3 SPARC Students Chosen for Style Weekly “16 Under 16” Awards

Posted April 29, 2010 by sparconline
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Every year, Style Weekly’s 16 Under 16 program reveals Richmond’s most talented kids whose devotion to academics, community service and leadership put them in a league apart from their peers.  3 SPARC students, Madison Harris, Ellie Winkelmann and Naomi Vickers were chosen as part of this year’s group. 

*Special thanks to Style Weekly for allowing us to use the following photos and articles.  For the full article, pick up the latest Style Weekly, on newstands now, or visit http://bit.ly/9GUELh. 

Madison Harris

Watch out Richmond Ballet because we have your next candidate for the professional company, Madison Harris. Madision, 13, is an avid dancer who has dreams of becoming a pro on the stage in Richmond.  She has practiced ballet since age four and has also dabbled in jazz and modern dance.  Madison has performed in the Richmond Ballet since 2003, at Pine Camp, and with SPARC. She has also been a member of Richmond Ballet’s Minds in Motion Team for three consecutive years. The Minds in Motion Team takes dancers to New York City every year for their spring break to participate in dance intensives.  With the Richmond Ballet she performed four consecutive years in The Nutcracker and in the ballet’s 2010 production of Romeo and Juliet.  At SPARC she played the part of Jasmine in their production of Aladdin.  In addition, she previously performed in Theatre IV’s production of The Wizard of Oz.  Madison is not just a dancer; but, also a singer and pianist. She is currently a member of St. Catherine’s School choir, and served in Richmond’s Children Choir for one year.  “I like feeling good about my work and doing well. I think it will pay off in the long run.”  Her hard work has already paid off. Madison recently received straight A’s on her report card and is an honor roll student.  At school, her favorite class is Bible. “It’s fun because our teacher is fun and it’s fun to learn about God, Jesus, and other people in the Bible,” Madison explained.  When she is not on stage or studying diligently, Madison also makes time to assist her mother with feeding the homeless in the community.  Through her hard work and determination it is clear that this motivated 13 year old is out to make a difference on the stage and off. 

Ellie Winkelmann

Ellie Winkelmann, 15, is one bilingual 9th grader that you would not want to compete against in a swim meet.  From reading authentic Hebrew from the Torah at Temple Beth El to being a part of the French immersion program at JR Tucker High School, Ellie is sure to be ready for the international front post graduation. Next year she is planning on having a grand total of four classes in French!  Not only is she language savvy, but her swimming abilities are impressive as well. Ellie has been a part of the JCC Dolphin Swim Team since 2001. In 2009 she was the I.M. Xtreme Challenge Winner for her age group on a national level. Her winning was based on her performance in the 200IM, 400IM, 500 free style, 200 butterfly, 200 breaststroke, 200 back, and 200 free style.  At JR Tucker High School she is the Freshman class president and also the official school mascot.  Ellie is also quite the drama queen, not only for her school, but also for the JCC Jewish family theater and SPARC. Ellie has been with SPARC’s Summerstarz Touring Ensemble for 6 consecutive years. In 2006 she was the Kip Kephard Foundation Recipient and in 2007 she was given the Jeri Cutler Voltz Scholarship Award. Her most recent production with SPARC was ‘Lights Up’ at CenterStage this past January.  In addition to her pursuits in language, swimming, and the theatrical arts, Ellie also makes time for others in her community. She is a frequent volunteer at the Beth Sholom Home, and also participates in community service fundraising for the JCC Macabi Games, and the Rudlin Torah Academy, her alma mater.  So, whether you are looking for tips on how to order at a French Brasserie, or tips on having an award winning breaststroke, Ellie is your girl!

Naomi Vickers

Naomi Vickers, 11, is a 5th grade student at St. Catherine’s who knows what it means to live in the moment.  “I think pictures are fun because you can capture anything in a moment, so being in the moment is pretty cool,” Naomi said.  Naomi’s interpretation of capturing a moment stems directly from her modeling experience. Her photos have been featured in The Washington Post, Essence Magazine, Parent’s Magazine, Ebony Magazine, and on billboards and advertisements for Crest, Ski Dubai, Scholastic Books, Citibank, and other.  In addition to her ability to pose for the camera, she also comes to life on the stage as well. Naomi has played in several productions for SPARC. She is currently practicing bi-weekly for the Captain Louie production which will debut mid May.  At St. Catherine’s, Naomi received the esteemed Head’s Award for exemplifying the school’s values, and also recently was given the Leadership Award. She has also participated in championship winning basketball, swim, and soccer teams in the past year.  In addition to participating in her own school, Naomi has also collaborated with her mother to help make a difference in schools internationally. She helped raise money for a school in Ecuador by participating in a flag football game fundraiser as a cheerleader. She will also be on the board for Trinity Christian Academy, which is to be built in Tanzania.   As for her spare time, well, you may see her cruising around on a custom painted purple and pink polk-a-dotted bicycle that she bought used and had refurbished. Her reasoning for buying a used bicycle was to help reduce her own carbon footprint. “We’re on this earth together for a reason and since we’re the ones living on it, we need to take care of it the best we can,” Naomi said.

VIDEO FLASH: Captain Louie

Posted April 29, 2010 by sparconline
Categories: Uncategorized

SPARC Announces New Voices Winners 2010

Posted April 13, 2010 by sparconline
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SPARC proudly announces the winners of the 21st annual competition for New Voices for the Theater, the nationally acclaimed statewide high school playwriting program that celebrates and cultivates young writing talent from across Virginia. 160 plays from around the state were submitted this year and eight resident winners are chosen.

The New Voices for the Theater playwriting competition provides an exciting opportunity for Virginia students to work closely with professional theater artists during a three-week residency. Students come to Richmond June 20 – July 4 and work to bring their original one-act plays to life on the stage. 

New Voices for the Theater 2010 winning resident playwrights:

  • A Walk in the Clouds – Michael Hill from Stonewall Jackson HS in Manasses
  • Olivia and Oliver– Jillian O’Hare from York County School of the Arts in Williamsburg
  • The Runaways – Peyton Spivey from Collegiate School in Richmond
  • So It Goes  – Kelsey Cappiello from Appomattox Regional Governor’s School in Petersburg
  • Stranded – David McKinney from York County School of the Arts in Williamsburg
  • Frozen – Amanda Halprin from Yorktown HS in Arlington
  • Hunt for the Rose – Monea Watson from Stonewall Jackson HS in Manasses
  • Hell Hath No Fury Like a Robot Scorned – Sara Katherine Rock from York County School of the Arts in Williamsburg

  Non-resident winners:

  • Demoliton Lovers – Samantha Oty from Christiansburg HS in Christiansburg
  • Plumbing Problems – Helen Mittmann from York County School of the Arts in Williamsburg
  • A Treasure Hunt to Remember – Allie Christy from York County School of the Arts in Williamsburg

Honorable mentions:

  • Awkward Girl – Tiffany Michelle Nunn form Stonewall Jackson HS is Manasses
  • Deficit – Jozem Majillo from Stonewall Jackson HS is Manasses

New Voices playwrights, 2009

 The young playwrights will get to work with this year’s New Voices Playwright-in-Residence, Marta Rainer, and other theater professionals and writers. During the residency program, students will participate in workshops and revise their winning scripts. The plays will be premiered as staged readings at the Festival of New Works, held July 2-3, 2010 at the SPARC black box theatre at 2106-A North Hamilton St. Richmond, VA 23230. The Festival is free to the public. (For information call (804) 353-2293 x 227 or lsatterfield@sparconline.org.)

Marta Rainer – Playwright-in-Residence has performed her one-woman show Unaccustomed to My Name Off-Broadway, across America and internationally since 2001 – most recently at the 11th Annual International Black Sea Festival in Turkey, where she was honored to perform as the representative artist from the United States. A founding ensemble member of the NY Neo-Futurists – recent recipients of a New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Performance Art – Marta’s original works have been produced at the Kraine Theatre, HERE Arts Center, and the Cherry Lane Theatre (New York City), and Trinity Rep (Providence). Other favorite New York and regional roles include Woman (Laughing Wild), Carol (Oleanna), Sylvia (Sylvia), Trinculo (The Tempest), and Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Twelfth Night).  In Richmond she has been seen on stage as Ma Joad (Grapes of Wrath – Barksdale Theatre) well as Izzy(Rabbit Hole – Firehouse Theatre Project), for which she earned a Richmond Theatre Critics Circle award for Best Supporting Actress.  Creative collaborators include Second City founder Paul Sills (NY premieres of Yeats: The Stories of Red Hanrahan, Evening Clouds), Moscow Art Theatre director Viacheslav Dolgachev (The Seagull, Classic Stage Company), and indie filmmaker Andrew Silver – whose feature film Radio Cape Cod, penned by Marta, made its PBS broadcast debut on Valentine’s Day, 2009. Marta has taught acting/playwriting at New Actors Workshop, New York Film Academy, Richmond Shakespeare, and privately, and is a published non-fiction writer specializing in profiles. She is on the Theatre Studies faculty at her alma mater, Wellesley College, where she recently directed a full-length play co-developed and performed by students to explore and challenge the concept of diversity.  She is thrilled to be returning to such a laudable festival as New Voices for the Theatre this year, after a wild ride of workshop-giving and performing in 2009.  

“I look on my experience as a guest teacher and actor for the 2009 New Voices for the Theatre Festival as a paramount example of theatre’s potential to incite a celebration of creativity and community.  Virginia is truly fortunate to have such a long-running and innovative opportunity for its young writers; I applaud the families and teachers of Virginia – and of course all of the festival’s supporters at SPARC – for continuing to encourage its students to respond to their world and their imaginations by expressing themselves dramatically. I can’t wait to meet this year’s inventive, observant, and risk-taking winning playwrights!  From conversations I’ve had with many of Richmond’s theatre artists, I know I’m not alone  – I just feel honored that I get them all to myself for a wee bit to kick off the exciting roller coaster-like frenzy of rewrites, running around Richmond, rehearsals, and of course performance.  It’s going to be an intense ride for us all!  I’m looking forward to all of us strapping in, rolling up our sleeves, and getting down to work.”   -Marta Rainer

VIDEO FLASH: SPARC Summer Camp Programs

Posted April 12, 2010 by sparconline
Categories: Uncategorized

Looking for an exciting summer theater program for your child?  Check out SPARC’s preview video with information on our hot summer theater camps!

SPARC to host “Glee” Auditions April 10

Posted April 3, 2010 by sparconline
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SPARC and Fox Richmond have teamed up to hold a casting call for the hit new TV show, “Glee” on April 10, at the SPARC Center!  This is a wonderful and unique opportunity for singers to come out and audition for a chance to appear in a role on the upcoming second season of the wildly popular new comedy on Fox.

Only 200 people will be allowed to pre-register by texting the word “Glee” to “67336” between April 1st and April 9.  Participants in the open casting call will be expected to perform 30 seconds of the song of their choice from the “Glee” TV show a cappella (without musical accompaniment). A panel of qualified judges will award a number between 1 and 5 for each performer and those numbers will be tallied to determine the TOP THREE and the Winner based on vocal talent, stage presence, and execution.  The winner of the competition will have their audition professionally videotaped and sent directly to the casting directors of “Glee!”

For more information, plus rules, regulations, and the registration form, go to http://www.foxrichmond.com/sections/contests/glee/index.shtml.

PLEASE NOTE:  This is NOT an open call – auditionees MUST be pre-registered with Fox via the text messaging system, and must have received confirmation of their audition time.

Neil & Sara Belle November present SPARC with $300,000 Contribution

Posted March 23, 2010 by sparconline
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Neil and Sara Belle November presented a $300,000 contribution to SPARC (School for the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community) at a special performance and reception March 22, honoring SPARC’s new Executive Director, Ryan T. Ripperton.

The gift was made in conjunction with Ripperton’s arrival and in anticipation of  SPARC’s upcoming 30th Anniversary.  The Novembers’ gift is for completion of SPARC’s black box theater project – a unique and flexible performing arts training facility. 

The theater is part of an overall $3.5 million campaign creating a home for SPARC and expanding program and outreach in the region.  To date, almost $2,000,000 has been raised in early gifts. 

The Novembers’ gift was announced following a performance of songs from Gypsy by SPARC’s Advance Core students.  As the students sang “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” the Novembers were brought to the stage for a standing ovation for their generosity.  Students then presented Mrs. November with a bouquet of white roses.   

The Novembers’ gift also is meant as a challenge to the Richmond community to support SPARC which enables youth to reach their full potential and learn life skills through performing arts training.       

The gift was a wonderful welcome for Ripperton, who holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of North Carolina, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern Indiana.  He, his wife Danielle, and daughter Ella, are eager to embrace the community of Richmond.

VIDEO FLASH: Behind The Scenes – SPARC Students Record for Minds In Motion

Posted March 19, 2010 by sparconline
Categories: Uncategorized