To encourage participation from a wider variety of performers, members of the Lyric Theatre’s Youth Talent Night Advisory Council decided a name change for the venue was in order.
“We came up with it because ‘Youth Open Stage’ sounded like it was just for singers,” explained Becky Neustater, “and we wanted people to know that it’s for all different kinds of talents, like jugglers, or people who like to read poems, write stories.”
“We were talking about new ideas and what we wanted to do, where we wanted to go with it and everything,” said Tanner Wilhelm Hale. “One of the ideas was we’re looking for headliners for the talent nights, so they’ll open the show, play a couple of songs, play at the end. So that will be something for everyone to look forward to, and also have anybody come and perform in between. It will be a youth band, someone from the high school.”
“We’re also looking into workshops that we might do,” added Sarah Houghtaling. “A songwriting workshop, or a spoken word workshop, theatrical performance or dance. Just things that we can put on to inspire other people to pursue their talents and really polish them as performers.”
The YTNAC hopes to have a headliner in place for the Feb. 15 Youth Talent Night, and would love to see some new faces in the lineup.
“We’d like to get new people out so that when the older people are leaving there are people left after that,” said Neustater, voicing a need for some mentoring to keep the tradition going. “It’s a great opportunity, so we don’t want to lose it.”
“It’s a good experience to learn, to come up and play on stage,” Wilhelm Hale agreed.
The Council is hoping to generate more interest through the use of social media as well.
“I think that’s something that we’re going to discuss at this meeting, is how we’re creating more outreach online – Facebook, Twitter, and all those things,” said Houghtaling.
The Lyric Theatre offers an important opportunity for young performers in middle school and high school at all stages of development to improve skills or pass on their experience and wisdom to newcomers.
“You just show up and do whatever you have planned,” said Houghtaling, “but for people that are doing things like dance or any sort of performance where you take up a lot of space, call Gwen [Uher], just so you can get a feel for the stage so you don’t fall off.”
Admission for Youth Talent Night is free for performers and $3 for guests. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Call the Lyric at 773-6292, or Gwen at 774-9866 if staging needs to be arranged.
Upcoming Youth Talent Nights will be held at the Lyric on the following Friday evenings: January 25; February 15; March 22; April 26; and May 31.