Northlight Offstage: April 18

by Northlight Theatre

“April … hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” –William Shakespeare

That may be true, but we also believe our youth hath put the spirit of April in Northlight’s Education Program!  We’ve been hard at work with our young (and not so young) participants all winter, and this spring, we’re reaping the rewards of that work.

So far this year, we have served a total of 2812 students in 22 programs in 35 schools.  We have also served 45 adults in 2 community programs (YWCA and Family Focus).

In this post, we’ll be highlighting two of these programs that are holding exciting events in April!


Today’s Young Leaders Are Bright Hope For Tomorrow’s Theatre

Our brand new youth council, or NYLC, as they’ve named themselves, is up and running and building the next generation of theater makers!  North Shore and Chicago teens are being offered a rare opportunity to learn what it takes to make great theatre and to appreciate its relevance in shaping our world.  Working with Northlight staff and cast members, they’ll get an up-close, inside look into the world of stage production and, as ambassadors of Northlight, host events to spread their passion for theater with their peers.  They’ll also be building valuable skills in leadership, collaboration, and creativity.  A win-win for both teens and Northlight, it’s generating a lot of enthusiasm in the young theater community.


Members of the NLYC at The Beauty Queen of Leenane

NLYC member, Yasmin Mam:

Theatre has this magical ability of uniting people from all different backgrounds, schools, and age groups. We are the NLYC! We’re a variety of students ranging from 8th grade to high school seniors all from different schools who hold a similar passion and appreciation for theatre. Through different platforms, together we create innovative ideas to grab the attention of others in hopes of demonstrating how essential theatre is to us and society.

NLYC is valuable to me personally because it allows me to meet other people who find theatre magical just like I do. I get to learn more about how theatre affects others. It expands my experience in theatre as a student and an artist. It’s taught me leadership skills, organizational skills, and teamwork collaborations. Usually when you watch a play you’d clap at the end and maybe have a post-show discussion, but with NLYC it’s like always having post-show discussions and learning about how the production came to be. It’s been an amazing experience so far and I’m looking forward to all our plans!

The council is currently planning and marketing their first Spotlight event, scheduled for April 7th.  High school students are offered discount tickets to an afternoon matinee of our current stage production, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, and a program to follow in our inner lobby.


Setting the Stage at Family Focus: Raising the Kids’ Kids

We’re in our first year with Family Focus Evanston, working with a group of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren—and have a lot to say about it!   With the help of Beth Jacobs, a volunteer writing teacher at Family Focus Our Place Evanston, these folks write about their experiences and regularly publish a book, Grandparents Rock: Writings of the Second Chance Grandparents Group.

From this work, they’ve created a performance for their family and friends, sharing the heart, humor and hardship of their second-time-around parenting.  Kaiser Ahmed, a Northlight teaching artist and the associate artistic director of Jackalope Theatre in Chicago, is delighted to be directing the stage production.  He’ll be teaching theatre techniques like projection, blocking and eye contact—skills that help build confidence both on and off the stage.  The performance is scheduled for April 24 at 7pm in the Family Focus theatre.  All are invited to attend.

Northlight would like to give special thanks to Bernice Weissbourd, the founder of Family Focus and a member of the Northlight Advisory Council, for initiating this valuable partnership; and to the Evanston Community Foundation, whose generous grant supports this program.  The Northlight Education Program also thanks you, our friends, donors and patrons, whose support allows us to make a lasting impact.

Sophomores in the AVID program at ETHS participate in the final presentation of the Speak Up! Theatre for Social Change program.

May this Spring bring for you the spirit of youth! And to learn more about Northlight’s Education and Community Engagement Programs contact Mara Stern at