Artwork by youth who participated in RISE! Near West Theatre’s out-of-school time program for youth 9-15.
"RISE is a place where you can put down any image you set yourself to be at school or home and be one hundred percent the person you are. It’s challenging, fun and all things great. This season we had amazing singers/actors/dancers/artists and I’m so happy to be a mentor to the kids and to build friendships with them as well."
- Felix, NWT participant and teen mentor
Felix first came to Near West Theatre as a 10-year old hoping to find a place where he belonged.
Six years, and 14 productions later, Felix has not only expanded his theatre skills, but also his confidence, ability to empathize, problem-solve, take risks, and leadership within a team. He now helps other youth as a teen mentor in Rise, our out-of-school time program.
Felix received a scholarship from St. Ignatius High School, and now as a sophomore, performed the role of “Radames” in Aida at St. Joseph Academy earning him a Best Actor nomination for a Playhouse Square Dazzle Award.
Before Felix became a part of the NWT family, he didn’t have access to the arts. Today, he’s eager to succeed, contribute, and be challenged. He, with the support of NWT, submitted a grant request to The Kyle Jean-Baptiste Foundation for voice lessons and was awarded $1,000.
At age 16, Felix will graduate from our youth program at the conclusion of our 2018 fall youth production.
At NWT, youth develop skills in singing, movement and the craft of acting. In addition, social emotional learning is embedded in all parts of our programming. We have long-term involvement —6 years with Felix—and more years with many. Although Felix will age out of our youth program, he can, and most likely will, continue in the NWT intergenerational and summer teen/young adult productions.
Felix is prepared for bigger challenges.
This year 295 youth and 80 adults took part in Near West Theatre’s programming. Some were 2nd generation NWT alums and will continue their involvement well into adulthood.
Please help to provide under-served youth, families and adults the kind of rewarding experience that comes with participation in live theatre. Your gift will help others like Felix gain confidence and prepare them for future success and challenges.
Support Near West Theatre. Give the gift of theatre. Give generously.
Mike Obertacz Bob Navis Jr
Managing Director Artistic Director