Student performers get a taste of Newman University living

Jun 04, 2015
Newman University

This summer, Newman University will host a number of camps and programs on campus. One of those programs is the Broadway Academy of Performers, also known as BAP. This camp proves to be a great opportunity for future performers, who through the camp are getting a taste of campus life, Newman University, and what it is like to be a Jet.

The BAP camp lasts eight days, beginning on May 30 with an audition. The rest of the week is filled with rehearsals and recreational activities for the campers. The camp concludes with a performance all the students have been working on. They will present Godspell, a musical by Stephen Schwartz, which takes the parables of Jesus Christ and sets them to different musical numbers.

The Broadway Acadamy of Performer’s staging of Godspell will take place at 2 and 6 p.m., on June 6, in the Performance Hall in the De Mattias Fine Arts Center. Tickets will be available at the door, at $5 for students and $10 for adults.

Newly relocated from Liberal, Kan., BAP is under the organization of the camp director, who is also a Newman’ adjunct theatre professors, Alison Bridget Chambers. Chambers has been living in Wichita for a year now, and decided that since her personal life moved it made perfect sense to bring the camp with her.

When Chambers approached Newman Director of Theatre Mark Mannette, he welcomed the idea of a youth performers camp with open arms. Mannette stated that, “I’ve been wanting to do this all along.”

Ella Witcher, a 6th grader from Elkhart, Kan., who has been participating with BAP for four years, was shocked when the camp relocated, but also excited by the change. After spending a few days on campus, Ella seems to truly enjoy Newman University.

The campers stay in the residence halls, and use the dining center and theatre during their stay. Witcher said she really likes the spacious living arrangements and likes that she gets her own key, which makes her feel like a college student. Ella also boasted on the quality of Newman’s dining center, saying the food is good, but also really likes the staff because they are all nice and friendly.

While the lodgings and food are a hit, the campers are here to perform, and they all seem to enjoy the Newman University theatre facilities. Witcher expressed that, “The theatre is awesome. The stage is way bigger then our last one.”

Chambers also commented on the overall time at Newman so far.

“All we’ve been getting is students saying Newman is three steps up since our last home,” Chambers said. “Every single piece of the puzzle is three steps up. The Broadway Academy of Performers feels like we’re moving up in the world, and we found a home we want to stay in.”

The experience at Newman has even made Witcher start thinking about her future.

“Newman is definitely a school I’ll think about applying to for college,” she said.

Both Chambers and Mannette agree that the students have been having a blast this week, with Newman University’s campus and facilities being a big factor in that.

There will be another Broadway Academy of Performers in late July. For more information, visit the Broadway Academy of Performer’s website at