Archive for February 2009

SPARC Kids – Helping the Hungry!

February 26, 2009


Clean out your pantry, pay SPARC a visit, and help feed the hungry!

During the entire month of March, SPARC is holding a food drive benefiting the Central Virginia Foodbank.  Everyone dropping off two non-perishable items of food or more at our new home on Hamilton Street will get a cool SPARC bumper sticker for your car, bike, or notebook, PLUS a thank-you book mark from the Foodbank! Get involved!

Dates: March 1-31

Drop-off times: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Where: SPARC Center, 2106-A North Hamilton Street (north of Broad, between Broad and Westwood).

Most urgently needed items:

  • Canned meats: tuna, salmon, chicken, ham
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit
  • Peanut butter
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Cereals – hot and cold (boxed)
  • Rice and pasta (spaghetti, macaroni – boxed)

Ukrop’s Supermarkets Golden Gift Program

February 11, 2009

Golden Gift LogoBuy groceries at your favorite local grocery store, and support your favorite performing arts school!  The 2009 Ukrop’s Golden Gift program runs from March 2 – March 28.  Shop like crazy during this period and fill up that freezer! Ukrop’s gives back $200,000 of their hard-earned cash every year to registered non-profits benefiting YOU.  Here’s how it works:

  • U shop and save at Ukrop’s with your Valued Customer Card
  • Ukrop’s mails U a Golden Gift Certificate in May with Ur points tallied up
  • U mail them to SPARC by May 31st
  • U relax and feel good, knowing U’ve helped SPARC continue its mission!

Poetry Out Loud Virginia State Finals

February 11, 2009
Poetry Out Loud Logo
SPARC, the Virginia Comission for the Arts and the Library of Virginia invite you to join us for the Virginia Poetry Out Loud State finals on Thursday, March 5th from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.  This event is open to the public.

SPARC operates the Virginia program for the Virginia Commission for the Arts and in collaboration with the Library of Virginia. The program is the brainchild of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation which provide the major support.

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest, and encourages high school students to learn great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. From September 2008 to February 2009, schools are invited to participate in classroom and school-wide contests, advancing to a state competition on March 5, 2009. State champions advance to the National Finals, to take place on April 26-28, 2009 in Washington, DC.

WCVE personality May Lily-Lee will moderate the Virginia finals competition. Virginia’s Poet Laureate, Claudia Emerson will join Tracy Robertson from the Department of Education, and Richmond actor/Richmond Boys Choir Director Billy Dye as this year’s Poetry Out Loud judges.

The 2009 school winners that will compete in the state final are:

Marc Barnes (Grade 10) – Albemarle HS, Charlottesville; Kat Thompson (Grade 11) – Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, Petersburg; Sam Brackley (Grade 9) – Atlee HS, Mechanicsville; Nathan Landry (Grade 11) – Brook Road Academy, Richmond;  Taamu Wuya (Grade 12) – Flint Hill School;  Carole Hall (Grade 12) – Fredericksburg Academy, Fredericksburg;  Julia Douglas (Grade 11) – George Mason HS, Falls Church;  Michael Burnett (Grade 10) – George Wythe HS, Richmond;  Patrick Mahaney (Grade 12) – Giles HS, Pearisburg;  Ben Stoll (Grade 10) – Grace Christian School, Staunton;  Taylor Coombs (Grade 9) – Hanover HS, Mechanicsville;  Alex Tissiere (Grade 11) – Henrico HS, Henrico;  Rachel Vang (Grade 11) – Ideal Schools, Ashburn;  Quantazia McLaurin (Grade 11) – John Handley HS, Winchester;  Jasmine Scott (Grade 11) – John Marshall HS, Richmond;  Lauren Bittner (Grade 11) – Landstown HS, Virginia Beach;  James Russell (Grade 9) – Matoaca HS, Chesterfield;  Chelsea Knupp (Grade 11) – Middlesex HS, Saluda;  Micai Tawney (Grade 10) – Monticello HS, Charlottesville;  Seth Mayberry (Grade 10) – New Covenant Schools, Lynchburg;  Erin Swinson (Grade 9) – Open HS, Richmond;  Stephanie Davis (Grade 10);  Paul VI Catholic HS, Fairfax;  Brianne McMillan (Grade 10) – Powhatan HS, Powhatan;  Tia Robinson (Grade 11) – Rappahannock HS, Warsaw;  Sara Mason (Grade 11) – Rockbridge County HS, Lexington;  Kitty Schaffernoth (Grade 11) – St. Catherine’s School, Richmond;  Kyle Wittenauer (Grade 11) – St. Christopher’s School, Richmond;  Matthew Moore (Grade 12) – Stonewall Jackson HS, Manassas;  Russel Jin (Grade 11) – The Miller School, Charlottesville;  Keyanah Williams (Grade 12) – The Teen Parenting Program, Arlington;  Victoria Branch – Thomas Dale HS;  Kathleen Ryan (Grade 12);  Thomas Jefferson HS for Sci/Tech, McLean;  Katelyn Murray (Grade 12) – Tunstall HS, Dry Fork;  Jame’ Jackson (Grade 11) – Wakefield HS, Arlington;  Will Farley (Grade 12) – Washington-Lee HS, Arlington;  Zachary Root (Grade 12) – William Monroe HS, Stanardsville, & Lucas Newman (Grade 10) – Yorktown HS, Arlington.

In 2007, 18 schools participated and in 2008 that number rose to 32 schools. Tia Robinson from Rappahannock High School in Warsaw, VA was last year’s Virginia Poetry Out Loud champion and represented the state in the 2008 National Finals in Washington, DC last May, being one of twelve finalists in her division. She is returning this year to compete in the 2009 state final.

Poetry Out Loud seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry – recitation and performance.  The program builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap music among youth.  Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class.  Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

How to get involved in Poetry Out Loud

Registration is closed for 2009, but high school teachers interested in participating in Poetry Out Loud in the future should know that the program requires less than two or three weeks. High schools that wish to be part of the official Poetry Out Loud program must contact SPARC to participate. SPARC determines school eligibility to take part in the official Poetry Out Loud program. Schools that are not in the official program may conduct their own contests using the online resources.  Contact Laine Satterfield ( or visit for more information.

Poetry Out Loud Prizes

Students who participate in the official Poetry Out Loud program may be eligible to compete in the state and national finals in 2009. The winner at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library.

Poetry Out Loud will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends at the National Finals, with a $20,000 college scholarship for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

For further information on Poetry Out Loud, visit

Clay McLeod Chapman Returns to Richmond with Pumpkin Pie Show

February 9, 2009

The Firehouse Theatre Project presents a limited engagement of native Richmonder Clay McLeod Chapman’s The Pumpkin Pie Show for three performances, Friday, February 13 and Saturday, February 14.

chapmanThe Pumpkin Pie Show is an entertaining evening of rigorous story-telling, energetically performed by actors Hanna Cheek and Clay McLeod Chapman.  During any given performance of The Pumpkin Pie Show, Chapman and Cheek present as many stories and short plays – all written by Chapman – as time permits, chosen at random throughout the evening’s performance by the actors.

Growing up in Richmond, Chapman was the recipient of SPARC’s New Voices for the Theater statewide high school playwriting competition six years in a row, and will serve as Playwright-In-Resident for the 20th anniversary of New Voices in the summer of 2009.

For more information on the Richmond engagement of The Pumpkin Pie Show, visit, or call (804) 355-2001.  Showtimes are February 13 at 8pm, and February 14 at 8pm and 11pm.  

SPARC Alum Jason Mraz Grammy Red Carpet Interview

February 9, 2009

SPARC superstar alum Jason Mraz and his mom, SPARC Board Member June Tomes, heated up the red carpet in Los Angeles at the Grammy Awards this Sunday!  Enjoy this special interview with Lisa Rinna and Joey Fatone.

SPARC Summer Heats Up with Exciting Summer Theater Camps!

February 9, 2009

SPARC summers are highly exciting and busy times for young actors, and this summer will be no different, heating up with three VERY exciting summer camp offerings!

First, we offer a brand NEW camp this summer called SPARCLERS, Jr., for ages 5-6, or rising K – 1st graders.  This two-week introduction to the fundamentals of theater is for our youngest theater enthusiasts.  Children will create different characters, animals, and act out stories, while learning self-confidence, teamplay, and good stage manners.  This camp ends with a final share for parents on the last day.  Held at Epiphany Lutheran Church in the west end, this camp will run June 15 – June 26, from 9:00 – 11:00 am, and 1:00 – 3:00 pm.  Tuition for the camp is $175.00, and includes a SPARCLERS, Jr. t-shirt.

For our elementary students (Ages 7 – 9/Rising 2nd – 4th grade), there’s SPARCLERS Campsparclers-logo1Campers work with songs from Broadway musicals and movies, explore theater-related arts & crafts, dance, and perform scenes from fairy tales and more.  Themes to be chosen from this year include Hogwarts Academy, Oz Revisited, Adventures In Neverland, and Party in the Jungle.  There are two sessions of SPARCLERS – the first runs June 15 – July 3 at Epiphany Lutheran Church in the west end, and the second runs July 6 – July 24 at Bon Air United Methodist on the southside.  Students may attend either a 9:00 am – 12:00 pm camp, or a 1:00 – 4:00 pm camp.  Cost per session (morning or afternoon) is $295.00. 

bravo-logo-blankFinally, there’s our exciting BRAVO! Middle School Theater Camp for ages 10 – 14/Rising 5th – 8th grade.  This full-day theater camp covers all the basics – acting, singing, dancing, PLUS special workshops in stage makeup, improvisation, clowning, technical theater, stage combat, and more!   The BRAVO! camp runs June 22 – July 17, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm at Tuckahoe Presbyterian Church, 7000 Park Avenue in Richmond’s west end.  The final two days of camp, including the final show for family & friends will be held July 16 & 17 at the Weinstein JCC on Monument Avenue.  Cost of tuition for BRAVO! is $675.00.

Registration for Summer Camps will begin before the end of February.  If you sign-up your child before April 1st, take 20% off (each child) the camp of your choice!  Between April 1st and May 1st, sign up for one of our camps, and take 10% off!

Registration forms will be available on our website, at  Keep your eyes on this blog for more exciting information!

Auditions for Once On This Island, Jr.

February 6, 2009

once-on-this-island-junior-colorSPARC will hold auditions for a July touring production of Once On This Island, Jr. February 28 at the SPARC Center located at 2106 N. Hamilton Street in Richmond.


Auditions are open to student actors ages 10-17.  Once On This Island Jr., performed by SPARC’s SummerStarz Touring Ensemble, is the culmination of a 6-week intensive training and performance program.  If cast in the production, tuition is required for participation in the program, however some scholarship assistance is available.


Once On This Island, Jr. is the one-act version of a highly original and theatrical adaptation of the fairy tale, The Little Mermaid, written by Hans Christian Andersen.  It explores the themes of love, diversity, prejudice and the strength of the human spirit.  With its poignant story and catchy pop and Caribbean-flavored score by the song writers of the musicals Seussical and Ragtime, Once on This Island, Jr. has been called a “. . . multi-culturalcultural feast for the heart, mind and soul.”


Those auditioning should prepare 16 measures of an up-tempo Broadway, or contemporary song. Auditions will be held from 2 pm – 5 pm on Saturday, February 28. Auditionees should plan to arrive at 1:30 pm to register. 


Once On This Island, Jr. requires a multi-cultural cast.  Young people of all ethnicities and cultures are encouraged to audition.


A group of twenty-eight students, led by director Debra Clinton and musical director Jason Marks will rehearse the show for five weeks, beginning June 15 and then present free “family-friendly” performances at eight venues throughout the Richmond community during the week of July 20.


Interested auditionees may also visit SPARC’s web site at or call the office at 804-353-3393 for further information.