The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center began their education programs in 1998 with Theatre Thursdays. Following the excitement and success of the program, in 2001 the first musical theatre summer camp came into conception. WHBPAC has since built up its programming that ushers in more than 10,000 children per year.
The Arts Education Director at WHBPAC Kristen Poulakis says, “Our mission here at WHBPAC is to empower, engage, and educate youth and adults through high-quality, transformative performing arts and storytelling experiences by creating a safe and nurturing environment. We are a community theatre that prides ourselves on having accessible programing for all ages.”
The performing arts center never turns away any child who wants to be part of the experience. Kristen went on to say, “It is of this utmost importance that each student that enters our building to participate in an Arts Academy program is seen, heard, and acknowledged exactly where they are in their development in their theatre arts experience. Each student’s theatre experience is completely unique and special, and our goal is to meet each one ‘where they are’ and help them progress.”
WHBPAC has seven weeks of individual summer programs and masterclasses that accommodate all age groups. Three of the programs will then culminate in fully staged productions with sets, costumes, lighting, and so on, and all programs are run by a teaching staff that are top professionals in the performing arts field. It is certain to be a summer of fun, learning, and entertainment in the world of performing arts!
Kristen says, “I adore greeting students on their first day of camp. There is so much joy and excitement built up in anticipation to coming to theatre camp whether they have been coming for years or are completely new to our program. There is a palpable electricity in the air, and it creates such a fun environment to learn and create. I also love seeing how much they grow in our program after only a few short days. It is truly astounding.”
Not only does Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center have a summer full of amazing camps, but they are also a year-round Arts Academy that has many programs, not only for children, but for age groups 5-95. Some of their notable programs are Melodies and Memories for the community seniors, after school musical theatre programs for kids 5-18, and Rock Band 101 for teens that want to take their instrument playing to the next level. These are only a few of the exciting and engaging programs offered year-round in addition to the rich summer camp schedule of classes for kids and youth.
Kristen says, “I think it is important for children to be involved in the performing arts because not only do they learn skills like singing, dancing, and acting for the stage, but the performing arts build lifelong skills that translate in the real world for years to come. Skills such as fluidity and confidence in public speaking, how to build community and a sense of team, having empathy, and being adaptive and versatile in a work environment.”
Children can learn and grow through the power of performing arts, and this camp could be just the right fit this summer for their development! Check out the full list of programs offered and information about how to sign up for summer camp or year-round classes at https://whbpac.org.