A new youth academy is opening its doors next year to welcome in a new batch of up-and-coming actors and musical theatre performers. Drayton Entertainment is currently undertaking renovations of a new facility dedicated to helping young performers reach their potential.
“We think it’s a great program because we’ve always wanted to kind of destroy the financial barriers, physical barriers, emotional barriers and geographical barriers for youth, and we just also believe that, in these days, the best impact, the most important impact we can make is generational change. So it’s to bring youth together and in a safe environment – hopefully not only build future performers and technicians and so on for theatre, but just the next generation of great community leaders,” said Alex Mustakas, artistic director and CEO of Drayton Entertainment.
“We’re focusing on musical theatre. Through that is acting workshops and singing and some dance as it relates to musical theatre, but also on the technical side we want to advance youth towards building sets and costume design and scenic painting, etc. Also on the stage management side of things as well,”
The youth academy will be home to a wide variety of local talent, ranging from toddlers to late teens.
“We just really believe, given the times we’re living in, that the biggest impact we can make as an organization is generational change, because things will not change overnight. And we believe creating a space like this will really help the cause.”
The new space will host multiple rehearsal halls, music rooms, workshop rooms while also being adjacent to Drayton Entertainment’s production facility. Youth will get hands-on experience with set construction and costume design. The staff consists of professional actors and technicians that will help guide youth looking to explore their artistic talents. Youth will get the chance to participate in Drayton Entertainment plays and a new high school production that Mustakas says is in the works.
“The testimonials we’ve received over the last five years, about kids who felt safe and being amongst other kids that are creative, we also want to make sure that underprivileged and marginalized members of society also find a space that can tell their stories, as well. This is where we think generational change is the most important thing.”
Hoping to open by February next year, the youth academy will become a stepping stone for young actors in the community, giving them the space they need to develop new skills.
The new Drayton Entertainment Youth Academy facility is currently under construction, located at 145 Northfield Dr. in Waterloo. It’s only a few short blocks from the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse and a short drive to other theatres where participants will be performing.
The organization is transforming the industrial warehouse into a 10,000-square-foot educational complex, the interior of which is designed for multi-use so that young performers can be engaged in a variety of artistic disciplines. It’s adjacent to Drayton Entertainment’s professional Production Centre for the Technical Arts.