By Laurie Gordon Spring has sprung and with it comes a time for dances to be danced and songs to be sung. The Newton Theatre Academy will hold auditions for its July Frozen Jr. camp on May 11 and 13, and a Jungle Book Jr. camp will be held in August for which enrollment is now open and is on a first-come-first-serve basis. The Academy had its grand opening last summer, and since then has attracted budding young artists from all over the area. “The Academy includes art displays, art classes, theater classes and summer camps,” said its founder and Newton Theatre President and CEO, Jonathan Peirce, when it opened. “It's goal is to be everything art to our area.”The reception over the past year has been a standing ovation as hundreds of students have participated in the Academy's programs. Performing arts teach children how to think creatively and use their imaginations. Cultivating this creative thinking can become of great use throughout life as children grow and need to create solutions to problems. Theater also breads cultural awareness, allowing kids to step into someone else's shoes on stage and see life from their pong of view. In most shows, there is some sort of conflict that needs to be resolved, thus theater is a great way to expose children to how to handle a predicament. The arts of dancing, music and acting teach children how to communicate in a host of unique ways, and children make new friends and express themselves through song and dance. Additionally, theater is the perfect backdrop for kids to explore the endless possibilities of their imagination. “I firmly believe in the transformation of the arts,” said Sara Bartlett, Director of Education and Outreach at the Newton Theatre. “We make the programs fun while at the same time teaching children some wonderful things about the world of theater and the arts.” Both summer camps include a Children's Chorus (for children currently in second and third grades) for which the kids stay from 9 am to noon. Older kids (grades four through twelve) will be in the Ensemble or have name characters and will rehearse from 9 am to 3 pm. Starting Monday, July 8, rehearsals for Frozen Jr. will be held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Cost is $175 for children's chorus and $300 for ensemble and named characters. There are discounts available for multiple children in the same family participating. Visit https://www.skypac.org/arts-academy/ to sign up for an audition. The performance of Frozen Jr. will be held on The Newton Theatre stage at 7 p.m. on Thursday July 25.The costs to participate in The Jungle Book are the same, however there are no auditions.Rehearsals will start on August 5 and will be held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with an August 22 performance date on the Newton Theatre stage. Registration is open at https://www.skypac.org/arts-academy/ but will close when the camp has reached its capacity. When it comes to try outs for the July camp, the instructors foster a non-pressure environment so the children don't feel at all intimidated. “It's not like Broadway where you probably don't see whose judging you and it's done with all the pomp and circumstance,” Bartlett said. “Instead, we make the kids very comfortable and simply encourage them to do their best.” Both summer camp musicals are truncated versions of the originals. “They were created to be shorter and more manageable for children,” Bartlett said. During the Academy's tenure, Bartlett said it has learned its limitations. “For The Little Mermaid, we had too many kids on stage. We've learned that 35 is a manageable number.” The Academy has also seen how vital it is to the community. The non-profit has created a home for all of the arts through use of its school, located on Spring Street across from the theater, and the Newton Theatre stage. The Academy provides courses that cover a wide range of artistic interests including theater, dance, music and fine arts, and has created training programs that provide students with hands-on experience working on more technical aspects of the performing arts, including sound design, stage lighting, scenic painting, and design. Auditions for Frozen Jr. will be held Saturday, May 11, from noon to 3 p.m. and Monday, May 13 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Call backs will be held on Tuesday, May 14, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Students currently in 2nd through 12th grades can audition, and auditions will be held at The Newton Theatre Arts Academy, 219 Spring St. in Newton. Sign up for audition date at https://www.skypac.org/arts-academy/. Bartlett can be contacted at 973-383-3700 ext. 105 if there are any questions.