Third Annual Youth Talent Slam showing in Nelson and Trail
The Charles Bailey Theatre is set to pull back the curtains and welcome to the stage the Youth Arts Festival Third Annual Talent Slam, a display of talent chosen in auditions by youth ranging in age from 15-29, according to Miriam Needoba, director of the Oxygen Arts Centre.
She said there will be two shows – one in Nelson Feb. 23 and another in Trail on March 4.
She said performers simply need a talent and a desire to spend a month in the Kootenays to receive mentorship, and talents can include music, singing, dancing, acting, comedy, performance art, poetry and spoken word.
On stage for 2017 will be Maddie Kinghorn, Kayleigh Hill, James Alexander, Agatha Storie, Grace Markle, Matthew Goddard, Dexter Gibson, Sam Hobeyn, Talel McBriar, Alex McIntyre, Shawna Woelke, Quinn Barron, Kozmo Sammartino, Bronwen Bird, Catalyst Loa, Dominique Adams, Geordi Campos, Ava Koeltgen and Melodie Giguere.
Needoba sais there is no grand prize, as Talent Slam is not a competition. The selected talent for the show will receive one-on-one mentorships with festival mentors Lucas Myers, Bessie Wapp, Slava Doval and Nadine Tremblay to develop their acts.
Auditions were held in Nelson and Trail this year, in the spirit of encouraging young artists in our community.
“We are fortunate to be provided a lot of funding and support to help youth in arts, demographic between high school and age 25,” Needoba said, adding, “This is a real opportunity to see first-hand this is what will happen to you if you choose this route, this is very real – you are on stage.”
Nadine Tremblay, Guest Service Manager, Bailey Theatre, said she is happy to work with Oxygen to bring this opportunity to the Trail area, and that she was excited to offer a venue, to give these performers a stage. Tremblay has worked with Charles Bailey for 10 years. She has a degree in opera and musical theatre and is an aspiring singer/songwriter currently working on musical theatre and electronic indie pop. She said that, during auditions, she looks for personality, uniqueness and youthful expression, and puts herself in the audience eye as a youth and asks herself, would she want to pay to see this performance? She said she looks for stage presence, breathing, connection, movement and a desire to want to grow and learn.
Bessie Wapp works with musicians. Wapp’s background includes singing, accordion and piano. She grew up outside of Nelson then spent 20 years travelling all over North America working in theatre. Wapp said she has seen firsthand where life can take you through performing arts., and that she wishes she had enoyed this sort of opportunity in her own youth. When watching auditions, Wapp said she looks for an artist who enjoys what they are doing, one who can express their power and passion through their performance.
“This is what translates best to audiences.”
Slava Doval, owner of Dance Fusion inNelson, serves as the dance mentor. She describes her freelance training as coming through a mixture of mentorship and self-training, driven by passion. She said she's passionate about sharing her love of dance and being able to co-create with the kids through exploration.
"I look at these kids that just need a chance and ask myself, 'what can I offer?'”.
Doval said she is honoured to be in a position to offer her passion as a positive influence to their experience. She enjoys looking for that unique creative fun dialogue.
Lucas Myers studied theatre at Uvic, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and is going to the National Theatre of Canada. He now writes and performs one person shows through his Theatre Company Pilot-Co-Pilot based in Nelson. This is his third year with the Youth Talent Slam. He offers coaching on performance. When asked what he looks for, Myers said, “How comfortable they are on stage, if someone has a sense of their presence. The fact that they are here, that they came out, that they show a sense of presence and confidence means I can work with them.
"It is so important for these young talents to have the opportunity to get on the stage and to be with other youth to become aware of their tribe,” he added. “It is the best feeling in the world and it is so great to have the backstage lounge for friendships to form.”
The festival will also be a mentored work experience opportunity for Youth Coordinators in the area. Twelve will be involved in producing the festival. Ty Wright will be the MC for the two events. He said he considers himself a multi-talent being a musician, acting, writing and comedian. Wright said he loves the experience of getting out in front of crowds and supporting the youth while having the opportunity to gain experience on his own talents. Hannah Deboer will be coordinating the backstage lounge gallery, and while Silk Edwards said she doesn't hold a unique talent, she likes being around artistic people. Bronwyn Cheyne said her interest lies in Arts administration.
Shows are at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson Feb. 23 and Charles Bailey Theatre in Trail on March 4. Also new for this year is the Backstage Lounge at Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson. Backstage will be developed into a small stage venue so everyone who auditions will get an opportunity to perform during the festival.