24-hour theater festival will benefit LGBTQ youth

Local theater performers and playwrights are pooling their considerable talents for a 24-hour theater festival to raise funds for Valley Youth House’s Pride program, which provides housing and supportive services for LGBTQ-plus youth in the Lehigh Valley.

Project Transcend’s Oct. 5 event — the brainchild of local artist and LGBTQ advocate Scott Klaum — will bring together talent from some of the region’s most established theater organizations. Most, if not all, have a connection to the LGBTQ community.

“We certainly have directors, members and actors who are part of the community, and others who have friends, family members and students that they teach,” Klaum said. “It’s safe to say that everybody involved is touched in some way by the LGBTQ community.”

Klaum said participating playwrights and performers will be broken into different groups who each have one day to create and perform a play the following night.

“It is all original,” he said. “That evening there will be six one-act performances. All six of them original and will have been created in the past 24 hours. Part of the excitement is that we are leaving it up to the playwrights to really determine what topics they want to address in their 10-12 minute performances. So until the curtain goes up, we don’t know what we are getting.”

Klaum said he appeal of an event like this — other than raising funds for a good cause — is the unique immediacy and creativity that is part of the experience, for people both on and off the stage. 

“From an artistic perspective, it’s really something to show up for an event where you know that those who are participating and performing have created something just in the last 24 hours,” he said. “There’s the sense of, ‘I have no idea what’s going to happen.’ The mission of this event is to create an entirely new future and to make that future available to homeless LGBTQ youth in this area. That’s what’s really driving everyone who is participating in this project. 

The Project Transcend 24-Hour Theatre Festival performance begins at 8 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Unitarian Congregation of West Chester, 501 S. High St. in West Chester. For more information or tickets, visit projecttranscendpa.com and valleyyouthhouse.org.

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