Students Star in SUMMER AT THE CENTER Program at Segerstrom Center, 7/21-8/2

Students Star in SUMMER AT THE CENTER Program at Segerstrom Center, 7/21-8/2

Summer at the Center (SATC) returns to Segerstrom Center for the Arts for its 23rd consecutive year and will be held July 21 - August 2. This award-winning program provides high-risk and underserved youths facing personal challenges a safe environment in which to grow, trust and develop self-esteem and positive goals. Using a musical theater format, SATC professional teaching artists create daily lessons and exercises that engage participants in fun, creative and productive ways. Following their hard work during the two-week program, the students will perform a Broadway revue-style show in Samueli Theater on Saturday, August 2 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The performances are free and open to the public; no reservations are required. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The performances are part of Segerstrom Center's Free for All Series, which allows guests to experience different aspects of Center's artistic and education programs at no cost. More information is available at

Summer at the Center participants are high school-aged and come from many backgrounds, most often from circumstances that include substance abuse, mental and physical abuse, abandonment, social problems, gang affiliation and learning disabilities. SATC is a rigorous and disciplined experience that helps the students to build critically important life skills through the collaborative and interactive qualities found in singing, dancing and acting. Guest speakers, such as musicians, actors, directors and program alumni, help reinforce what the students are learning in their daily sessions.

Throughout the years, the arts have demonstrated the capacity to play a strong and positive role in developing personalities, attitudes and coping abilities. Statistics indicate that, when arts programming vanishes from schools, the dropout rate increases. SATC records show the graduation rate for participants of the program exceed those of their peers. Additionally, the program helps the young people to acquire the tools and skills to overcome adversity in their lives, build self-esteem, develop social skills and become peer role models for other youth.

Participants in Summer at the Center are selected through an interview process, which was developed deliberately as an opportunity for students to begin to step outside their comfort zones. Rather than holding auditions, the interviews help program coordinators to see how students work in a team environment made comprised of individuals from different backgrounds. They assess the applicants' abilities to adapt and take the first steps towards positive change. This also ensures that the students are selected on the strength of their commitment to personal goals rather than artistic ability. This year, approximately 40 students will be selected from an applicant pool of more than 100 to participate in the program.

Summer at the Center is a precedent-setting collaboration with 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 youths. The U.S. Department of Education has recognized Summer at the Center as a model program in its national registry.

Bill Brawley, who has direct 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 37 years and works alongside his wife Robyn, who is the choreographer for Summer at the Center.

Following SATC, participants will return to Segerstrom Center to attend a performance of Once - The Musical as part of a special reunion. For many of the students, it will be their first experience seeing a live Broadway show.

Segerstrom Cemter for the Arts is unique as both an acclaimed arts institution and as a multi-disciplinary cultural campus. It is committed to supporting artistic excellence on all of its stages, offering unsurpassed experiences, and engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and a diverse array of inspiring programs. Previously called the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Segerstrom Center is Orange County's largest non-profit arts organization and owns and operates the 3,000-seat Segerstrom Hall and intimate 250-seat Founders Hall, which opened in 1986, and the 2,000-seat Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, which opened in 2006 and also houses the 500-seat Samueli Theater, the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge Education Center's studio performance space and Boeing Education Lab. A spacious arts plaza anchors Segerstrom Center for Arts and is home to numerous free performances throughout the year as part of Segerstrom Center for the Arts' ongoing Free for All series.

The Center presents a broad range of programming for audiences of all ages, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, intimate performances of jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, free performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other special events. The Center's arts-in-education programs are designed to inspire young people through the arts and reach hundreds of thousands of students each year.

In addition to the presenting and producing institution Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the 14-acre campus
also embraces the facilities of two independent acclaimed organizations: Tony Award®-winning South Coast Repertory and a site designated as the future home of the Orange County Museum of Art.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is also proud to serve as the artistic home to three of the region's major performing arts organizations: Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Pacific Chorale, who contribute greatly to the artistic life of the region with annual seasons at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

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