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Young artistic flair on display

Live entertainment and a host of other events have largely been on hold for the better part of a year. Online options have emerged in some instances, including a new youth-oriented talent show set for Monday.

Gaslight Events Company is launching its first-ever youth talent show in a virtual format to help bring some joy back to the lives of those in the region – and to help youth who may be struggling to adapt.

Dubbed the 110 Percent Youth Talent Festival, the event asked youth to participate by submitting a video of themselves performing a special skill, the videos will then be put together into an hour long show in time for Family Day on February 15.

Gaslight’s Christina Marshall says the goal was to help mitigate some of the loss felt – specifically by youth living in the region.

“This has been a really hard year, particularly on our youth, and we want to give them a stage or a voice, so to speak, to share their talents and also bring them together and let them know that they’re not alone going through this. We figured we have a beautiful, big event space that’s not being used – for obvious reasons, because of COVID, of course – [so] why not utilize the event capabilities so that we can do this virtual event with the hopes that it’s going to become a regular in-person event for years to come,” said Marshall.

“That’s basically where it came from, wanting to help and to bring awareness to the mental health that our youth and our children are facing. We thought that was very important,” she explained.

“We all banded together and decided to bring forth the idea of a talent show to unify the teens and also show them that we’re here and we have their back, and that we’re proud. We know that they’re struggling, but we want to make sure that they know that they have support.”

The show will be about an hour long and will feature two hosts throwing to almost 30 submissions of pre-taped clips, submitted by teens between the ages of 14 and 18.

Marshall said anything creative and artistic will be on display during the show including magic, juggling, dancing, music, painting, photography and even writing.

The idea for the event emerged about three weeks ago and was put together very quickly, she said. Youth had until January 29 to submit videos of themselves performing their talents, and they got the word out by reaching out to student bodies across the region.

While there will be no voting for a favourite act, nor will there be prizes for the most talented, Marshall says they still wanted to have a “greater community aspect” by asking viewers to donate to local charities that deal with youth.

“This is just more so for the glories of coming together and putting on a show. There are, however, opportunities for viewers to donate to three local charities, because we wanted to make sure that there was still some sort of greater community aspect with the show. So, viewers have the chance to donate any denomination of money. It would be divided up amongst Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region, Kinbridge [Community Association] and KidsAbility and we picked those three charities specifically for the fact that they all deal with kids,” Marshall added.

She says because of the overwhelming interest of teens who were not able to make their submissions in time for this round, they are already accepting for the next festival, which should be taking place this summer.

The show will be streamed on February 15. Those interested in watching can view the show or donate to these charities by visiting the talent festival website.

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