High-Risk Students Star in Free Performance at Segerstrom

Summer at the Center (SATC), Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ program for high risk and underserved teens, will have its 26th annual session July 17 – 28. The program, which was adopted by the U.S. Department of Education as one of its model programs, offers high school-age teens facing personal challenges a safe environment in which to develop self-esteem, confidence and positive friendships with peers along with positive/productive goals. SATC professional teaching artists use elements of musical theater to engage participants in fun, creative lessons, and exercises.

The two-week program includes vocal training, dance, improvisation, audition techniques, and stagecraft, with a special emphasis on how these presentation skills translate into success in their personal and professional lives. On Saturday, July 29 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in Samueli Theater, the students will perform a Broadway revue-style show demonstrating their newly discovered talents developed through teamwork and collaboration. The performances are free and open to the public; no reservations are required. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. More information is available at www.scfta.org/satc.

Summer at the Center is a collaboration between Segerstrom Center and the Orange County Department of Education. It was the first performing arts program to be offered to ACCESS (Alternative, Community and Correctional Education Schools and Services) students in Orange County. Students completing the program receive five fine arts credits with ACCESS. Summer at the Center was the first Center education program specifically created for high-risk teens.

Summer at the Center students come from homes and lives that include substance, mental and physical abuse, abandonment, social problems, gang affiliation and learning disabilities. SATC is a rigorous and disciplined experience that helps them to build critically important life skills. Their tools are collaborative and interactive lessons in singing, dancing, and acting. Guest speakers, such as musicians, actors, directors and program alumni, reinforce what the students are learning in their daily sessions.

Participants are selected through an interview process, developed deliberately as an opportunity for students to begin to step outside their comfort zones. These interviews help program coordinators to assess the level of interest and commitment to the program. They evaluate the applicants’ abilities to work in a team environment, adapt to new challenges and take the first steps towards positive change. This year, approximately 45-50 students will be selected from an applicant pool of more than 100 to participate in the program.

Bill Brawley, who has directed Summer at the Center since its first year in 1991, will return this year. Brawley has been the artistic director for The Young Americans® for more than 40 years and works alongside his wife Robyn, who is the choreographer for Summer at the Center

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