarked for building improvements at the theater, located on West Cherokee Street.

The camp began a decade ago when Sproles was speaking with a friend, Emily Henderson, and they were discussing what their children were going to do that summer. Sproles said most activities in Brookhaven are more recreational than educational, and they wanted something that offered both.

At the time, the Haven sat empty during the summer.

“I think of the building as a living, breathing thing, and it wants to be used,” Sproles said.

The drama camp addressed all issues.

Out of that, the BLTeens developed as a way for children to continue in the theater after they grew out of the drama camp.

Zach Morace was a child at the first drama camp, and now at 21, he has returned to help do the lighting for the show.

“I’m a theater kid,” he said. “I felt a little lost without it.”

Morace said since the first year the camp has grown a lot. Each year the sets, costumes and participation improve. He said he hopes the camp helps to contribute to the growth of the BLT within the community.

Two of this year’s cast members have participated since first grade and are now in their last year of eligibility. Bailey Pounds, playing Morgana, said she keeps coming back because she has always had fun with it.

“Every year I’m like ‘Oh, yeah, I actually got a part,'” she said.

Pounds got involved because her sister enjoyed it.

“My sister was so good at whatever part she did, and I wanted to be just like her,” she said.

Graci Malone, playing Queen Beatrice, Aurora’s mother, said she loves the friends she’s met through the years.

“And getting to stay two weeks with Mrs. Sarah (Lloyd),” she said.

Malone said she has learned the meaning behind the stories.

“I’ve learned I can come out of my shell more than I normally would,” she said.

Braxton King, playing King Alfred, Aurora’s father, said his favorite part was performing. He said he thinks the scenes he does with Queen Beatrice and Aurora will be humorous.

“Me and the person playing the mom, we’re both smaller than Aurora,” he said.

Admission is $5, and the doors will open at 5:45 p.m. No advanced tickets will be sold, but season tickets will be honored.