Competition builds momentum for a Langley community theatre

There’s one last chance for aspiring Langley performing artists to be crowned the best, before Langley Has Talent fades off into the sunset.

The annual talent competition, hosted by the four Langley Rotary Clubs, has served its purpose and 2015 will be the final year, announced founder and organizer Peter Luongo.

Therefore, he’s encouraging an even broader spectrum of artists than ever before to audition, including dance groups, comedians, jugglers, rappers, instrumental musicians, Cirque-like gymnasts, bands, and singers.

The entire arts community must come out and be represented at these auditions, Luongo insisted, saying that’s the only way to truly show there is sufficient support and need for a community theatre.

Luongo confirmed this will be the last year of the competition.

“Our project was never about having an annual talent show,” he said.

When formed, the LHT committee had a five-year mandate to draw awareness to the need for a theatre, to showcase a wide variety of local talent, and to assess if there was sufficient support from the community (including the arts sector) for a theatre.

Luongo said a jointly sponsored feasibility study looking into a community theatre was commissioned last year, and he feels the results demonstrated interest, support, and demand for such a facility.

And its findings leave Luongo – and other Rotarians – hopeful that if not immediately, then soon the community as a whole will get behind efforts to actually construct a theatre.

These annual talent competitions, in his view, have demonstrated there is an ample cross-section of talent worth showcasing in such a facility.

 â€œAnd all this has given the public a chance to ponder if this is something they would need, use, or want,” he said.

While the Rotary Clubs led this initiative to gauge interest and showcase the need, and while he anticipates he and fellow Rotarians could play a lead role in creating a community theatre, Luongo said the impetus must now – first and foremost – come from the arts communities and the residents.

• Ticket money funds further studies

The focus of past competitions has never been to raise a lot of money, but rather raise awareness. However, Luongo said, more effort will be exerted this year to generate money and build a reserve fund that can live on past the life of the talent competitions.

That money would not be earmarked for construction or operation of an actual multi-million-dollar theatre, Luongo said. But he does hope any money that can be raised from talent show ticket sales and registration fees in 2015 will be used to further study and move forward plans for a theatre.

The first of three rounds of auditions are being held this Saturday at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, with the first 20 contenders set to try out between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Any others who apply (at www.langleyhastalent.com) will audition on either Feb. 7 or 14.

The Langley Has Talent semifinals are slated for  Saturday, March 28, from 7 to 10 p.m., followed a few weeks later by the finals – on Saturday, April 18 – at the Christian Life Assembly Church.

As in past years, the grand-prize winner will walk away with $2,500 in cash.

Second prize carries a $1,500 cash reward, and third place will earn one act $1,000.

 

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