We had the good fortune of connecting with Lighthouse Players and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lighthouse, how does your business help the community?
Lighthouse Players is a community of Artists who equip all ages & strive for excellence by telling great stories when creating Art while embracing our identities and values. Our vision is to be a Tribe of guiding lights in the Arts community and community at large.

No better challenge in perseverance is this than during the pandemic when the community has needed us the most. While physical safety is of utmost importance to us, taking care of the mind and spirit is equally important. We, Artistic Directors Noelle Marie and Ben Williams, saw how the pandemic was affecting people’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health and we knew we needed to create a safe space to meet the needs of the community in lifting spirits safely in person. During the pandemic we have been producing outdoor music and theatre events since July 2020 with people exiting in tears and gratitude for how much being amongst live performing arts is healing during a time of isolation and uncertainty.

From inception, inclusion has been at the core value of our company. We are called to love and want to see everyone on and around the stage: all cultures, all identities, all body types, all ages and more. We strive to be an example of a light in the community and would love to see a similar light be a ripple effect so that all theatres are more of a positive uplifting experience for everyone involved. We protect and provide a space where our Tribe can feel safe to create art together.

Our professional colleagues and emerging Artists love receiving the opportunities to not only perform but to give back as we raise funds for Arts Education through high caliber Performing Arts. Two programs near and dear to our hearts are Lighthouse Players Youth equipping students in the community with professional training to then audition to take stage with professional adults. Arts at School allows us to utilize the schools Title I grants in order for students of any socio-economic background to access the Arts in their lives. This latter program also meets California State Content Standards and the 4 C’s framework in education. Madison Middle School, Vista is our model school and we hope to be in more schools come Fall of 2021.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
What sets us apart from other theatres and performing arts organizations is we are an ensemble theatre who values and cares for people while empowering them to lead with empathy while telling someone else’s story. That being said, we believe in blind casting to ensure all gifts received can be appreciated and seen on stage regardless of what “type” Artists may be seen as elsewhere. Talent, a proper work ethic, etiquette and a good heart is what gets people through our door and no ones ethnicity, body type, age, or identity will have a door closed on them. It is our responsibility to keep our Tribe safe therefore, with room for grace, no disrespect or undermining is tolerated. Tribe members have shared an immense gratitude for Lighthouse Players being the only place they have ever felt completely accepted and loved for who they are one adding we are “a community where I truly belong. In my entire artistic career, I have never felt more at home.” Other Tribe members have shared how they never have to worry about their values being questioned nor “pressured to do anything on stage against my morals”.

In terms of Lighthouse Players Youth we wanted to approach youth theatre in a highly effective way for their life long training. Being in an overly saturated area for youth theatres we did not want to follow suit by producing youth full productions one after another. Rather, we are a training ground for great work from a budding age. Our Intermediate and Advanced students explore the Arts with professional training through their education and have the opportunity to audition to take stage with professional adults in our Music Events and Theatre Productions.

Both of us Artistic Directors have a vast knowledge and professional experience in the Performing Arts from a young age and came together to create a safe space in the Lighthouse building the company from the ground up. With little additional funds and backing, in the same highly saturated area, creating an organization with a greater vision was no walk in the park. Quite frankly, the journey has been an emotional one where together we have needed to depend on one another all the more and lean into our faith as we discern every decision and roadblock which comes our way. Immense sacrifices, many unspoken, have been made to ensure the vision we were called to is upheld and cared for. We find our strength in Christ as we learn greater patience, resilience, and how to approach matters and accountability with even more grace, gracefully.

The take home is we truly want to be the change we want to see in the world especially in the world of theatre.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many great beaches here and two of our favorites are Torrey Pines and Moonlight Beach. Torrey Pines also has a very fun cliff hike and beautiful trees. Balboa Park is such an amazing place to visit with it’s architecture, places to walk around including museums, gardens especially the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Fleet Science Center, and of course The Old Globe. The Yellow Deli in Vista is a great restaurant with incredible food and a very fun earthy atmosphere. Afterwards, take a walk around Brengle Terrace Park which we both grew up going to. Spiritos is a delicious Italian restaurant in Carlsbad. Guajome Lake Park in Oceanside is a nostalgic place for Ben and it’s a very nice peaceful place to walk, ride a bike, feed the ducks and wander around. Nearby is the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum which is a fun place to feel one is walking back in time with the rail tracks, black smiths, the weavers, and other crafts. Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park in Carlsbad is lovely and home to dozens of gorgeous peacocks and it’s such a treat to walk around and see the them in the nature. The ranch is also where Noelle was Maid of Honor to her dear friends’ wedding, a great place to get wed! In the Spring the Carlsbad Flower Fields are in bloom and as lovely as a golden afternoon! When Autumn arrives we share a tradition of going to Bates Nut Farm for the pumpkin patch and the old country store which is filled with tasty treats. The Contemporary Art Museum in La Jolla has wonderful exhibits and overlooks the tidepools which should be experienced as well! The Wild Animal Park, now known as The Safari Park, in Escondido is a great way to enjoy animals with a lot more space to play around. Both of us have fond memories of enjoying the animals since a young age.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Our families and God for their endless love.

The Tribe at large for the many wonderful performances that help Lighthouse Players tell great stories.

Our students who we find great joy in teaching and seeing them blossom.

Our staff and especially Jonathan Edzant who was our first staff member.

Our Angel Tribe donors, especially our top donor, Josh Savage.

Our Tribe of patrons for supporting and coming to performances.

Grace Church and Lifeway Church for being venue partners especially the Kline and Schlesinger Families.

Principal Bailey from Madison Middle School for partnering with us to bring our theatre program to the school with grants!

Kerry Witkin, our Accountant, for believing in our vision and giving Artists a special deal.

Website: lighthouseplayers.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lighthouseplayers/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lighthouseplayers1

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXp3BgQwj9DTwYAv3sdxFeA

Image Credits
Jonathan Edzant Noelle Marie Maya Mozon Ben Williams Danny Williams

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