Children’s theater camp draws out potential

ENGLEWOOD — Cheryl Hastings and Patty Tuff started developing a theater summer camp in October and now they’re looking to introduce a new generation to the world of theater.

The Lemondrops Summer Theater Camp is designed to teach kids 7 to 10 years old the fundamentals of the stage. The three-week camp will be at the Lemon Bay Playhouse from 9 a.m. to noon July 8-26.

“We decided what our activities will be teaching acting to children,” Hastings said. “We developed a curriculum that included improvisation, body movement, theater games and theater etiquette like blocking.”    Hastings said they’ll play a game like tic-tac-toe to develop blocking and tongue twisters to help with diction and projection.

“Hand puppetry is helpful for shy kids,” she said.

Hastings said some actors struggle when it comes to theater etiquette.

“We feel children are pretty flexible,” she said. “We’ll help them understand the fundamentals.”

Hastings has 15 years of experience on the stage. Prior to volunteering at the Lemon Bay Playhouse, she worked with the developmentally disabled.

Tuff, the programs and children’s director at Englewood United Methodist Church, has experience on the stage since her high school days studying dance and theater.

“I love the theater. Practicing doesn’t become a chore if it’s something you enjoy,” Tuff said. “I’d practice dancing six to eight hours a day. When you’re on the dance floor, you have to honor the choreographer. When you are one, you have creative freedom as long as it’s within the scope of the project.”

Prior to moving to Florida, Tuff worked for Drama Kids International for three years. Tuff’s work with Lemon Bay Playhouse afforded her the opportunity to work with children again.

“Working with Cheryl’s been fantastic,” she said. “We’re grateful for Lemon Bay Playhouse and their staff and they’ve been amazing.”

The camp has 14 registered children and will be capping the camp at 24. Tuff said there might be room for expansion if there’s an overflow of students. Hastings and Tuff are recruiting two interns from Lemon Bay High School.

“We would like to see how it goes,” Hastings said. “We may expand next year if it’s successful. Lemon Bay Playhouse is committed to the community.”

For more information, go to www. or call 941-475-6756.



About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News,, and Tampa Tribune.
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