NIETF Connects Arts to Community with Theatrepalooza

NIETF Connects Arts to Community with Theatrepalooza
By: Mona Sehgal Last Updated: August 8, 2016

The Northwest Indiana Excellence in Theatre Foundation (NIETF) constantly strives to make a positive impact in the community through arts. They did just this during the 4th Annual NIETF Theatrepalooza, a free theatre festival held on the afternoon of Sunday, August 7 at Chesterton High School.

NIETF Outreach Coordinator Jerald Jascoviak said, “There are so many people that live in Northwest Indiana that have no idea about the amazing arts community we have here. Our goal at NIETF is to make theatre and the arts available for everyone to enjoy. The showcase today demonstrates all types of theatre and hopefully encourages people to become more involved.”

The venue for Theatrepalooza has changed over the past few years. The reason for this is to demonstrate the unity within the Northwest Indiana arts community. NIETF hopes to showcase the talent that exists within the region, while also making it easily accessible to the public. The beauty of this event is that it represents a variety of shows and theatres. Performances included excerpts from Little Shop of Horrors, Footloose the musical, Lilies of the Field, MakeShift Up Improv, Macbeth, An Adult Evening with Shel Silverstein, Clue the musical and several others. Audience members were even able to win door prizes throughout the event.

President of Crown Point Community Theatre Matt Valuckis said, “Theatrepalooza allows theatres in Northwest Indiana to gain more exposure. We have so many different theatres and most of them are nonprofits, so events like today attempt to educate the community about the existing theatre scene and gain viewership. Theatrepalooza is a great experience for us because it puts our actors in front of a new audience.”

Crown Point Community Theatre is one of the sixteen NIETF member theatres. Theaters from Chesterton, Hammond, Valparaiso, Crown Point, Munster, Michigan City, Highland, and Cedar Lake all strive to strengthen the arts community through their work with NIETF. Attendees of the event had the opportunity to talk to several theatre representatives to get more information about upcoming shows, auditions, volunteer opportunities, and classes. Sponsors of the event included the Indiana Arts Commission, South Shore Arts, and Ideas in Motion Media. Dunes Tourism provided promotional support.

Attendee Emily Smith said, “I was very involved with my high school and college theatre department. I love that even though I’m not in school anymore, I’m still able to celebrate and enjoy theatre through events like this. The arts culture in the region is expanding. There is definitely something about theatre that unifies people.”

I don’t think I could have said it better myself. Thanks to efforts of NIETF, the theatre and arts community within the region will continue to flourish.