EmpowerYouth!: Igniting Creativity through the Arts is a groundbreaking partnership with the Chicago Urban League that immerses teenagers in the creation of an original performance.
In the 2020/21 Season, EmpowerYouth! continues virtually, and consists of members of the 2019/20 ensemble. Similar to previous years, participants work with professional artistic staff and program facilitators in learning how principles of performance, the written word, music, and dance can translate to their everyday lives. Their work over eight months will culminate in the creation of an original performance that tells the story of their lives as young, Black Chicagoans, and how they deal with issues that are pertinent to them. The story and its final performance will include singing, rapping, acting, and dancing. Kristiana Rae Colón returns as EmpowerYouth!'s librettist and Lyric welcomes Shawn Wallace to the program as this year’s composer. Jacob Watson returns as program facilitator with Tanji Harper, Osiris Khepera and Emorja Roberson serving as artist mentors.