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Minnesota high school theater students shine in Spotlight Showcase 2021: Spotlight Belongs To Us on Tuesday, June 15, 2021

April 23, 2021

Hennepin Theatre Trust recognizes outstanding participants in its Spotlight Education program with honors and live performances by students

MINNEAPOLIS (April 23, 2021) —Hennepin Theatre Trust announced today that donations are now being accepted to watch Spotlight Showcase 2021: Spotlight Belongs To Us. Minnesota high school theater’s biggest night celebrates high schools and students who participate in the Trust’s Spotlight Education program with honors and live performances on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The professionally-filmed event will be streamed online and feature both live and pre-recorded content featuring student performances and recognitions. Spotlight Showcase is an annual recognition event, formally recognizing the extraordinary achievements, hard work and talents of the students and educators who make up the vibrant high school theater community across Minnesota. This year’s uplifting theme, Spotlight Belongs To Us, celebrates the spirit of unity among all who participate in the Spotlight Education network.

The suggested donation to watch Spotlight Showcase 2021: Spotlight Belongs To Us is $15 which supports future Spotlight Education programming. Register at to make your donation and receive your viewing link.

Tuesday June 15 6:30 p.m. Online

Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program is an essential part of arts education in over 100 high schools across Minnesota. With the generous community support, Spotlight Education help nearly 8,000 students build confidence, critical thinking, empathy, a sense of community and a knowledge of musical theater. Please join us in creating meaningful experiences in the lives of Minnesota youth by giving a donation.

The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a live pre-show event with students, guests and a few surprises. At 7 p.m., Spotlight Showcase 2021: Spotlight Belongs to Us will feature a variety of performances, honors, and guest appearances filmed at host schools and venues around the state; including Hennepin Avenue in front of the State Theatre in the Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis. The just-announced Triple Threat winners will close out the evening with a special live performance.

Two highly anticipated awards will close out the evening with the announcement of the Triple Threat Broadway Experience and the Technical Theater Career Pathway. These awards go to students who display excellence in performance or technical theater, as well as demonstrate community leadership, teamwork and artistry. Those honorees will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City to hone their theater skills.

Spotlight Education is an essential part of arts education in many Minnesota schools. Annually, the program helps nearly 8,000 students in more than 100 high schools build confidence, critical thinking, empathy, sense of community and knowledge of theater. The program supplements and enhances arts curricula through masterclasses, theater review writing and production assessments increasing equitable access to quality theater education:

Spotlight schools enhance their own theater curriculum through masterclasses and workshops. Students gain insights and inspiration from local and touring theater professionals covering topics such as audition techniques, theater resume building and technical skills.

The Trust’s education department has been offering online learning opportunities for Spotlight students as soon as social distancing measures were enacted in response to COVID-19 last year. In addition to masterclasses twice a week, the Trust launched a new live series called Spotlight 15, where teaching artists lead 15-minute sessions on topics ranging from warming up the body to vocal coaching.

Community Conversations
Spotlight teaching artists facilitate community conversations for directors and students on a variety of topics in a safe, inclusive space to discuss and share experiences leading to future programming, resources and conversations. The conversations also explore issues they face in their local communities.

Critical Review
This program gives high school students the opportunity to attend and review Broadway productions. A writing program, Critical Review enhances critical thinking and creative response skills. Students receive press kits for each show and attend workshops led by experts in the field on topics ranging from lighting design to choreography.

Production Assessments
Spotlight arranges for trained theater professionals and educators to assess participating schools’ theater productions. The production assessment is an educational tool to encourage, inspire and enhance Spotlight schools’ theater programs and strengthen the skills of student artists — onstage and offstage.

All filming will be in accordance with the guidelines outlined by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz for the health and safety of the community.

Spotlight Education is made possible with support from PNC Bank, Sun Country Airlines, Hilton and United Properties.

Follow Spotlight Education at:
Instagram: @spotlight_MN
Facebook: /SpotlightMN
Twitter: @spotlightMN

Hennepin Theatre Trust drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — and event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.