The St. George Theatre is giving some of the Island's youngest residents an opportunity to flex their "creative muscles" this summer. NY1's Leisha Majtan filed this report about the historic theatre's summer outreach program.
Savannah Mangin says there is only one way to describe the feeling she gets when she takes the stage at the St. George Theatre.
"It feels amazing!" said Mangin, a three-time participant in the summer camp.
The 15-year-old is just one of 80 Staten Island kids taking part in the theatre's annual summer camp.
It started 13 years ago as a way to give children in the neighborhood an opportunity to see what the Theatre was all about.
"The neighborhood children would walk in saying wow what’s inside, so my mom, the late Mrs. Rosemary, said, 'Let’s start a program,' said Doreen Cugno, president of the St. George Theatre. "Let’s teach these children all about dance and theatre."
The 12-day program is completely free. Students are taught by professionals how to sing, dance and act.
"Ever since I was a little kid, I always just danced, sang, everything. I'd be on top of the kitchen counters like 'Mom! Look at me!'" said Mangin.
Not all of the kids say they were born to perform. But thanks to the program, they feel more at home on stage.
"First, it made me feel scared. But then, once I dance, it makes me feel so happy because I'm showing people who I really am," said camp participant Angeliah Negron.
Not only is the summer program an opportunity for these young stars to hone their talents, but it's also a way for them to get an experience they may not otherwise get to have.
"They're having such a good time. And some of them are going to find out that they really love to dance, or that they really love to act, or they really love to sing," said instructor Tom Cintula. "Where they might not have been as outgoing in school, this might bring them out of their shell a bit."
The program wraps up on August 3 with a final performance, something Mangin says she's most looking forward to.
"I feel proud of myself and the whole group because it finally all comes together," she said. "It's just a nice feeling."