Before Lighthouse Repertory Theater wraps up its summer performing arts day camp, students will test their acting skills in front of an audience.

But the program won't stop at acting. Youngsters will become playwrights as well as set and costume designers, said LRT President Nina Burgess. They will learn about character development, the components of a story and the concepts of conflict and resolution. The program will culminate with a performance at the Del Norte County Fair, Burgess said.

"We're not taking from a set piece of something that's in the system already," she said. "We are creating it, and at the end of camp we're going to be formatting different storybooks for the kids so they can take these stories home with them."

LRT's seventh annual performing arts day camp begins July 22 and lasts for two weeks. The camp will be held at Mary Peacock Elementary School and kids can participate for one or two weeks and are encouraged to sign up soon. Twenty-five students have enrolled in the program so far, Burgess said.

The camp is open to kids entering second through eighth grades.

College of the Redwoods professor Ruth Rhodes will be the camp's facilitator. Burgess said Rhodes and her husband will also compose a tune to accompany the kids' plays.

The first week of camp will focus on creating the plays the youngsters will later act out, Burgess said. There'll also be games and other activities. Youngsters will also design their own sets and costumes, she said.

But when it comes time to rehearse, the students will not get to act in their own play, Burgess said.

"That way it's not a self-promotion," she said. "It is all about the story. The play is the thing, and it's something they're going to be doing."

Burgess said LRT will keep the sets and costumes relatively simple.

"You don't have to be in costume to be the character," she said. "You use your imagination."

Need-based full or partial scholarships are still available from the Wild Rivers Community Foundation, according to Benita Cabrera, a Vista volunteer working with Del Norte Reads and First 5 Del Norte. Juvenile Justice is also providing funding for scholarships, she said.

Del Norte Reads and LRT are accepting scholarship applications through Friday, Cabrera said. Parents should bring a copy of their most recent tax return and any other proof of their household monthly income after taxes. The application also asks parents to include a statement in their child's own words explaining why he or she wants to be involved in the day camp, Cabrera said.

"They're writing the plays themselves with their own imaginations," Cabrera said. "It'll be great for those that want to be there."

Scholarship applications are available at Del Norte Reads at 1080 Mason Mall #9 in Crescent City. For more information, emaillight

houserep@hotmail.comor visit Lighthouse Repertory Theatre on Facebook.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at