Northlight Offstage: November ’18

by Northlight Theatre

“I can learn…”  Fanny Price in Mansfield Park

In Mansfield Park, our current production, Fanny is sent by her impoverished parents to live with her wealthy relatives, and struggles to adapt to their genteel ways.  “I can learn to speak,” she tells herself. “I can learn to accept.  I can learn to love.”

To speak.  To accept.  To love.  In a way, isn’t this what theatre is all about?  Speaking our hearts, accepting the world, and always love.

It’s certainly what we value at Northlight—both on our stage and in our arts education mission. Our programs are designed to help youth tap into their voice, creativity and confidence to improve themselves and their communities.

Learning To Act For Success!

It’s no news to us, but research shows that youth who participate in arts education have a higher chance for future success.  This year, Northlight has two new programs aimed at helping young people be successful in school and at work.

We’re thrilled about our new community partners, Evanston Scholars and Youth Job Center, two Evanston-based organizations who work with college and career bound young people.

Evanston Scholars is a non-profit organization that works to improve college access and success for students with financial and/or academic needs, from the admissions process through college graduation.  Youth Job Center provides job readiness training, placement and support to help young people both find a job and pursue a career.

Combining our missions was a stroke of creative genius, if we say so ourselves, since our end goals are similar: confident young people ready to make a difference!

We’re still in the planning stages but so far, here’s what’s in the playbill:

Northlight’s teaching artists will conduct workshops that both staff and youth will attend.  Using theatre games and activities, improvisation techniques, and Northlight’s unique theatre for social change model, they’ll teach interview and presentation skills and address the important issue of workers’ rights. Northlight’s staff will also sit on panels to share their unique career paths, and discuss possible opportunities in the arts.


Northlight Youth Council: Back For Another Act!

NLYC is in their second year!  As the next generation of leaders in theatre, they’re ready to build on last year’s success.

What exactly do they do? Rhianna O’Toole, a returning council member, explains:

“In the council, we plan Spotlight events where youth can come in and see the shows Northlight is putting on and meet the actors, have discussions, eat, and have fun with each other while connecting with theater.  I love that because it’s an opportunity for people to get behind the scenes and talk with others with similar interests.  After starting the council last year and getting into the groove of things, we are more than ready to bring it on for Spotlight again.  I can’t wait to see what this year has to offer!”

Kelsey Collins, a new member, shares Rhianna’s enthusiasm:

“Being new in the Northlight Youth Council has been far more exciting than I ever expected. The amount of opportunities that have been provided to us through this program is truly mind-blowing. I have learned so much about theatre in Chicago and some of the many intricacies within it. It has been so awesome to discuss theatre and plan events with other like-minded kids. The Northlight community and youth council have been so welcoming and kind, I definitely made the right choice to apply. Never has attending professional theatre felt so accessible to me or my friends. I can’t wait to see what amazing things we will do next.”

The next Spotlight event is February 2 at 2:30pm.  Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, for high school students using the code SPOTLIGHT.  The cost includes a ticket to the show, snacks, and a talk back with cast members.

To learn more about Northlight’s Education and Community Engagement Programs, contact Director Mara Stern at

Check out our gala video and hear what our community partners have to say about our impact:

This year, we’ve served over 2800 students in 45 Chicago area schools.
Other partners include Y.O.U., Christopher House, Family Focus,
Evanston Scholars, Youth Job Center and YWCA.
Help us spread the word!