March 06, 2019

Lyric Announces New Program with Chicago Urban League

EmpowerYouth! will immerse African American youth in the creation of an original opera

This past month, Lyric Unlimited, Lyric’s education and community engagement arm, and the Chicago Urban League, an organization that for more than 100 years has opened the doors of opportunity for African Americans in Chicago, announced the exciting news that they will be joining forces on a new groundbreaking, multiyear program, EmpowerYouth! Igniting Creativity through the Arts. Beginning this October, 30 high school students from four Chicago communities will meet weekly after school to begin creating a fully-staged, original youth-centric opera. 

Using storytelling, music, drama, and dance, the participants will share their stories about navigating life in Chicago and the day-to-day issues they face from their own perspectives. These stories will become the basis for the libretto of the new work, which will be presented as a culminating event of the program’s first year on May 31, 2018, in a public performance at the Lyric Opera House. 

Another exciting element of the program is that participants will receive hands-on training from professional writers, musicians, and artists to become familiar with basic performance and artistic skill sets that will help them determine which area of the production process they would most like to pursue. EmpowerYouth! will include leadership development, weekly rehearsals led by teaching artists, and exposure to careers in the arts including marketing and promotion, wigs, makeup, wardrobe, lighting, stage management, and performance. 

We at Lyric are thrilled to launch this new program, and to be working closely with our colleagues at the Chicago Urban League. We look forward to welcoming these young people into the opera house and hearing their compelling stories performed on stage! Stay tuned for more updates and exciting developments throughout the year.