Learn about how Haven Academy of the Arts got their start.
“Fifteen years ago, a teenaged Sunday School teacher partnered with Oceanside Christian Fellowship’s (OCF) Worship Director to battle a well know nemesis in the world of theatre: the cheesy church drama. Dissatisfied with most of the Christian scripts available for church performances, Rebekah Hellerman and Margy Emmons began writing their own musical productions. OCF Youth Theatre was born. Over the years the program morphed from an alternative Christmas production to a full-fledged youth arts program where kids ages 6-18 had numerous opportunities to explore the arts within the safety of a church environment where directors and choreographers cared deeply for each individual child.
Each summer, Rebekah would return home from college to direct a musical. OCF Youth Theatre sponsored four successful Summer Theatre Camps, producing well-known family musicals such as Oliver! and Beauty and the Beast, and participating in outreach in inner-city Los Angeles. With its program doubling in numbers in two short years, Rebekah sensed the need for a year round program where youth could participate in the arts in a safe and nurturing environment. Families who had no connection to OCF Church were signing up to participate in camps and productions. Rebekah noticed the impact OCF Youth Theatre had on the youth who participated. Lives were being transformed.”
In 2007, under the guidance of mentors and friends, Rebekah founded Haven Academy of the Arts, a non-profit organization designed to carry on the traditions of OCF Youth Theatre all year long. OCF Church graciously allowed this new non-profit to use its classrooms and auditorium for rehearsals and performances. Haven opened its doors in September 2008 with its first musical production, The Sound of Music. As a small, start up non-profit, the production featured 30 youth from both OCF and the local community. Haven produced three more musicals that first year and offered a K-5 art class.
Today Haven Academy of the Arts has produced over 25 musicals and serves roughly 300 students annually. Our South Bay productions range from 40-140 cast members, while our new Pico Union branch brings Haven’s after-school arts program directly to under-served youth from the Pico Union neighborhood of inner-city Los Angeles. Our alumni have gone on to be teachers, pastors, nurses, musicians, children’s ministry directors, missionaries, and dentists. We have nurtured incredible leaders who have returned to our program to serve as choreographers, stage managers, administrators, and directors. Haven Academy of the Arts is leaving a legacy with its students, and our students are leaving their own legacy as leaders in the community.”
Click here to learn more about Haven Academy of the Arts.