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Bring on the drama!

By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably been tempted to tell your child to cease the dramatics from time to time. However, there is one organization in town where kids are encouraged to bring the drama.
The Johnson County Young Artists (JCYA) held a weeklong theater camp that began on July 13 and catered to a diverse group of youths from across Johnson County. The JCYA received a generous grant from the Johnson County Community Foundation in order to make this camp possible and thereby helping create an unforgettable experience for all those that participated.
The majority of the camp took place at the Johnson County/Mountain City Community Center. Community Center staff members were eager to lend a hand with the camp and the use of the facilities was imperative in order to make the camp possible. Heritage Hall also opened its doors to the JCYA. The use of the Heritage Hall stage was essential and the experience helped to inspire a feeling of stardom in each camper.
The first day of camp was dedicated to improvisation. Campers played various games targeted at helping them hone their imaginations as well as inspiring them to be confident on stage. With the help of counselors Tayla Clark, Hannah Arnett, Kristen Branch, Jacob McGlamery, Abby Arnett, Rory Springer, Tatiana Gonçalves and Javana Gonçalves, the campers also worked to create their own plays complete with backdrops.
The students also enjoyed instruction by teachers from Barter Theatre in Abingdon who worked to teach the fundamentals of acting as well as the finer points of technical stage terms. The students were asked to take notes throughout the course of the week in journals that were issued to them. Importance was placed upon retaining the information learned at camp in order to apply it to future performances.
Students also enjoyed musical performances by local talents Mike and Lydia Nichols. Counselor Abby Arnett accompanied by the talented Maggie Aldridge also performed for the eager campers.
Various craft projects also took place throughout the week including the creation of dioramas. Campers were asked to recreate a favorite scene from a movie or play within their dioramas. The exercise was aimed at giving students an overview into set design and was explained as such.
The last day of camp was a celebration in which campers enjoyed pizza for lunch and a trip to the Mountain City pool.
Children that take part in art programs are scientifically proven to excel academically. In addition to inspiring creativity, taking part in theatre is an excellent way to boost a child’s confidence.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.