Tyler Junior College’s student organization Las Mascaras will be hosting its final Venue for the spring semester from 9 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, at Jean Browne Theatre in the Wise Cultural Arts building.
The Venue is a coffee house event at TJC where students can perform pieces they have been working on in their personal time.
“The whole reason it’s done is because we have so many set performances for like mainstages, second stages, readings, but as artsy people, we’re always working on something like we have a song that we want to do,” Robbie Wilt, Las Mascaras’ vice president, said. “A lot of people write poems. We have a few dancers; it’s whatever you’re doing that is your art, and you would like to show to other people. That’s what we want to see.”
The Venue was originally created by Dr. David Crawford around 20 years ago with the hope that it would provide students a place to exhibit their work.
“I was told a guy named Dr. David Crawford said, ‘I want a coffee shop environment where people can show off their art.’ And that’s just what we’ve been doing ever since then,” Wilt said.
Wilt touches on the importance of the event as well as the opportunities it provides students at TJC.
“The way I see it is that I want to support people doing art, especially local art. It’s something that even though we can perform in our bedrooms, or to our friends, it’s, it’s a space that you can say, ‘This is what I love, and this is what I want to do, and I want to show this to people,” Wilt said.
For students who are unable to participate in other performances within the theatre program, the venue provides them with the opportunity to hit the stage.
“Venue is important because in the times when we have a mainstage going on, not everybody who is an active member of Las Mascaras/a theatre major, can have a part in the show. Venue is an opportunity for everyone to perform something,” Cheyenne McAllister, Las Mascaras member, said.
The Venue also provides performers an environment to display works of art they have created without the fear of judgment.
“It’s really relaxed. There have been times where I’ve gotten nervous right before my performance section of Venue will begin, and I don’t hear anything except the hollers of encouragement from my peers and even faculty that will be there alongside us. The environment is wonderful, and even if you come to venue and don’t perform, it’s so much fun to just sit back and watch everyone,” McAllister said.
The event is free to students, and anyone can participate. Those interested in performing must sign up prior to the event. However, if time allows attendees who are inspired by the performances may get the opportunity at the end.
“We get a list of people who want to perform, and we’re gonna write those names down,” Wilt said. “The first registration, I make sure we have enough time for everybody to go. But after that, people can still come up and say, “Hey, I want to do something,” and I’ll write their name down.”
Individuals who decide to perform but did not sign up before the show may not be able to perform unless time allows.
The Venue mainly features performances like singing but also allows performers to express themselves through monologues, dancing and more.
The organization emphasizes that most pieces must follow a list of guidelines to be performed. Wilt said the guidelines include but are not limited to, no excessive cursing, trigger warnings must be submitted to the hosts if necessary, no preaching and the performance must not exceed the 5-minute time limit.
To find more information about The Venue, visit events.tjc.edu and search, “Theatre Venue.”
The Venue will also pick back up in the fall for those who are unable to attend this upcoming event.