Summer Experience Jr. Shines Spotlight on Children

May 24, 2019

The camp for kids ages 5-7 will be held June 10-14 at Cal U.

summer theater

Last year's kids from Summer Experience Jr. take five outside Steele Hall.


No one knows if there will be another Shirley Temple in the group, but for the third straight year, young children will get their time to shine on the stage at Cal U. 

The Mon Valley Performing Arts Academy will begin its 2019 summer theater season by giving a dozen aspiring actors and actresses ages 5-7 an opportunity to sing, dance, and act. 

Hosted by Cal U’s Department of Music and Theatre, Summer Experience Jr. will run from June 10-14, culminating with a performance at 1 p.m. June 14 in Steele Hall’s Blaney Theatre. Cost is $2. 

The academy’s 22nd annual Summer Experience, for students ages 8-17, will run from July 15-27, culminating with a performance of Alice in Wonderland at 4 p.m. July 27. Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for children.  

Dr. Michele Pagen, the academy’s director and co-chair of the Music and Theatre Department, explained that many younger children watch the long-running Summer Experience show and wanted to participate. 

“Interest was expressed and community outreach is becoming an increasingly more important aspect of our program,” she said. “Since we started SEJR, we’ve doubled in participants.” 

The 5- to 7-year-olds will be on campus from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and receive instruction from four Cal U faculty members, with assistance from Cal U students. 

“They sort of do the same thing as the older group in that they act, sing, and move, as well as put together a show and work on their own sets and costumes,” Pagen added. “They get the real deal.”