NLT offering summer youth workshop

Published 12:06am Sunday, June 1, 2014

Natchez Little Theatre, Mississippi’s oldest community theater and a charitable non-profit organization, has offered theatrical workshops for local area youth throughout its 82-year history. In 2005, I created and organized the annual summer youth workshop, introducing a new generation to the joys of theatre. The program has been recognized since its inception by the Mississippi Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. The 2014 Summer Youth Workshop is proud to have garnered the support of The Natchez Democrat and the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

NLT’s 2014 Summer Youth Workshop will begin at Natchez Little Theatre at 1 p.m. Tuesday. On the first day, parents and/or guardians are asked to attend for registration, orientation and auditions for placement in the beginning, intermediate or advanced classes. This session will end at 5 p.m., and the workshop will run throughout the month of June from 1 p.m. through 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, ending on June 26.

This year’s participants will audition for and star in Natchez Little Theatre’s 67th season opening production of the musical, “Bugsy Malone,” a revival of the popular show that started the annual workshops 10 years ago. The film version of “Bugsy Malone” starred a young Jody Foster and Scot Baio.

This summer, local area youth, who are capable of reading through the 12th grade, will have an opportunity to work with exceptionally talented teachers. NLT’s musical director, Terrence Robinson, who was the musical director of “Legally Blonde” will work with the youth on vocal performance. Robinson has been a music educator with the Natchez-Adams School District and Delta Charter School. He will also offering private voice lessons at the theatre throughout the summer.

Leigh Anne Mason, who has taught in previous NLT Summer Youth Workshops and choreographed NLT’s original “Bugsy Malone” back in 2005, will be the dance and movement instructor. Mason has many years experience at Natchez Little Theatre as an award-winning actress and director of previous summer youth workshop productions.

Assisting Leigh Anne with choreography will be NLT multi-award-winning actress, singer and dancer, recipient of NLT’s Dawn Taylor Memorial Scholarship and choreographer and star of “The Color Purple,” Alethea Shelton. Shelton will make her NLT directing debut with “Bugsy Malone,” becoming NLT’s first African-American director.

I will be on hand to work the workshop students on auditioning, acting and an introduction to theatre and its rich and wonderful history.  In addition, I will assist Mrs. Shelton on directing the production of “Bugsy Malone,” which will run July 31 through August 3. With a break for the Fourth of July holidays, we will reconvene throughout July, leading up to the opening of the show.

NLT’s annual Dawn Taylor Memorial Scholarship, a $500 college scholarship, has always been rewarded to summer youth workshop participants. Many of whom, have gone on to study theatre, voice and dance in college and graduate school.

NLT is so proud of the more the 300 young people who have gone through our workshops over the past 10 years. And we look forward to meeting new young people and instill in them self-confidence, commitment, pride, self-respect and working with a team in the energetic world of theatre. They may come in shy but the leave us ready to take on the world!

Tuition for NLT’s 2014 Summer Youth Workshop is $200 and siblings or second children pay $100 for the 48-hour month long workshop. NLT offers scholarships for children in need after they audition for the workshop. Remember no experience is necessary.

For more information or to audition for NLT’s 2014 Summer Youth Workshop, call the theatre at 601-442-2233, email at or visit the website at I look forward to making your child a star and a confident member of our community and theatre family.


Layne Taylor is the NLT artistic and executive director and founder of NLT’s Summer Youth Workshop.