template_photo_7_leftAs the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University heads into its 125th Anniversary Season, the landmark theatre celebrates another milestone Anniversary with the 10th year of its award-winning summer camp, “Hands Together, Heart to Art” (“HTHTA”). Children ages 7-14 that have experienced the loss of one or both parents are invited to this one-of-a-kind camp that uses the performing arts to encourage communication, foster emotional growth and provide young people with the consolation of friendship and compassion from their peers and instructors. Camp is divided into two, two-week sessions: July 7 – 18 (ages 7-10; application deadline is Monday, June 30) and July 21 – August 1 (ages 11-14; application deadline is Monday, June 14). For more information on “HTHTA,” visit

“I am so humbled that ‘Hands Together, Heart to Art’ is celebrating its 10th anniversary year,” said Auditorium Theatre Executive Director Brett Batterson. “This little idea of a camp that uses the performing arts as a healing tool for children who  have experienced the death of a parent, has helped over 800 campers gain self-confidence, learn to express themselves and befriend others who have experienced the same loss. Having suffered the death of my father at the age of seven, I know firsthand the impact the arts can have on a grieving child. As we welcome our 900th camper this summer, I will be reminded of all the campers who have come before, and how this camp has helped them achieve their dreams for a happy future.”

“HTHTA” celebrates the healing power of creative play, allowing campers the ability to share their stories through various skills including acting, music and multiple forms of movement. Through participation in drama, music and dance classes campers are able to find alternative methods of expressing their emotions while building their confidence and self-esteem. The 10th edition of “HTHTA” centers on the theme of Superheroes. Campers will be instilled with the understanding that their own life experiences don’t have to bring them down but instead, can be used to empower them to go faster, farther and in turn be role models for others.

Led by Auditorium Theatre Director of Creative Engagement, Christina Bourné, the camp utilizes various techniques to work with the multitude of campers. “Sharing time,” where campers are divided into small groups facilitated by professional healing counselors, offers campers a comfortable, safe time and space to express and share their feelings with peers as well as on a one-on-one basis allowing them to realize that they are not the only ones going through this tragedy. Campers hear from arts professionals, grief specialists and adults from all walks of life who have experienced the loss of a parent showing them that there is hope for the future and that they too will be able to move forward and achieve great things. A full-time counselor is on hand throughout the entire duration of camp to give campers one-on-one counseling as needed. Using their own stories and the stories of others, campers work together to create, stage, rehearse and execute a performance culminating in a final showcase at the end of each session.

10th Anniversary Birthday Celebration 

Celebrating the 800 children and families who make up the “HTHTA” extended family, the 10th  Anniversary of “HTHTA” will be commemorated with a special Birthday Party on August 17. The momentous occasion will feature food, fun activities, a short program featuring past and present campers and a special guest speaker. All past and present camp families, sponsors, speakers and friends are invited to attend the celebration from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm in Roosevelt University’s Lillian and Larry Goodman Center (501 S Wabash Ave.).

“Hands Together, Heart to Art” Sponsors

“HTHTA” is sponsored by Illinois Arts Council, Lauri S. Bauer Foundation for Sudden Loss, Variety – The Children’s Charity of Illinois, Helen Brach Foundation, A. Montgomery Ward Foundation, Chicago Cabaret Professionals and A.R.T. League, Inc.

About the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, located at 50 E Congress Pkwy, is an Illinois, not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural, community and educational programming to Chicago, and to the continued restoration and preservation of the National Historic Landmark Auditorium Theatre. The Auditorium Theatre is generously supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the NIB Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council and the Palmer House Hilton. For more information about programming, volunteer and donor opportunities or theatre tours, call (312) 341 – 2310 or visit