Sewickley Academy student selected for summer theater program

Sunday, May 5, 2019 | 6:00 AM

Sewickley Academy eighth-grader Avani Venkat has been accepted into one of the most prestigious summer arts programs in the country.

Avani, 14, of McCandless, will attend the Interlochen Arts Camp for Intermediate Musical Theatre in Michigan from June 22 to July 13.

“Multiple people recommended Interlochen,” said Venkat. “I hope to improve my singing, acting and dancing, but also want to learn some new techniques.”

The Intermediate Musical Theatre program is designed for students in grades 6-9 with moderate theater experience. Rehearsals consist of vocal work and movement and a daily acting technique class.

The three-week session is capped by two public performances of a musical revue.

Sewickley Academy chorus teacher Tim Heavner helped Venkat with her audition video.

“I have worked with her in our middle school musicals, as well as at (the Sewickley Academy) Performing Arts Camp,” Heavner said. “I also sing with and accompany the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and have shared the stage with Avani for several concerts at Heinz Hall.

“She has shown herself to be an intensely energetic performer on stage, both in rehearsal and in front of an audience. She holds herself to professional standards (and) never misses an entrance, drops a line or gives less than 100 percent at all times.”

Interlochen spokeswoman Katharine Laidlaw said Venkat is one of 25 students enrolled in the program. There were 137 applicants.

In addition to theater arts, Interlochen, which is located near Traverse City, offers camps in creative writing, dance, general arts, motion picture arts, music and and visual arts. Singer-songwriter Josh Groban is an alumnus.

Venkat hopes to be a professional actress in musical theater one day.

“It is a joy to work with such a passionate young artist,” Heavner said.