Northwest Florida summer camps promise theater, enrichment, art

Jan Waddy
Northwest Florida Daily News
Summer camps

ECTC Summer Camps: May 31-Aug. 1

MIRAMAR BEACH — This summer, Emerald Coast Theatre Co. (ECTC) presents 10 different summer camp programs, including popular musicals “Hamilton,” “Puffs (Harry Potter)," “Sponge Bob,” “Seussical,” the staging of a full-length musical, “Matilda,” plus hands-on workshops for theater “techies” and film buffs.

Altogether there are 16 ECTC program sessions ranging from one-, two-or three-week camps that will be take place during the summer, May 31 to Aug. 1.

ECTC Summer Camps will be offered in three locations along the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast: Miramar Beach (ECTC performance space), Seaside (Seaside Neighborhood School) and Panama City (Gulf Coast State College). Theater camps are offered for all ages, from rising kindergarteners to rising high school seniors.

"Summer camps are the perfect time for children to expend that extra energy creatively and ECTC has a whole line up of creative ways to have fun," said ECTC co-founder and producing artistic director Nathanael Fisher.

For the first time, ECTC will stage a full-length musical production as part of its summer educational program, Roald Dahl’s “Matilda the Musical.” Another first is the recruitment of 10 performing arts “experts” — including theater professors and professional Broadway actors, singers and producers — who will join ECTC’s artist/teacher production team to offer a wide range of performing art lessons and workshops including vocal, song and monologue coaching; audition and acting techniques; Laban efforts, movement, dance, choreography and even stage combat.

"The Musical Theatre Intensive is our response to our students' growing desire to be challenged in the craft of theater,” Fisher said. “This opportunity to work alongside ECTC professionals and professional guest artists is a special and unique experience."

The lineup of expert performing arts experts includes Broadway producer Bruce Long, Broadway performers Michelle Dowdy and Jordan Wolfe (song coaching), theater professor/actor/comedian Jason Hedden (Laban effort/movement), Shakespearean actor/combat trainer James "Clint" Mahle (stage combat), and professional performers Ritchie Jackson (auditioning techniques/improve), Lauren Kolmetz (movement/musical theater dance), Hillary Marshall (finding character through singing), Hank Rion (acting techniques) and Skylar Smith (vocal health/breathing). Select ECTC staff also will participate including Nathanael Fisher (monologue workshop) and Rebeca Lake (stage makeup). Including the ECTC staff, there will be a total of 12 “expert” artist presenters. For more information on the ECTC Musical Intensive “experts” visit

Scholarships are available for select summer camps; apply online at Discounts offered for multiple registrations. To see the full summer camp line up and register, visit or call 850-684-0323.

Camp Invention at Bluewater Elementary: June 21-25

NICEVILLE — Camp Invention, a nationally recognized, nonprofit summer enrichment program, is coming to Bluewater Elementary School the week of June 21-25.

Camp Invention challenges children in grades K-6 to tap into their natural curiosity and use their creativity to solve problems. Through hands-on activities, Camp Invention promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning; builds confidence, leadership, perseverance and resourcefulness; and encourages entrepreneurship.

Families can choose Camp Invention's in-person or at-home option. And to address any uncertainty that families face when planning for the upcoming summer camp season, Camp Invention now offers the Peace of Mind Promise — where parents can switch their experience format up to six weeks before their camp start date.

For its in-person option, Camp Invention will continue to adjust its in-person programs to comply with best practice safety measures to ensure the health of campers, teachers, families and communities. These precautions may include daily health screenings for all children and Program Team Members; the use of masks; social distancing within classrooms; providing individualized materials to limit sharing; increased sanitation practices and scheduled hygiene checks within the building; and smaller student groups with staggered lunch schedules. Programs will follow all state and regional COVID-19 guidelines.

A hybrid program featuring both offline activities and optional online sessions, Camp Invention at home enables hands-on exploration by delivering an Innovator's Toolkit, packed full of fun materials, directly to each participant. With four themed activities, step-by-step guides and an Innovator Workshop, the program brings imagination, creative problem solving and fun to children's living rooms. During the at-home format, local certified instructors take the campers through the day's activities, with the children choosing to attend the four daily online collaborative sessions or move at their own pace.

For more information or to register, visit

ADSO Kids' Summer Art Camp: June 21-25, July 12-16

FORT WALTON BEACH — The Arts and Design Society again offers the opportunity for children to participate in creating visual arts in its summer Kids' Art Camp. Classes begin on Monday, June 21, with clay artistry and feature a different medium each day, including drawing, painting, and other media. Each week ends with an art show and reception for the families, during the second half of Friday's class.

There are four sessions of the camp, organized by age groups. Session 1, for ages 6-8, is June 21-25 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; and Session 2, for ages 9-13, is June 21-25, from 1 to 3 p.m. Session 3, for ages 6-11, is July 12-16 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; and Session 4, for ages 6-11, is July 12-16 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The cost for each of the week-long sessions is $70 per child ($60 for the children of ADSO members). Pre-registration is required by Friday, June 12, for June sessions, and by Friday, July 3, for July sessions. Classes will take place at the ADSO Art Center, 17 First St. SE, Fort Walton Beach. For more information or to register, call 244-1271 or visit


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