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Mar 30

JCPRD’s summer theatre academies bringing in teaching artists to enhance campers’ experiences

Posted on March 30, 2018 at 4:44 PM by Becky Burnside

Six teaching artists are being brought in from as far away as London to enhance the experiences of participants in JCPRD’s nine summer theater academy programs. These programs are being presented by The Theatre in the Park at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center.

“Bringing in outside voices for the summer adds a whole new experience for kids in the area,” said Fine Arts Specialist Guy Gardner. “There are tons of theatrical camps around, but this one stands out by bringing in professionals from across the country. We’ve got two director/choreographers, two music directors, one scenic designer, and one costume designer.  The director/choreographers and music directors take care of the production’s artistic work, and the scenic designer and costume designer take care of the technical elements.”

Below is some information about the teaching artists being brought in to help with the academy programs. For more complete biographies, see our separate listing.

Patrick Inlow will be the academy’s scenic designer. He has been designing theater and concert sets professionally in the Kansas City Area for over ten years. His first job in the theater world was as a master electrician and assistant lighting designer for TTIP for the 2006 and 2007 summer seasons. Inlow studied theatrical design at the University of Missouri – Columbia and Kansas City, and at Avila University. He has designed for local community theaters, most recently as scenic designer for TTIP’s Indoor Christmas production of “The Happy Elf.” Inlow is returning to the TTIP summer academy for his second year.

Brian Jones will be the director/choreographer for academy productions of Disney’s “The Lion King Kids,” and the choreographer for a production of Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” A native Texan, Jones is a classically-trained dancer, singer, gymnast, and actor who calls New York home, but has been fortunate enough to travel the world through theater and dance. As a performer, he is active in New York, regional, touring, Off Broadway Theater, and opera.  He is also a passionate choreographer, teacher, and director with over thirty productions under his belt. Brian was part of TTIP’s summer academy production team for its inaugural year in 2017, and is proud to be returning in 2018.

Michael Snyder will be the music director for academy productions of Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka Kids,” and “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” Snyder holds a bachelor’s degree music from Ithaca College and a master’s degree in counselor education from Radford Virginia. He has worked as a musical director, and a pianist and/or accompanist in a variety of settings including school, community, and professional theater. He lived and worked in the Phoenix area for the past ten years, and currently works as a as choral accompanist in the McAllen ISD school district in Texas.

Liz Stinman will be the music director for an academy production of Disney’s “The Lion King Kids.” A native of Lincoln, Neb., Stinman is classically trained in piano, and  she developed a love for musical theater while accompanying high school students in Lincoln. Since 2009, Stinman has worked on over 50 productions as a music director, vocal coach, and/or accompanist around the Midwest. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music direction for musical theatre from Doane University in Crete, Neb., and currently works as both the staff collaborative pianist at Peru State College and the director of musical theatre programming for Sing Omaha Studios.

Joseph Walsh will be the director/choreographer for an academy production of Disney’s “Willy Wonka Kids,” and the director for Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” This award-winning theater director and educator is originally from Boston, and holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre production/stage management from Emerson College and a master’s degree in directing from Goldmsith’s College, University of London. Walsh has recently returned to the US after fifteen years of living and working in the UK where he built up an international portfolio of work.

Arwen White will be the academy’s costume designer. She is a Kansas City -based designer and founder of Juste Jaquet Designs, a local textile and fine art company. She has designed theatrically throughout the city for more than ten years on various productions. White is also an entertainment contractor for Norwegian Cruise Line. This will be her first involvement with The Theatre in the Park and she looks forward to the opportunity to help young artists grow and collaborate.

All but one of these artists plans to work with the academy for the entire summer season.

This year’s TTIP theater academy programs include: The Theatre in the Park Summer Academy for ages nine through 18. Camp sessions beginning June 4 and 18 will produce Disney’s “The Lion King Kids” with public performances on June 16 and 30; other camp sessions beginning June 4 and 18 will produce Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka Kids,” with public performances also on June 16 and 30; and another camp session beginning July 9 will present Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach Jr.,” with public performances on July 27 and 28. All three shows are rated G, are one-act versions of these properties, and performances will take place indoors at The Black Box Theatre at JCAHC. 

Other summer academy programs include The Theatre in the Park Costume Academy and The Theatre in the Park Scenic Academy. Both programs are for ages 11 to 18 with sessions beginning June 4 and 18. 

With the exception of the Summer Academy producing Roald Dahl’s “James and Giant Peach Jr.,” all of the academies involve ten seven-hour sessions at a cost of $400 per person for Johnson County residents or $440 for nonresidents. The academy production of “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” involves 15 seven-hour sessions at a cost of $600 per person for Johnson County residents or $660 for nonresidents.

As of late March, Gardner said The Theatre in the Park Summer Academy was about half-filled for June, but the July session, as well as all of the costume and scenic academies still had space available. 

“The academy prides itself on bringing in a great learning experience and melding it with the high-quality performances The Theatre in The Park is known for,” he said.