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Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from LOUD!

Happy Holidays friends, family, and supporters!

Greetings from LOUD, the New Orleans Queer Youth Theater! Managed by Rebecca Mwase, Rachel Lee, Evan Spigelman and a fierce youth ensemble, LOUD is in its second fabulous year as a transformative space for leadership development, story sharing, and theater making.

LOUD’s ensemble of queer and allied youth has had an incredible year.  In April 2014, we performed our first full length piece, Beyond Acceptance, to packed houses.  In August, we took the piece on the road to Alternate ROOTS “ROOTS Week” in North Carolina, where we engaged in meaningful dialogue with other artists, activists, and educators.   Later that same month, we went with a youth representative to the Annual Meeting of the Pride Youth Theater Alliance, a national network of queer youth theater of which we are a member.

After a year of exploration, travel, and critical engagement, we cast our 2014-2015 ensemble.  This year, our ensemble decided to go in a new direction and change our name from the New Orleans Queer Youth Theater.  We’ve expanded our devising process from one semester to two, welcomed guests such as Wes Ware from BreakOUT, Dr. Gee Love, k. jones, and poet and organizer Mwende Katwiwa (aka FreeQuency).  LOUD’s members have also taken the floor for themselves.  In addition to our second-year ensemble members leading audition exercises for incoming youth, everyone taught workshops to their fellow ensemble members to share skills and interrogate issues that affect their lives.

In 2015, we are looking forward to performing our second full-length piece, currently in development.  But making theater can be an expensive affair!  This is where we need you.   For many of our youth members, taking time to rehearse with LOUD is a labor of love that can often take them away from other responsibilities.  That is why LOUD is committed to providing a stipend to each of our youth ensemble members.

A donation to LOUD supports initiatives like the youth stipends and will help cover upcoming production-specific costs, such as venue rental, costumes, props, lights, marketing expenses, and more.  This holiday season, please consider making a donation to LOUD, either in a one-time sum or as a regular “sustainer” (monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly donations).  To donate, simply send a check to the address below and make checks payable to Alternate ROOTS (our fiscal sponsor, with LOUD in the memo. You can also donate online on our website at,

Thank you!  Your support means the continued growth of a space for the queer and allied youth of New Orleans to come together and raise their voices.

Happy Holidays and a Safe and Healthy New Year!

Rebecca, Rachel, and Evan

Press release for our first show, Beyond Acceptance


The New Orleans Queer Youth Theater presents its first public performance, Beyond Acceptance.

Ensemble member L'lerret Jazelle Ailith. Photo by Nick Bazo of the Theater Offensive

Ensemble member L’lerret Jazelle Ailith. Photo by Nick Bazo of the Theater Offensive

The New Orleans Queer Youth Theater (NOQYT) is a new initiative begun through the nationally recognized Pride Youth Theater Alliance by New Orleans based theater artists Rachel Lee, Rebecca Mwase, and Evan Spigelman. NOQYT is a transformative safe space for queer and allied youth to come together, share stories, learn theater techniques and build communal power. NOQYT began its programming in September of 2013, hosting a semester of open workshops for any interested youth. Its second semester began in January 2014 when auditions were held for a core ensemble. From that process a group of seven emerging theater makers began working tirelessly on building NOQYT’s first public performance: Beyond Acceptance.

Beyond Acceptance will debut on April 18 and 19 (at 8:00 pm) and April 20 (at 3:00 pm) at the Dryades Theater (1232 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd). Admission is $5-$10 sliding scale for youth 21 and under, and a sliding scale of $20 and above for anyone over 21.

Beyond Acceptance imagines what would happen if the heteronormative world we are all used to collided with the queer world the youth of NOQYT want to see. The results are honest, hard-hitting, and never what you’d expect. Through personal stories, original music and movement, and a series of unforgettable characters (all created by the youth ensemble), Beyond Acceptance will take you into a world where everyone is free to be their fiercest selves.

The New Orleans Queer Youth Theater presents


Dryades Theater

1232 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

April 18 and 19 at 8:00 pm

April 20 at 3:00 pm

$5-$10 for youth 21 and under

$15 for student and seniors

$20 and up for anyone age 21 and above


Paid Positions for Queer Youth and Allies with NOQYT!

Applications are now open for our founding ensemble.

Up to 6 founding ensemble members will participate in a rigorous process of creating an original performance with support and guidance from adult directors Rebecca Mwase, Rachel Lee and Evan Spigelman.

Ensemble members will receive a $500 stipend and will participate in a collective decision making process about how to distribute proceeds from the performance.

No previous theater or performance experience is necessary to apply. Applications due January 6.

Here’s the application:


Celebrate Halloween with NOQYT

Benefit for New Orleans Queer Youth Theater
1312 Barracks St
Thursday, October 31, 7-11 PM
Suggested Donation of $5-$25 to benefit New Orleans Queer Youth Theater

Halloween is nigh! Don’t have your costume? Never fear, we’re having a big ol’ Halloween throwdown to get you ready! Come on over to pre-game with:

-Face painting!
-A fabulous DJ!
-A photo booth to capture your fierce selves!
-Food and libations galore!

No matter what state your costume is in when you arrive, you’re gonna leave ready to wow Frenchman street. All proceeds from the night will benefit New Orleans Queer Youth Theater. Our goal is to match our $2500 initial grant from the Pride Youth Theater Alliance. With your help, we can make our goal!


Our new home!

The Mudlark Theater graciously hosted our first month of meetings. We had some great times there but we are excited to announce that we are moving to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans this coming Saturday and will be there for the rest of the year.

Our next ensemble meeting is Saturday, October 19 from 11:30-2 at FUUCNO (2903 Jefferson, corner of Claiborne and Jefferson).

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