Over the past few years Lakeshore Academy of Fine Arts’ exceptional reputation has attracted the area’s most talented youth and now the competitive LAFA Elite Theatre Group is about to head to Hollywood.
The Elite Group is unique, “ we are the only competitive theatre group around. There are some in Michigan but I don’t think there is anything like this in Ontario,” explains LAFA owner and director Sarah Ilijanich. “Even in Toronto there are theatre groups for kids but I don’t think there is a competitive team out there.”
LAFA was founded in 1996 and in the fall of 2016 the LAFA Elite Group was formed. The group practices at the Urban Field House in Belle River (formerly St. William Church) where LAFA programs and productions are held. LAFA acquired the venue in late Summer 2016.
The aspiring youth performers in the Elite Group attended their first competition in Troy, Michigan when the Access Broadway performance tour stopped there in March of 2017. “They just competed in Troy, Michigan, in twelve divisions and won an award in every division,” says Ilijanich.
“In the Elite Group we do triple threat training, so that’s dancing, singing and acting. And right now we’re training to compete in a competition in L.A.,” explains student Kasie Rayner.
The Elite Group has been invited to participate in the A List International workshop and competition in Hollywood, California on June 17-22, 2017. Workshops will be taught by top industry professionals. “The kids get to learn from the best during workshops from casting directors, record labels, modeling agencies, industry professionals from broadway and other professionals,” says Ilijanich.
The A List concludes with a competition and awards ceremony at the world renown Warner Brothers Studio. “They even get to walk down the red carpet over at Warner Brothers,” explains Ilijanich.
The students have been focused on their training and are excited to compete against aspiring performers from around the world in Hollywood. “I’m looking forward to going in front of all these casting directors and on a big stage where you know stars have been,” states student Ruby Dauphinee. “It’s where you can actually get noticed and move on with this.”
The Lakeshore Academy of Fine Arts is developing some of the most talented aspiring performers in the Windsor Essex area. LAFA teachers are more than instructors they are mentors because they are actually performers in the business themselves. “I think it’s nice for them to work with people who are in this business,” says performer and singing instructor Kathy Roberts. “It’s different taking singing lessons from someone who likes to sing versus someone who actually does this. Someone who is a performer, who is recognized. It holds a little more water for them, their parents, and in their interpretation of what it is that they’re bringing to the stage.”
With a cast of accomplished performers teaching and developing these students its no surprise several have already be noticed. In fact, several Elite Theatre Group students have been cast in T.V. commercials, shows, movies, and more. Now that they’re going to Hollywood we might even see them in the next Hollywood Movie blockbuster on the silver screen!
Parents and LAFA are putting a lot of effort into raising the funds needed to send the youth performers to Hollywood. “It’s $40,000 to go to LA. We’ve raised $10,000, the parents have put in $10,000, and we’re holding a golf tournament where we hope to raise another 10,” explains Ilijanich.
The Take LAFA To Hollywood Golf Tournament Fundraiser takes place at Bellevue Golf Club on Sunday, May 28, 2017. The event includes 18 holes, raffle prizes and a steak dinner. For those interested in supporting these local aspiring youth performers please consider entering the golf tournament by calling 519-819-7234 or visit http://www.lakeshoreacademyoffinearts.com