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Young Artist Project Returns to La Mirada


Young Artist Project Returns to La Mirada

Each year, nearly 200 young, creative, multi-faceted performers from all across the United States, apply to be considered for The Young Artist Project, an event held annually each August at the 1,300-seat La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Those selected, (this year there are 6), are given access to a 5,000 sq ft rehearsal space, the theatre, and the financial and creative support of a 22-year-old production company. The participants are between the ages of 16-23 but each have the experience of a seasoned veteran. They have just 14 days to completely create a polished, finished, professional production that is then presented as the final production in the 18/19 Phantom Projects Theatre Group Season, on August 3, at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. For tickets call La Mirada Theatre's Box Office at 714.944.9801 or visit

"You explain it to someone, and they would be like 'are you nuts!?!.' And to that we would respond: 'Yes, we are!' Because all of these things, the sleepless nights and endless hours, that sound so awful, have been the best two weeks, ever," commented a past participant.

Prior to the first rehearsal, the participants had never met (except this year: two of the participants attend Chapman University together). Despite this, they must form a bond quickly as they are tasked with creating everything from scratch. They are not allowed to introduce anything that has been already created, either by them or an outside artist. Every note, every word, every piece of music, every bit of dance is born during this process. They must not only create it, but learn it, so that it can then be performed flawlessly. "Our audience must say, 'Wow, what an incredible show, and I can't believe they created this in 14 days'," notes 2019 Young Artist Emily Rose Githens, "It's unacceptable if they walk out saying, 'what did you expect, they only had 14 days.'"

The Young Artist Project is the brainchild of Steve Cisneros, Phantom Projects Founder and Artistic Director, who launched the program in 2007 as part of his company's 10th Anniversary. "Individually, it's clear we have talented participants. But I never know if there will be good creative chemistry in the group," said Cisneros, who gives final say on the project outcome. "But at the first meeting the cast immediately began bouncing ideas around and we all became enthusiastic about the possibilities. I think audiences are going to experience something that is both innovative and meaningful."

This doesn't mean the show will go on. True to the professional environment the young artists are engulfed in, the producer has final say. Cisneros continues, "I view what they have at the ½ way mark, and if it's not good enough for our stage, I make them start over." This of course means the group must create a whole new show in just 7 days. The artists are ultimately then prepared for similar creative environments such as Saturday Night Live, or South Park, both which are known for their 1-week turnaround and high-pressure environments.

The participating artists for 2019, selected from across the United States are: Nicole Garcia (El Paso, TX), Emily Rose Githens (Fullerton, CA), Gabi Jones (Maple Grove, MN), Noi Nuria Maeshige (Orange, CA), Kaitlin Smith, (Worcester, MA), and Shayna Sternin (Orange, CA).

Each year, Phantom Projects Theatre Group mounts a season of theatre at venues across the United States, at schools in Southern California, and at their home base, the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.

For more information call 714-690-2900 or visit

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