The Day – Auditions underway for the final season of the New London Talent Show

New London – The New London Talent Show, an annual showcase for young artists that was created as part of an outreach effort to the city’s youth, returns in person this year.

Auditions are already coming in for what organizers say is the final year of a show that has sold out the 1,400-seat Garde Arts Center since its inception in 2011. The pandemic has sidelined the live show for the past two years . This year’s show is scheduled for June 25.

New London Talent Show co-founder and director Curtis Goodwin, director of youth and community engagement at The Guard, said it would be the final show. But that doesn’t mean he, the Guard, and other community partners won’t continue to mentor, mentor, and provide more opportunities for youth in the community.

The talent show came to life in 2011, just months after 25-year-old Matthew Chew was murdered in downtown New London by six “bored” teenagers. The city was suffering and struggling with negative perceptions. The show provided an outlet and a way to better connect young people to the community.

Over the years, the show has expanded to include young people from across the region, but has remained fundamentally a celebration of talent, diversity and community.

As for a non-performing future, Goodwin said work is already underway to strengthen partnerships and create forward-looking pathways to provide professional development for even more young artists. What form these efforts will take has yet to be determined, but the New London School District’s Magnetic School for Visual and Performing Arts could be a start. The school will hold live auditions this year, Goodwin said.

“I don’t expect to see what people are used to next year,” Goodwin said. “The New London Talent Show is evolving. We need to offer more. I think providing opportunities for young people from all walks of life – young people at risk and young urban people – will always be a focus.

The creation of the show is the subject of the award-winning documentary “These People,” directed by The Day’s multimedia director Peter Huoppi and produced by Huoppi and Goodwin.

This year’s show is accepting online audition submissions through Facebook, Instagram and the Guard’s website. Audition videos must be tagged with #NLTSAudition.

Since there are only a limited number of places, a panel of judges will select submissions to move on to the live auditions. Online submissions must be submitted by March 27. Radio personality Pebbles from Pebbles & Boomer in the Morning from Jammin 107.7 helps sort out auditions.

So far, 30 auditions have been submitted and Goodwin said he expects that number to triple. The show usually features a number of different acts – dancers, spoken word poetry, instrumentalists and singers and maybe even comedians this year.

This year, artists will have access to a live band for pre-show rehearsals, which had not been done before.

The show’s co-founder, Frank Colmenares, said that having been part of the discussions from the start, it’s amazing how far the show has come. Colmenares, the owner of ReelE Media, said he was proud of his involvement with the show over the years and helped it grow with young talent.

Colmenares, who produces the show, promises a high-impact finale with a focus on the experience.

g.smith@theday.com

Editor’s note: The spelling of Erycka Ortiz’s name has been corrected in the photo caption.

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