JuMP = JUnior Musical Performance
Q&A with Hannah Bridger, Founder & Director
What do you do after years of acting classes and camps? Start your own theater camp, of course.
Hannah Bridger started Camp JuMP when she was 15. Like any entrepreneur, she ran the business in her house the first year, rounded up clients from the neighborhood, and pressed her family into service. After a successful proof of concept, the second year she held the camp at the Highland Creek neighborhood center, and added a second week at Mallard Creek Presbyterian.
For its third year Camp JUMP will offer three sessions, the first of which is already sold out. There is room for 25 rising 2nd-8th grade students each week. This year’s performance will be Beauty and the Beast, Jr.
Here’s what Hannah had to say:
What is your background in theatre?
I started acting classes at the Children’s Theatre in Charlotte when I was 10. I have continued ever since, and performed in numerous productions. As you progress through the levels you get to take specialty classes like Audition Prep and Musical Theater. My favorite part of studying at CTC is performing in On Stage, the audition-based annual student productions.
What type of plays do you like the best?
What does a typical day at camp look like?
We try to involve all the kids at all times, so we have rotations. While some are building sets others will be working on music and dance or blocking scenes. We also do acting games. The students are assigned to color groups, and on Thursdays we have Color Wars.
Did you make any changes based on things you learned the first year?
Everything went surprisingly well, but I decided to have the kids learn their lines prior to camp. This allows us to spend more time assembling the production. So we have them attend an audition day in June, and then they go home with their assigned roles and study their lines before camp starts.
What role does your family play at camp?
My mom has been great. She is our stage manager and helps to build sets. My brother is a counselor and even though he hasn’t been into the theatre like I was, he found he really enjoyed it. I suggested that he audition for our school musical this year so he would have practical experience, and he got a part (actually 2!). He will be playing Young Tarzan and Professor Porter, and I have the role of Jane.
What do you think parents should know about your camp?
We want our campers to grow as people, not just performers. We emphasize character and leadership development as we teach the technical aspects of theatre, and we help them focus on doing their best, not being perfect. One way we encourage leading by example is by creating optional personalized leadership challenges for the kids, which are designed to help them step out of their comfort zones. We’ve had a tremendous response from parents regarding the increased levels of self-confidence they have seen in their children as a result of our camp.
Hannah is a senior at Cox Mill High School (Cabarrus county) and plans to attend Samford University next year where she will pursue a degree in Theatre for Youth. She hopes to continue Camp JuMP next summer.