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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hidden Talent

Jim Gattone is the creator, executive in charge, energy and drive behind the Hidden Talent Theatre Company. Along with co-founder, Tim Smoot, Jim wanted to provide a professional level venue for actors in Chicago’s northwest suburbs as well as including opportunities for inexperienced actors – thus the name Hidden Talent. Begun with the help of Life Changers Church, the two founders also hoped to include Christian themes and new works in the theatre company’s offerings.

At the end of its first season, Hidden Talent produced its first original play, “Slow to Anger,” which examined themes of mixed race marriage, adoption, and violence against women – in the context of Christianity. Well-received, the play enjoyed a second run six months later, and talks are underway to tour the show throughout the Chicago suburbs.

Coming off a busy year and smacking up against the economy, Hidden Talent has also been re-grouping and re-evaluating its venues and its charter. A few questions remain to be answered – where to perform and what will our season’s message be? Can the company produce quality Christian themed plays that are current, relevant and of high caliber? And, where will these plays come from?

The Christian book publishing industry provides an excellent model in that it produces both high quality literature and highly popular literature. Just as Christian literature has expanded to include much beyond Bibles and devotionals, so Christian theatre can include far more than passion plays and sermon skits.

Hidden Talent is poised to create quality Christian themed theatre with its CAST commission and to capitalize on the use of technology to be more inclusive and responsive. With social media, dialogue with potential audience members, actors, technicians, musicians and writers is possible. Imagine a new way of developing an original production that included ongoing input from the far corners of the country; and, of growing a new generation of theatre-goers!

Exciting times are in store for those willing to try the waters! And, Hidden Talent is on the diving board.

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