Q & A With The New Executive Director of The Lyric Theatre

Last updated: Monday, April 4, 2011 7:55 p.m.

LEXINGTON- Theater veteran, Yetta Young has been hired by the Board of Directors as the first Executive Director for the newly renovated Lyric Theatre.

Young will begin on April 18th and will be moving to Lexington from Los Angeles, CA.

For nearly 15 years Young has led her own production company, YYP and Associates LLC, and has produced and directed some of Hollywood’s most known actresses including Mo’Nique and Taraji P. Henson.

Ms. Young spoke exclusively with LexTown Publications this week.

Q & A with Ms. Yetta Young

The Key Newsjournal (KNJ): Ms. Young, What attracted you to this position?

Yetta Young (YY): Outside of my sheer love and passion for the theater, the rich history of the Lyric is what really attracted me to the position.  The spirit of Sankofa teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward.  That we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us and whatever we have lost can be reclaimed, revived and preserved.  I was a history major, so the history of the Lyric resonated with me deeply.  With the renaissance of any era, there must be restoration and I’d like to be a part of the rebirth and restoration of the Lyric, which is a strong part of Lexington’s African-American heritage.

KNJ: What is your plan for The Lyric?
YY: When I think about the Lyric Theatre, I think about its historical legacy and the opportunity to help revive an organization back to the place to “be and be seen.”  Integrating entertainment, education and personal development, I hope to achieve one simple mission – to empower people to upgrade their lifestyles culturally through the arts.  I’ve been called extremely resourceful because I have the uncanny ability to connect communities with celebrities in a way that touches the heart-strings of everyone involved, while bringing elegance and flair that would rival any Broadway production.
My immediate plan for the Lyric is to begin to build the infrastructure and framework and to begin looking at creative ways in which we can increase our budget.
My long term goals for the Lyric is to make it a cultural hub that provides not only the best cultural entertainment in theater, but in dance, comedy, music, film and more.  Back during it’s inception, the Lyric was once considered the place to be and be seen.  Part of my goal is to reignite that passion so that it again becomes Lexington’s NEW place to be and be seen.
KNJ: Are you saying that you will bring some big name acts to The Lyric?

YY: Absolutely.  I’ve already reached out to some of my celebrity friends and colleagues to let them know about my new position and have started brainstorming on some of the programming.

What I’m really jazzed about with regards to bringing in some of my celebrity colleagues is the opportunity for local artists and aspiring artists to be able to come out and play with them so that they can up level their skill set and talents.  So I’ll be holding auditions for local talent that we can already have on our roster once we begin casting. So stay tuned.

KNJ: Based on your experience performing and directing in venues around the US, what are the strengths or unique qualities of The Lyric Theatre?
YY: I believe the Lyric’s greatest strength is that it truly is the community’s theater.  Many of the theater’s I have produced/directed in were primarily profit driven and to rent the theater ate a large part of your production budget.  The Lyric’s 540 seat theater, as well as the community space, is affordable to anyone wishing to hold an event or special gathering.
The fact that The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center is not only a theater but encompasses an African-American museum as well, positions it to be a true cultural experience for patrons.
KNJ: Have you identified any immediate challenges facing you as Executive Director or challenges to The Lyric Theatre’s operation?
There are small challenges that are currently being worked out.  Initially I was concerned that we would be a cash only box-office since in this day and age people are looking for ease and convenience.  We discussed this during my interview and as of last week, the box-office is now accepting credit cards and patrons are able to buy tickets directly from the website.
We are also currently streamlining our online marketing and branding as well as making our website more user friendly, so stay tuned for those updates.  Once I begin working, I’m sure that some new challenges will present themselves, that we will work quickly and efficiently to rectify.

KNJ: Is there any way that the community can assist you in this new role?

YY: Historically, theater has always had a unique relationship with the community because ultimately it’s the community that will sustain the theater.  We will be listening intently on what’s important to the community and their input as well as looking to the community to volunteer, intern, support and participate in the programming and events.

Also, you’ll be seeing more of us on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube.  We’ll also be starting an email marketing campaign to reach patrons in a more personal way.  So as we roll out our new marketing and branding, stop by and join our mailing list so that you can stay abreast of all the wonderful upcoming events.

KNJ: Expecting a highly successful first year, finish this sentence: “I am so proud that this year we have been able to….

YY: …provide an enriching cultural experience for Lexington and beyond.

KNJ: Is there anything you’d like to add?

YY: I would like to thank the entire Lyric Board for entrusting me as the first Executive Director of the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center.  I hope to not only make them proud, but Lexington at large.  I’m looking forward to coming and immersing myself in the Lexington community.

Ms. Young will be introduced in a two part interview during Key Conversations Radio on Sunday, April 3 and Sunday April 10.  Key Conversations Radio airs Sunday’s at 10 a.m. on Groovin 1580AM or at the same time. Co-host Lezell Lowe will join Patrice Muhammad for this special interview.