Young Artists Initiative is looking for BIPOC youth performers ages 8-18 for its upcoming production of “Lean On Me: An Original Online Show Celebrating Community and Creativity.” 

No audition required. Register for the project and you are automatically in the production. :)

YAI believes representation matters and encourages performers of all backgrounds, whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education or physical abilities to participate in our programing. YAI is committed to being part of the conversations and changes necessary to increasing inclusion and equity both in the arts but also our community as a whole.


Our first YAI virtual production was such a success, we’ve decided to do it again! Registration is open to former and new performers for another one-of-kind performance. Tell your friends and then visit our website for more details to register today for Young Artists Initiative Presents Lean On Me: An Original Online Show Celebrating Community and Creativity!

Experience a way to perform safely through the medium of theatre and art. Work one on one with Professional Directors to produce a virtual experience showcase where you will have the opportunity to sing, dance, act, and much more while learning what it takes to put on a successful virtual production and still be able to enjoy the summer!

Materials Needed: A way to connect to Zoom, headphones or earbuds, video recording device (phone, computer, camera) (please contact us with concerns about materials needed)

Rehearsals: April 19th-June 10th, 2021

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 6:30-8:30pm CST

(Rehearsals will be group work and one-on-one coaching)

Performances: June 24th-27th, 2021

Online performances filmed prior to June 10th, 2021

Cast Party: June 27th, 2021

Registration Link:

Instructors: Sarah Kraning, Erica Hoops, Carolyn Solberg, and Matt Berdahl

Registration Deadline: April 17th, 2021



This year with in-person performances and rehearsals not being a possibility to do safely YAI has opted to do a virtual cabaret entitled Young Artists Initiative Presents Lean On Me: An Original Online Show Celebrating Community and Creativity. This is an experience open to any child between the ages of 8 and 18 to participate in. It will include eight full weeks of “Zoom” rehearsals with opportunities to participate in group songs as well as an individual piece with the show running online for four full days June 24-27th, 2021. Each child will have the opportunity to work with the directors one on one during the rehearsal process in preparation for the show. The registration fee for a child to participate is $75, but please feel free to reach out if the fee amount is a concern. We want all kids to be able to participate whatever their situation. YAI is very excited about this and we hope your child is able to be involved.

This showcase will include three group songs as well as each child having the opportunity to do a solo piece. This can include a song, dance, monologue, storytelling, stand up comedy set, or showing off a piece of visual art. We are open to all mediums of art so if you have a different idea for a solo piece please come talk to us. This showcase is suitable for students with all levels of theatrical experience. They will have the experience of working one on one with Professional Artistic Directors and develop the knowledge and experience of putting together a virtual show that will have the potential to be viewed by hundreds of people. If you’re new to theatre, or a long standing veteran we are sure that this is for you!

For more information about auditions or Young Artists Initiative please contact - [email protected]

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The mission of Young Artists Initiative (YAI) is to transform lives through theater! We do this by educating young theater artists through accessible, high quality performing arts programming offered in an inclusive community setting.

Our vision: A creative and engaged community where young people flourish – on and off the stage.

The following core values guide all YAI activities:

• Access – We increase access to high quality performing arts experiences through free classes, scholarships, and low/no cost tickets.

• Respect and acceptance – We value all young people for who they are; we embrace the understanding that there are no “cookie cutter” kids or families.

• Community – We bridge communities as we build our YAI family through volunteer involvement, performance, and celebrating the creative potential in every child.

• Learning by doing – We encourage youth to reach their greatest creative potential through collaboration with professional artists and leadership opportunities.

• Going beyond – We believe that whatever we put into a performance is what we get out of it. This commitment and passion helps youth build the skills and confidence necessary to exceed expectations in theater and in life.

Contact information

Young Artists Initiative
Matthew Berdahl
(651) 222-5437
Web site

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Saturday, April 17
Posted April 5