New competition looking for Genesee County’s most talented young performers


Photo Courtesy of Shop Floor Theatre Company

Josie Anderson, Managing Editor

A new talent competition has arrived in Genesee County. Known as Signal Boost, the competition is the result of a collaboration between Luma, a Los Angeles-based production studio, and Flint’s Shop Floor Theatre Company.

Kendrick Jones, a UM-Flint lecturer and executive director of the Shop Floor Theatre Company, describes Signal Boost as an opportunity “to highlight the talent throughout Genesee County and give them an opportunity to be heard and to be seen and have their stories told.” 

The application is open to Genesee County residents ages 14 to 23 until Oct. 24. Eligible parties can apply at Applicants can submit original music or poetry for a chance to perform their works onstage, receive mentorship from professional producers, and win a variety of prizes. First place will win $2,500 cash and a $2,500 donation to a local nonprofit. Other awards are available to finalists and an audience favorite. More details about Signal Boost can be found here

“We have a lot of very young, talented artists here in our community who have the talent and the skills but the only thing that’s holding them back are barriers such as money and exposure,” Jones said. “Signal Boost is the type of program that will give them what they’re asking for.”

Signal Boost took form after Jones and Kate Glantz, Head of Social Impact at Luma, met. Jones says the Theatre has always been community-driven and youth involved with the theatre had been asking for a program like Signal Boost. 

“If in any way … we can help open doors or we can help artists who are really taking their craft seriously advance and just get more access to their dreams, that is incredibly appealing,” Glantz said.

Glantz also said she hopes the program will help to empower youth. “Young people have a really important perspective on issues, on the world, they want to live in, and they don’t always have the same platform, especially before they can vote, to really articulate the future that they deserve and want,” Glantz said. 

As a lecturer of UM-Flint’s Department of Theatre and Dance, Jones understands that youth isn’t limited to the very young. “The program is for everyone,” he said, and that includes college students. 

“In college,” Glantz said, “you’re still figuring out … what you believe in, how to use your voice and there’s also a level of maturity and experience that you have as a college student that maybe you didn’t have in high school,” Glantz said she and others involved with the program are interested in seeing the full spectrum of talent all ages of the community have to offer.

“Young people are not always listened to or don’t always feel that they have the agency or spotlight, I guess you could say, to be heard,” Glantz said. “Our goal is to help restore the social fabric of our increasingly divided communities through initiatives that connect and empower.