As summer draws to an end, do you ever find yourself wanting to do something different than grill out in the evening? Ever wished you didn’t have to drive an hour or two to do that different activity? With Young Auditorium on the UW Whitewater campus right in the center of Whitewater, WI, you can attend anything from a family movie sing-along– this year it’s The Greatest Showman— to a touring Broadway performance –take your pick of Finding Neverland or An American in Paris without worrying about a long drive or parking fees.

If you’ve never been to a show at Young Auditorium, you’re missing out on something truly special. While Whitewater is a small town, this venue offers a big city experience featuring shows that touch all generations through a wide variety of educational and culturally diverse performances. We sat down with Director, Shannon Dozoryst, to get the inside scoop on what makes this venue tick and what more you can look forward to this upcoming season.

“We have a large education, outreach, and family programming aspect to what we do. Our goal behind serving our community, particularly members of our community with children, is to make sure that everyone has access to the arts at a very young age.”

Shannon Dozoryst, Director at Young Auditorium

The Horizon Matinee Series brings in teachers and their students for performances and the Arts 4 All program opens up performances to teachers who work with a population of disadvantaged and at-risk students by allowing them to apply for reduced ticket prices. The Never Too Young Series, held in their smaller event space, the Kachel Center, is for families and offers shows by regional performers who interact with the audience with tickets prices at $5 or less.

“We’re always trying to make sure that everyone has access.”

Shannon Dozoryst, Director at Young Auditorium

Aside from educational outreach and family programming, Young Auditorium provides a handful of catered dinners before performances for those seeking a Date Night experience. This year, aside from campus caterer Aviand, local restaurant, The Black Sheep, will be offering their farm-to-table meals before a few performances. The first is during the Opening Night Celebration on September 20th featuring Derek Byrne and Paddygrass.

“We’re excited about this collaboration and what it could mean for future experiences.”

Shannon Dozoryst, Director at Young Auditorium

This year, Shannon is most looking forward to the more culturally diverse performances on the lineup including Hiplet Ballerinas on September 25th.

“This is the first national tour that this company is embarking on, and we’re one of their first stops. It’s always fun to be a part of that history. We’re excited because it’s a style of dance that’s just very unique.”

Shannon Dozoryst, Director at Young Auditorium

Another performance Shannon recommends is Drum Tao 2020 that showcases the ancient art of Japanese drumming.

“Young Auditorium’s vision is that we serve as a catalyst for inspiration. We want to be sure that people are leaving our space with more than they came to us with so that they’re being transformed in some very small way.

Shannon Dozoryst, Director at Young Auditorium

Come early to peruse the large collection of African art, donated by original founders, Fern and Irvin Young, in the lobby, and on a day you aren’t seeing a show, maybe catch a tour of the Young Auditorium and all of its facilities with Michael Morrissey to learn even more about the space and it’s original founders.

Visit here for more information on the Young Auditorium, shows, ticket prices, and booking one of their facilities for your own event/performance.