More than 50 students take part in New Horizon camp

Published 3:35 pm Monday, June 17, 2019

WEST POINT — Ten years ago, Julia Langley partnered with New Horizon Community Theatre to start a camp designed to include students all of ages to learn about the performing arts.

On Monday, the New Horizon Community Performing Arts Camp began its 10th year, and 51 students and 12 to 15 counselors signed up to begin auditioning for parts.

Langley, who is originally from Randolph County, makes the trip from near Boca Raton, Florida, each year to run the camp. She is a current performer with Cirque du Soleil and has experience running camps throughout the country, including one with Ariana Grande 10 years ago.

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The camp is an intense five days, which includes auditions, learning the show, designing the set and putting on the show on Saturday.

Each student in the camp will get a part in the show, but the auditions determine what parts are handed out as well as a learning tool to let the students go through the process.

Langley writes an original show herself each year and directs it as well.

The show on Saturday is called “The Greatest Show.” Langley said the production takes the audience to a haunted theatre and goes back in time to watch a show being produced. She said there will be everything from ghosts to goblins to ringmasters.

The camp is also for all skill levels. Langley said the learning curve is high and the show is basically trial by fire.

“Because we do have all levels of skill, the people who are starting out, are watching these people in college,” she said.

“They are great examples for these young aspiring artists.”

However, Langley said watching the students begin to grow as an artist is rewarding.

“It is amazing how the children start to come out of their comfort zones, and watching how they come out of their shell is rewarding,” she said.

The students are at the camp from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and although she isn’t expecting a perfect show, she does push them during the week.

“These kids soak it up like a sponge,” Langley said.

“It’s hard to believe it all happens in a week. These kids, they go home and are exhausted, but they practice because they want to be perfect.”

What started as a showcase to present what the student learned has transformed into a full production.

“First of all, I love the creativity it lends me. I get to write these shows, so everything that I want to do on stage, I get to write for them,” Langley said. “From an artistic standpoint, it is super fun for me.”

She also said the show it like her baby, because the theatre has watched the program grow into something attractive for the community while touching several lives.

“It affects people who probably don’t know anything about theatre, and they get into the camp, and they love it,” Langley said. “That is what brings me back.”