Kids around the Quad-Cities are celebrating the end of the school year, and that means that parents around the Quad-Cities are asking themselves what they’re going to do with their kids now that school is out.

Junior Theater offers some solutions that are entertaining, artistic and educational for kids this summer.

Founded in 1951, DJT is the second-oldest children’s theatre in America that produces theatre “For Kids, By Kids”. Programming is available for kids ages 3-18. With a goal of teaching kids to present themselves clearly, confidently, and creatively.  Summer classes start the week of June 6, with camps happening throughout the summer.

D - Little Actors

The Davenport Parks and Recreation program is expanding the classes offered to younger students this summer. New classes and camps geared toward 3-6 year olds include improv for 5-6 year olds where kids will practice thinking on their feet with a variety of improv games, and a mini-camp for kids age 4-7. This half day camp allows the young actors to have fun exploring Davenport Junior Theatre while learning about acting, Broadway, and more.

In 2014, DJT’s program director Daniel Sheridan was awarded the Innovator Award by the QC Chamber’s Young Professional Network.  “The whole Junior Theatre team represents that award,” Sheridan said.  “It is up to us to continue to innovate and create new challenges for kids.  It would be too easy to settle back and offer the same old thing.  There are always more kids to reach.”

The Spectrum Theatre program will continue on, offering classes for youth on the autism spectrum or any other developmental challenge that may inhibit communication.  This summer they hope to expand this programming, offering two classes to serve a more diverse age range.

Junior Theatre is adding programs for older students as well. A new sound design lab with state of the art equipment allowed for a unique Sound Design class where students learn to create music, sound effects, and even gain basic piano skills. This summer teen actors will also participate in special classes only offered once a year, Improv and Advanced Broadway. Additionally, there is a special Teen Intensive Camp that allows older actors to focus on building and sharpening new skills.

A - Actor and Dancer and Showtime PalDJT expanded in 2011 by introducing its School of Dance, which offers classes for kids starting at 18 months. A non-competitive program focused on the joy and love of dance in a professional environment, the School of Dance teaches ballet, hip hop, tap, jazz, poms dance team, tumbling, and more.

Most importantly, DJT is for everyone. DJT is a bully-free zone where children are encouraged to discover themselves and express their creativity.  Skills learned at Davenport Junior Theatre will last a lifetime.

For more information, contact Daniel Sheridan, Performing Arts Supervisor, at (563) 888-2216, or via e-mail at Dsheridan@ci.davenport.ia.us, Ivy Shoultz, Theatre Coordinator, at (563) 888-2226, or via e-mail at Ishoultz@ci.davenport.ia.us or visit www.DavenportJuniorTheatre.org.

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written almost 30 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.