MasterClass Madness

A Social Media Competition
and FundRaiser for SYAA

Click here to reserve seating
for our school-day performances!


Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit youth theatre in Monroe, Louisiana. Our mission is to provide excellence in theatre arts education for students ages 5-18 in Northeast and North Central Louisiana while also providing high-quality live theatre entertainment suitable for all ages in our community.

As of March 13, 2020, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, SYAA has had to shut its doors and cancel all classes, rehearsals, and performances. As a small theatre in a small community, we operate on a very tight budget, and this shut down will make it difficult for us to not only meet our regular financial obligations (rent, utilities, etc.) but also to support our small staff (one full-time employee and five part-time employees). Therefore, we have developed MasterClass Madness as a fundraiser during our shutdown. Our hope is not only that we will alleviate some of our financial strain while our doors are closed, but also that we can provide some meaningful (and fun!) educational opportunities for students and their parents

Please know that students are free to participate in the activities without the proposed entry fee, but only paid entries will be eligible for prizes. And if you find it in your heart to make a donation without participating in the contest, please click here.

And if you want to know more about SYAA, please check out our full website at

Each week during SYAA’s #FlattenTheCurve closure, we are excited to sponsor a performance competition aimed at keeping the arts in front of the public eye while providing fun and educational opportunities for students at home while schools are closed.

Each week will have a different performance assignment for at-home actors (K-12, plus a special category for adult-supporters of the youth arts) that they can rehearse, film, and post to social media with the week’s hashtags. In weeks one through three, there was a proposed entry fee of $10 for those who chose to help support our small non-profit theatre. However, as of Week 4, the entry process has changed, and there is no longer an entry fee. (Click here to learn more.) Entries are due by each Tuesday at midnight, and once submitted, the entries will be adjudicated and first place in each age category will win an Amazon gift card. (How much? See below.) Second and third places will win SYAA swag.**

For each week, we have partnered with amazing theatre and television professionals: Broadway performer Maddie Shae Baldwin, regional musical theatre and cruise ship performer Stephanie Hodgdon, seasoned youth theatre professional Becky Cherlin-Baird, New York-based actor Morgan Hollingsworth, and television stuntwoman Deven MacNair. (Click here to learn more about them!) Entries will have the opportunity to receive a professional-level critique from three of them, giving you some pointers on how to take your performance to the next level! (Again, see our new rules to learn how you can get these amazing critiques!)

So, how much can first place win in each age category? Well, that depends on the number of paid entries. As long as a category has at least ten qualified entries, the first place winner is guaranteed to win a $50 Amazon gift card. However, for every additional ten qualified entries, the prize will increase by ANOTHER $25.** So, if there are thirty qualified entries in your category, you could win a $100 Amazon gift card!

There are four categories for competition. These include our original categories: high school (9-12), middle school (6-8), and elementary school (K-5). Plus, BY POPULAR DEMAND, we have expanded to include an adult category. (Remember, all of the money raised goes to help support our amazing organization and our mission to have a place where students, age 5-18, can learn about and celebrate the performing arts.) Please note, however, that if we have less than ten entries in any single category, then that category will be merged with another. Also, ALL ENTRIES MUST BE FAMILY FRIENDLY OR THEY WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.

The contest is NOT limited to the northeast Louisiana area. It is NATIONWIDE. Remember, the more who enter, the higher the first place prize! So, share this contest, and let’s stir up some drama online! SYAA. #KnowDrama #DramaStartsAtHome

Click here to learn the theme for this week and the details on how to enter! Or click here to learn more about our adjudicators!

**Please note that if this competition/fundraiser becomes extremely popular and we have more than 180 paid entries in a category, we will limit the 1st prize amount to $300, and second and third places will earn Amazon gift cards in the value of $150 and $50 respectively. If the competition/fundraiser becomes wildly popular and we have more than 380 paid entries in a category, we will limit the 1st prize amount to $750, and second and third place will earn gift cards valued at $250 and $100 respectively.

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