As a company, Palace strives to make a difference in the community. Without the generous support of the people that make up Canyon and Amarillo, what we do would not be possible.
Because we are so passionate about local causes, we are extending the monthly cause to a bi-monthly cause. That means we have twice as long to make an impact on the community! We are very excited about this.
The cause for March and April will be Amarillo Little Theatre Academy, and the drink will be the Crème Brulee Latte.
Opening its doors in 1927, ALT has taught and continues to teach music, theatre, and dance classes throughout the week to students ages five to seniors in high school. They also have classes for adults.
The ALT Academy puts on three shows a year. Each cast member, from the smallest role to the starring role, is a student from the academy. They have to audition for the parts and have six weeks of rehearsals to prepare for the show.
I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Jason Crespin, who has been the Academy director for the past nine years, and talk to him about the Amarillo Little Theatre Academy. Having a conversation with Jason could make anyone want to go to a show right then and there. His love and passion for the theatre is evident at the outset; he lit up immediately as soon as I asked my first question.
In addition to training students in almost every aspect of theatre, putting on high quality, award winning shows, and entertaining the public, ALT provides a much larger service to Amarillo and its surrounding communities: ALT provides a safe space for young, creative minds to cultivate their talents, and feel welcome and valued. The students that attend the Academy are truly amazing as well—not only do they all attend school, many participating in sports and other extracurricular activities, but they somehow find time to dedicate OVER 180 hours of rehearsal time for each show. The ALT Academy is also an institution that teaches real, applicable life skills to each student, such as: communication, working towards goals, teamwork, collaboration, and handling disappointment. If these students don’t deserve the support of the community, I honestly don’t know who does.
Jason also provided insight to how the ALT Academy challenges the community’s ideals and values; with each show comes a new story, new characters, and new things to think about. Once you are sitting in the audience, the lights low, the spotlight shining on the stage, you can’t help but feel as if you are in a different world. Suddenly your problems don’t seem to matter, and the only thing that exists in the world is the story on the stage. As a patron of the arts, I can honestly say that I leave a different person every time I walk out of the theatre’s doors. Growing up in Amarillo, Texas, things move slowly here—and an institution that brings new ideas and imagination to the Texas Panhandle is one to be cherished.
The Amarillo Little Theatre only has seven full time employees. This means that the rest of the work falls on the shoulders of kind, selfless volunteers. Throughout the show seasons ALT hosts “work calls.” The kind of work that community volunteers are welcomed to do includes: building sets, painting sets, ushering shows, concessions, and taking down sets.
Jason encourages anyone who has never set foot into a theatre to, “Just come see a show!” There’s honestly nothing like live theatre. It’s a family of families, who care for each other and love telling stories. The theatre is a place where people from all walks of life can come together- a place for everyone to be equal.
Palace is proud to support the Amarillo Little Theatre Academy for the months of March and April. Come by any of our three locations and purchase a Crème Brulee latte. $1 of each cause latte purchased will go to support the ALT Academy.
56 of the Academy students will be performing Disney’s Beauty and the Beast March 24 – April 2. This show is a beast (pun intended) and the cast and production team are working tirelessly to put it all together. Tickets will go on sale to the public March 13th. You can call the box office or order them online.
Gabrielle, or as we affectionately call her, Gebes, has been a barista at Palace for almost a year! She is an English major at WT. When she isn’t working or at school you can often find her at Palace studying or hanging out with friends.