AMITE — More than a dozen youths — most with little or no stage experience — gathered on the homemade stage at Amite Little Theatre last week to test their singing skills during a summer drama camp.
The camp, called Let’s Sing Disney, was for children 8 and older and focused on teaching youths how to properly sing a selection of popular Disney tunes.
Mikayla Douglas, 8, of Amite, enrolled in the camp to have something fun to do, but she’s now learned “how long to hold my breath when I’m singing.”
Trinatte Scymour, 9, of Kentwood, realized just days into the camp that learning to sing properly has actually helped her deal better with her asthma.
“It seems to help (my asthma) by breathing through my stomach,” Trinatte said.
Brooke Tuminello, 11, of Amite, said she, too, has learned breathing techniques that can help her sing better and carry notes longer.
Theater Director Liz Addington said the camp helps the youngsters learn the proper way to sing, how to read music and the basics of theater performance. She also wants the children to gain confidence onstage, learn to create their own theater programs and design their own costumes.
“There are a lot of talented kids in Tangipahoa Parish,” Addington said, adding that she plans to have talent scouts visit the theater company.
“Some of them didn’t want to get up on stage, and now we can’t get them off,” Addington said.
Camp counselor and volunteer Sidney Polezcek, 15, a theater student who attends Sumner High School in Kentwood, said his goal is to teach the students about performing onstage and to keep them entertained.
“I want to lead them to acting and help my own acting career,” he said.
Emma Trecost, 9, has learned to sing and alleviate her stage fright, which she said she overcame in just a few short days.
In addition to singing, the youths created tie-dyed T-shirts, picture frames and engaged in other arts and crafts.
The Amite Little Theatre was formed in summer 2012 as part of the Louisiana Center for Theatrical Arts and, without a permanent home, staged its activities in the Amite Community Center, Addington said. To drum up support and potential actors, the group traveled throughout the north shore area talking to groups and garnering interest in theater.
Their first production was “Eat, Drink and Be Murdered,” a dinner theater production that starred David Teague, Ruth Frizell, Mike Agnello, Clint Musgrove, Ann Labarbara, Carol Brooke, Angela Rooney and Victoria Rooney, and was directed by Addington. The dinner theater was such a hit that, in 2013, Amite Little Theatre produced its second murder mystery dinner show, “Dealt a Deadly Hand,” which starred Frizell, Teague, Kay Saragusa, Carrie Benetiz and Robert Addington.
Today, the theater company, which is still growing, is housed in an old building on Central Street behind the Chamber of Commerce building. Liz Addington hopes to add two dinner theater performances a year — one in the spring and one in the fall — to a host of other upcoming performances.
Camps will continue next week, and a camp for youths 10 and older, called Auditioning and Scene Study, will begin June 23. “Snow White” will begin July 7 for children ages 7 to 12 and Storybook Classics will begin July 28 for children 7 and older.
For information, contact Liz Addington at (985) 215-1307 or visit www.amitelittletheatre.com.
The Amite Little Theatre is located at 103 SE Central Ave.