With the lights dimmed and the atmosphere quiet, young performers take the stage to perform their original works. The Venue opens up the opportunity for students to express their talent and widen their artistic horizons.

The Venue is a “coffee house” that features art, which incorporates everything that pertains to performing. Whether it’s singing, playing any instrument, dancing, or any other form of artistic expression, this program offers an opportunity to be entertained and a place to meet people.

“It is a laid back, relaxed atmosphere. Performers should feel no stress or pressure,” said David Crawford, professor of theatre.

It is a place where students can come on a Saturday night just to listen to music, join in conversations with new acquaintances, and simply hang out.

“The Venue’s purpose is to celebrate original work. It is a safe, warm environment for all to come to have a good time,” said Crawford.

Based on the concept practiced at the “beatnik-coffeehouses” of the 50’s and 60’s, The Venue not only offers a place to go but also an opportunity for young performers to practice their talent in front of other unfamiliar faces.

A college-aged student is named every year to be the Master of Ceremonies. This ‘MC’ has the important task of introducing each act before they go on stage to perform.

“It was a very good experience, and I hope to come back,” said Brandon Thomas, who sang for the first time at The Venue held on Oct. 17. “I’m working on my stage presence and am trying to get over my stage fright.”

The Venue recently celebrated its fourth anniversary. Throughout the years, the attendance has been growing at a steady pace. With coffee, hot tea, cider, lemonade and iced tea all being served, there is sure to be a beverage for everyone’s taste.

Sponsored by Tyler Junior College Theatre and Green Acres College Ministries, The Venue is open to all individuals who want to perform. Guidelines for performing are simple – no vulgarity, politicizing or sermonizing. The environment is a friendly one. The sponsors make certain that no one in the audience is offended by any act.

Each performer is allowed a maximum of five minutes on stage. Bands are not permitted due to the amount of time it takes to set up and tear down a band. Welcomed are all single musicians, singers, songwriters, poets, dancers, storytellers and comedians.

“I was more than ready to get on stage. I’ve been singing since I was four and sing in the choir here,” said Megan Simmons.

Remaining dates are Oct. 31, Nov. 7, and Dec. 5 in Jean Browne Theatre from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is free to the public and refreshments are provided.

Students interested in performing must contact David Crawford at 903-510-2678 or dcra@tjc.edu or sign up for info on Facebook at: I Heart Venue.

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