Jordan A. Porter-Woodruff Japwoodruff@gmail.com
The Goodman Theatre’s third annual Scene Soiree took place on Saturday, June 21st at the National Hellenic Museum. The annual soiree is a fundraiser for the General Theatre Studies (GTS) program for young adults in the Chicago area. Upon arrival attendees walked the red carpet and were greeted by colorful lights, upbeat music, open tables, hors d’oeuvres and marvelous interactive themes from “Dionysus” to “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Raising $55,000 – $10,000 more than last year’s soiree, the brains behind the operation and President of the Scenemakers Board, Lauren Blair had nothing short of a successful event. The fundraiser featured a hosted bar by Celeste, raffle for a trip to Vegas and a silent auction offering signed NBA basketballs to yacht rides or for the décor inclined, an in-home interior design consultation.
Although for guests the soiree was a great way to kick off the summer, the thought and integrity behind the event is what matters to the Scenemakers Board and most importantly the people it directly affects. The Goodman Theatre’s GTS is a free six-week summer program that takes 80 youth’s (ages 14-19) from the Chicago area and surrounds them with creative energy in hopes of them finding and catering to their theatrical voice. Participating students learn many elements of theatre production including critical thinking, literacy and storytelling skills from local theatre professionals and at the end of the program put them to the test by performing a play. When asked how the GTS program positively impacts students, Lauren Blair replied,
“…GTS has been a life-saver for many teenagers who struggle with so many issues, including poverty, abuse, gender-identity, low self-esteem and isolation. GTS gives them a safe environment to explore and create, not just art, but positive relationships with others and with themselves.”
Striving to teach and inspire the youth, the continuation of GTS is nothing short of an impactful, inspiring and creative outlet to the voices that are often times lost. There are many faces and lives that are often ignored and unseen around Chicago outside of the downtown area, mainly the south and west sides. Theatre has long been an outlet for one to express themselves freely; GTS is a great resource for the Chicago youth to do just that.
For more information on the General Theatre Studies program click here.