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Groundbreaking Theatre Initiative NewStages Introduces Stepping Stones In Honor Of Pride Month

Theatre artist Mark Salyer's arts project honors the bond between generations in the LGBTQ+ community.

Groundbreaking Theatre Initiative NewStages Introduces Stepping Stones In Honor Of Pride Month

NewStages, a multi-generational arts initiative that connects artists in the LGBTQ+ community to tell their stories, is presenting Stepping Stones, a new program that is making its debut this month to coincide with the celebration of Pride Month.

According to creative director Mark Salyer the pieces are entirely created by the artists with guidance and support from Salyer and co-director Kay Cole. They will be presented throughout the month of June. A virtual screening will be followed by a talk back session with the artists. The pieces will then be hosted on the NewStages website. The first release, now available for viewing at, features 23 year-old filmmaker Conner Wharton and 90 year-old actress and writer Vicki Pacifico and imbues generational themes of passed down wisdom and new found hope.

"We connected artists from different generations to create pieces that reflect our connectedness in the gay community," says Salyer. "Older LGBTQ+ folks paved the way for liberation and now younger generations are creating dialogues about gender and sexuality that no one ever dreamed of."

NewStages was originally an offshoot of Stagebridge in Oakland, CA, the country's oldest senior theater company and in 2014, they became a part of the award-winning Oasis Theater Company. Through a partnership with the LA LGBT Center's Senior Services and with support from the City of West Hollywood and the Grace Helen Spearman Family Foundation, NewStages was born. Since then, the company, under the direction of Mark Salyer, has brought classes, workshops, and performances to thousands of seniors, including a yearly production for Pride.

This program is supported by a grant from the City of West Hollywood's Arts Division as part of the City's WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival (May 22- June 30).

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