AURORA, IL, February 21, 2019 – The new Paramount School of the Arts will celebrate its Grand Opening on
Saturday, June 1, 2019, a date that will launch a new era for the live performing arts in downtown Aurora.
Paramount School of the Arts is a new, state-of-the-art destination for performing arts education, located right
next to Aurora’s beautiful Paramount Theatre. The school is the anchor tenant in the new John C. Dunham Aurora
Arts Center at 5 E. Galena Blvd., formerly the Waubonsee Community College, currently in the final stages of a
$35 million renovation and rebirth as downtown Aurora’s newest crown jewel.

Paramount School of the Arts will open its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday, June 1 from 10
a.m. to 2 p.m. Families will be invited to a free full, fun-filled Open House including tours of the school’s new
classroom, rehearsal and performance spaces, meet and greets with faculty and staff, the opportunity to sample
the classes and camps soon to be on offer year-round in downtown Aurora, and much more.

Already, the school has launched its website,, where online
registration starts Tuesday, February 26 at 10 a.m. CST for more than 40 different summer theater,
music and dance camps ready to educate and entertain area youth ages 6 months to 19 years.

“From ballet to Broadway, strings to songwriting, cosplay to choreography and more, Paramount’s education staff
has assembled a schedule of engaging, inspirational and educational experiences with one goal in mind: create
hands-on training to teach, guide and open the minds of young artists and help them discover and expand the
artist within,” said Shannon Cameron, Director of Education and Community Relations, Paramount Theatre. “Our
students will have access to some of the finest teaching artists and professionals in the country, many seen on the
Paramount Theatre stage.”

Camps for songwriting, improv, piano, strings, ukulele, vocal technique, rap and rhyming, ballet, and hip-hop are
also on tap this summer at Paramount School of the Arts. Camps typically run one week, are taught by
professional teaching artists, are stratified by age ranges, and come with opportunities to begin sequential, lifelong
learning in the performing arts.

Following is the full list of summer camp experiences ready to entertain and educate this summer at Paramount
School of the Arts. Parents who like to plan ahead are strongly encouraged to sign up on the website to receive
first notice of special offers and announcements throughout the spring, and the first e-invitation to attend Grand
Opening festivities on June 1.

Take it From the Top Creative Kids Camp
Take it From the Top Junior Camp 10-13 years
Take it From the Top Teen Camp 14-19 years
Creative Dramatics Camp 4-6 years
Junior Beginning Improv 8-12 years
Page to Stage Camp 7-10 years
Theater Exploration Camp 8-11 years
Teen Beginning Improv 13-18 years
Acting Intensive Camp 12-18 years
Cosplay Camp 11-18 years
Improv for Kids 7-9 years

Beginning Ukulele Camp 12-18 years
Kindermusik Mixed Age 6 months-4 years
Kindermusik Foundations 6-22 months
Beginners Guitar 12-18 years
Songwriting Camp 14-18 years
Piano Camp A 7-10 years
Piano Camp B 11-14 years
Piano Camp C 15-19
Beginning Ukulele Camp 12-18 years
Kindermusik Mixed Age 6 months-4 years
Kindermusik Foundations 6-22 months
Beginners Guitar 12-18 years
Vocal Performance 11-18 years
Rap & Rhyming 14-18 years
Junior Strings Camp 8-12 years
Teen Strings Camp 13-18 years

Beginning Ballet Camp 6-9 years
Pre-Ballet & Tap Combo Camp 3-6 years
Junior Broadway Dance Camp 8-12 years
Advanced Broadway and Tap Camp 13-18 years
Choreography Camp 14-18 years
Tiny Trolls Dance Party Camp 3-5 years
Advanced Broadway and Tap Camp 13-18 years
Beginning Ballet Camp 6-9 years
Pre-Ballet & Tap Combo Camp 3-6 years
Teen Broadway Dance Camp 13-18 years
Beginning Ballet Camp 6-9 years
Beginning Junior Hip Hop Camp 8-12 years
Beginning Teen Hip Hop Camp 13-18 years
Intermediate Hip Hop Camp 13-18 years
Choreography Camp 14-18 years
Trolls Dance Party Camp 3-5 years
Junior Jazz & Contemporary Dance Camp 8-12 years
Teen Jazz & Contemporary Dance Camp 13-18 years
Ballet for Teenage Beginners 14-19 years
Pre-Pointe & Ballet Camp 12-19 years

In addition to camps, starting in June Paramount will begin offering private lessons and coaching sessions
including musical instruments, vocal performance, theater, dance and audition coaching, plus early childhood
music classes taught by Kindermusik, the world’s leading provider of music-based education for children from birth
through age seven.

Starting in the fall, Paramount will shift from camps to an expanded series of performing arts classes for children
as young as six months, with opportunities for adults and seniors as well including special intensives that offer
behind-the-scenes looks at Paramount’s Broadway Series productions. The school will also launch its Musical
Theater Institute, offering pre-professional training for high school students that plan to go on to perform
professionally or study musical theater in college, led by Paramount fan-favorite Paul-Jordan Jansen, who played
the Cowardly Lion in Paramount’s The Wizard of Oz earlier this season, and earned a Jeff Award for Best Actor for
his memorable portrayal of Sweeney Todd at Paramount.

For more information, visit or follow the school on social media at and

About the new Paramount School of the Arts

“The new Paramount School of the Arts will encourage and train young actors, dancers and musicians for a
culture-filled life, nurture the arts in Chicago’s western suburbs and add to the excitement, cultural and economic
activity in downtown Aurora,” said Paramount Theatre President and CEO Tim Rater. “Aurora’s downtown will
boast a live performing arts and education complex that fills a full city block, serves as an exciting new destination
for arts and culture and powers the continued economic revitalization of Aurora’s downtown business district.”
Rater envisioned opening a school of the arts when he interviewed for the position nine years ago. Nearly a
decade later, that dream is a reality. Construction crews are more than midway through reconverting the
basement and first floor of the former Waubonsee Community College into the new performing arts school. When
complete, the facility will encompass over 23,000-square-feet of private and group classroom space, parent
lounges, a keyboard lab, a music recording studio and a 1,400-square-foot dance studio. The school’s crown jewel
– a 1,200-square-foot flexible studio theater – will boast retractable seating, with additional balcony seating to
accommodate audiences of up to 165 for student performed plays, musicals, dance and live music events. The
school is committed to being accessible and affordable to all students, including persons with special needs and
from low-income families.

It’s all part of the new John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center, a project by The Community Builders Inc., a non-profit
developer, in partnership with Paramount Theatre, the city of Aurora, Invest Aurora and the Illinois Housing
Development Authority. The 80,000-square foot mixed-use development that will also bring a higher end
restaurant to downtown Aurora, 38 affordable, loft-style apartments on the second and third floors designed to
attract and support working artists in downtown Aurora, and a street-level gallery to display residents’ works of
art. In addition, the building will house a new, 8,000-square-foot rehearsal space that replicates the actual size of
the Paramount Theatre stage, a first for the company since it began producing its own Broadway Series in 2011.
Paramount will receive four guest apartments in the building to house out-of-town actors, directors and designers
working on its productions.

The former Waubonsee Community College building was originally the Block and Kuhl Store, built in 1928 by the
Aurora Development Company. It is notable for its architectural terra cotta cladding, prism glass transoms above
the storefronts and Chicago style windows on the second and third floor. The building became a Carson Pirie and
Scott store in 1961. After a major remodeling, the Waubonsee College Extension Center opened in 1986. The
building had been vacant since 2011, when the college moved its campus to a new location across the river.
The Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA), led by Rater, already manages the Paramount Theatre, the Copley
Theatre and RiverEdge Park, and will now oversee its new education and rehearsal facilities in the new John C.
Dunham Aurora Arts Center. The lion’s share of funding for the new school comes via Paramount’s Act 2 Capital
Campaign, which is closing in on its $4.5 million goal thanks in part to a $2.5 million gift from the Dunham Fund,
and support from other community members. In addition to the new school, the Act 2 campaign is also supporting
the current replacement of all 1,888 original seats in the Paramount Theatre, now more than half completed, and
the upcoming modernization of the Copley Theatre, Paramount’s 173-seat sister stage in Aurora’s North Island
Center. For information on how to contribute to Paramount’s Act 2 campaign, contact Michele Bergeron, or (630) 723-2495.

About Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre (, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, is the center for
performing arts, entertainment and arts education in the second largest city in Illinois. Paramount opened on
September 3, 1931. It was designed by renowned theater architects C.W. and George L. Rapp and is graced with
a beautiful Venetian decor with a strong 1930s Art Deco influence. It also was the first air-conditioned building
outside of Chicago. From silent films to the first “Talkies,” from Vaudeville to Bobby Vinton, from Dionne to Donny
and Marie, Paramount Theatre has provided Aurora and the Fox Valley the best of entertainment for generations.

In 1976, the Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA) restored Paramount to its original grandeur. Paramount Arts
Centre reopened in 1978, offering a variety of touring theatrical, musical, comedy, dance and family programming.
In 2006, a 12,000-square-foot, two-story Grand Gallery lobby was added, including a grand staircase, new box
office, café and art gallery.

In 2010, ACCA hired Tim Rater as President and CEO of Paramount Theatre. Rater’s mission was to boost the
theater’s programming and audience base by transforming Paramount into one of Chicago’s top self-producing,
professional Equity musical theaters. Rater hired award-winning Chicago director Jim Corti as Paramount’s firstever
artistic director. In 2011, Paramount introduced its inaugural four-play Broadway Series with Corti’s critically
acclaimed production of My Fair Lady. In just six blockbuster seasons since, Paramount has leapt to the top of
Chicago’s musical theater scene, winning unanimous audience and critical acclaim, and an unprecedented number
of Joseph Jefferson nominations and awards, including Best Musical-Large three years in a row.

Today, the 1,855-seat Paramount Theatre remains renowned for the quality and caliber of its presentations,
historic beauty and superb acoustics. More than 41,000 subscribers from throughout the city and suburbs enjoy
Paramount’s Broadway-quality productions at affordable prices, making Paramount the second largest subscription
house in the nation. In addition to its Broadway Series, Paramount presents internationally known comedians,
music stars, dance events and family shows, and on most Mondays, screens a classic movie for just $1.

Paramount is one of four live performance venues in downtown Aurora programmed and managed by the ACCA,
which also oversees Paramount’s “sister” stage, the intimate 173-seat Copley Theatre located across the street
from the Paramount at 8 E. Galena Blvd., the soon-to-open Paramount School of the Arts, and RiverEdge Park,
downtown Aurora’s summer outdoor concert venue at 360 N. Broadway.

Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Tim Rater,
President and CEO, Aurora Civic Center Authority; Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre; a dedicated
Board of Trustees and a devoted staff of live theater and music professionals. For more, visit or call (630) 896-6666.
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