Columbia Theatre introduces virtual talent competition


Josh Archote/The Lion's Roar

The Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts is introducing the first Columbia Famous Talent Contest that will be held virtually.

In accordance with the Stay-at-Home order put in place by Gov. John Bel Edwards, all non-essential businesses, including theatres, are closed to the public until further notice.

Hammond’s own Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts has closed its doors, but it is still finding ways to keep the community involved virtually.

This year, the theatre is introducing the first Columbia Famous Talent Contest. Participants can compete in any of the six categories for a chance to win the grand prize. The winners of each individual category will also receive a prize and get to perform their act at Hot August Night.

The categories are singing, dancing, acting, comedy, instrumental music and visual art. Children under the age of 12 can compete in any of the categories for the children’s grand prize.

James Winter, artistic director of the Columbia, explained why the contest was created.

“The Columbia Theatre exists to entertain and also to celebrate the arts,” said Winter. “We also serve as a place where the community can come together. I felt like this was a way we could continue to do and be all of these things during this pandemic. I also figured this would give people something fun to do while stuck at home.”

The grand prize is a pair of 2020-2021 Columbia season tickets. There is a separate grand prize for the children’s competition.

“The children’s grand prize is a pair of tickets to the world premiere of ‘Alice’s Christmas in Wonderland’ at the Columbia Theatre in November,” stated Winter.

The contest is open to all ages. Participants must submit a video no longer than 60 seconds. For visual art, entries must include a title, the medium of the work and a photograph. For all categories, the content submitted must be intended for all ages. Submissions that do not meet these criteria may not be posted.

Winter mentioned that the contest was his idea, but he received some help from a local business as well as the Columbia staff.

“My Columbia staff and the great team at Anntoine Marketing and Design really helped me to flesh it out and make it a reality,” shared Winter.

Entries for the first two categories, singing and dancing, were reviewed on Saturday, April 11. After the finalists are chosen, the public will be able to vote for their favorite in each category.

All submissions can be sent to [email protected] Submissions must include their name as well as their Facebook and Instagram page @columbiatheatre so they can be tagged if they win. Participants are allowed to submit entries for more than one category.

Follow Columbia Theatre on Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date on submission deadlines and to vote for each category.