Nestled amidst the beauty of the Black Hills lies a unique opportunity for young aspiring performers—the BHP Jr. Performing Arts Camp—an outreach of the Black Hills Playhouse.

This vibrant camp, set against the backdrop of nature’s grandeur, offers a nurturing environment where children can unleash their creativity, hone their theatrical skills, and forge lasting friendships.

“The camps started in 2016, and we wanted to give the kids in this region the opportunity to do a more intense study of theater while experiencing nature,” stated education director Deb Workman.

The junior camp aims to foster creativity, build confidence, and ignite a lifelong passion for the performing arts.

Throughout the week-long sleepaway camp, students will act, sing, dance, and rehearse this year’s chosen musical, Frozen JR.

“The camp is equipped with so many areas for small, medium, or large groups.” – jack bledsoe

“This camp will culminate into a performance,” said Jack Bledsoe, education program coordinator. “We go through an entire production process in the forest, which is a lot of fun.”

The BHP Junior Camps cater to different age groups, providing age-appropriate instruction and performance opportunities.

The 5th-8th Grade Camp focuses on building fundamental theater skills and fostering a love for the stage. Campers can explore all aspects of performing arts in a supportive environment.

These campers will be allowed to develop their acting, dancing, and singing skills through hands-on activities, rehearsals, and performances.

The 8th-12th Grade Camp is designed for those looking to dive deeper into the theater world. These campers delve deeper into acting, singing, dancing, and technical theater.

“For those not looking to be on stage, the technical theater track is perfect,” said Workman.

On-site classes and rehearsals encourage the actors to explore their range, pushing their boundaries and honing their talents.

Campers will learn from experienced theater professionals who enthusiastically share their knowledge and expertise. These dedicated mentors help campers develop their skills, gain confidence, and discover new possibilities within themselves.

Workman, Bledsoe, and their staff aim to keep a low-pressure environment, as theater can be daunting for those who have never experienced being on stage.

“We’re meeting kids where they’re at with their skill sets,” explained Bledsoe. “We have beginner performers to advanced performers, so we try to cater the camp to make everyone feel comfortable.”

Each camp begins with ice-breakers, getting-to-know-you activities, and learning the show material before auditions.

“We try to allow the campers to get to know us before we dive into auditions because they can be intimidating, especially if it’s their first time,” shared Bledsoe.

Performances of the Past

Here are a few of the original & licensed works the BHP Jr. Performing Arts Camps have previously performed:
» The Broadway Junior Revue
» Cinderella
» The Creepy Kooky Cabaret
» Footloose
» Mystery of Crimson House
» Nifty Fifties Variety Showcase
» Oklahoma at Placerville
» Rocking Robinhood
» Zoomaway Camp

After the cast list is announced, the campers hit the ground running.

When they’re not rehearsing, campers and counselors take advantage of the nature surrounding them.

“We close off an ample amount of time to explore, take guided hikes, and do camp-like activities,” said Bledsoe.

He added, “It’s cool to see the mixture of their time where they get to choose what they do, and the time they’re in rehearsals to see the different ways they express themselves creatively.”

For the junior camp, the emphasis is not just on theatrical performances, but also on holistic development.

“When campers arrive, they turn in their phones, allowing us all to connect by talking and looking at each other,” said Workman. “When you add that unplugging and connection, the creativity is amazing.”

“All of our programs feed into what we do at the Black Hills Playhouse.” – Deb Workman

The Black Hills Playhouse is also deeply committed to creating a safe and welcoming space for all campers. Their emphasis on inclusion ensures every child feels valued, respected, and encouraged to express themselves freely on and off stage

“From the moment they enter camp, we let kids know that it’s a safe environment and we accept them, no matter what,” expressed Workman. “We also show them what that looks like from each other and when you provide that safety of, ‘You can be you, and that’s awesome.’”

“With the balance of camp and the arts there are so many creative outlets and choices for the kids, and we honor those choices,” added Bledsoe.

Beyond the thrill of performing on stage, the junior camp provides a supportive community where lifelong friendships are forged. Campers collaborate, support, and inspire one another, creating bonds that endure far beyond the duration of camp.

Workman notes many alumni have fondly recalled memories and friendships they formed at camp, cherishing them as treasures of their childhood.

“It blows me away what’s coming out of this camp,” said Workman.

Each camp session culminates in an exciting final performance, where campers work together to bring a beloved production to life and showcase their hard work and growth.

“It’s always a blast,” said Bledsoe.

For more information, visit BLACKHILLSPLAYHOUSE.COM+
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