Anxiousness rippled through groups of young performers. Beyond the bright wash of lights that illuminated the stage, a live audience was seated, waiting for their performances to begin at the Grand Theatre. But training and skill kicked in as the 49 nervous students from 7 schools took to the stage to show their families and friends all they had learned during the Grand Youth After School Program.
The ongoing Grand Youth program provides performing arts enrichment to junior high and high school students through performance and technical theater summer camps, after-school programs and exclusive student matinees. Over the course of eight weeks, students learn about acting, improv, playwriting and directing. To top off the experience, students perform several plays for their family and friends at The Grand Theatre including dramatic and comedic skits, sketch comedies and pantomimes.
“The performers unanimously said that they enjoyed participating in the program and are interested in taking more theater classes in the future,” said Molly Flores, marketing, PR and outreach coordinator at Salt Lake Community College’s Center for Arts and Media. “It was an overwhelmingly positive response from the parents in attendance. Throughout the performance many parents were recording their children on stage and after the performance getting pictures with them and congratulating them. The teaching assistants in attendance commented that it was the best they had seen their students perform.”
Salt Lake Community College instructors and students lead the program, which also includes free tickets to matinee performances as a way to expose the students to quality, professional caliber theater.
The recent showcase featured students from Northwest Middle School, Entheos Academy from Kearns and Magna, Clayton Middle School and Glendale Middle School. Students involved in the showcase commented, “I enjoyed creating plays and acting them out,” “It was amazing and I wish it was longer,” and “I loved it! Thanks for the experience.”