Amber Academy focuses on youth empowerment

Dinner theatre event a community introduction

Hosting an evening that includes dinner, theatre, a fashion show and a dance sounds like a great way to introduce yourself to the community.

Amber Academy Youth Fine Arts Society will combine those elements for the Great Big Gala, a fundraising event that aims to introduce people to the group and showcase the talent of more than 80 local students between five and 16 years of age. The non-profit organization is dedicated to creating healthier and higher qualities of life, Amber Academy founder Keli Dunn said in a media release.

“Our goal is not only to empower youth in the arts but also in life skills, volunteerism and community service,” Dunn said. “Our mission is to empower students from kindergarten through high school to become creative, productive and confident members of our community through artistic education, collaboration and expression.”

Dunn believes that helping young people build skills that enable them to overcome economic and social barriers builds better leaders for the future. Teaching youth how to think critically and be successful speakers and communicators enables them to develop valuable life and technical skills, she noted.

The Great Big Gala features a buffet dinner catered by Cathy Gouke of Cathy’s Corner Cafe, with gluten-free and vegetarian options available. Entertainment will be provided by Amber Academy’s acting and show choir students. Costumes and fashion design students will present a fashion show, with lighting and sound under the direction of the technical theatre students. Projects created by sets and and prop design students will be on display throughout the venue as well, and a dance party will close out the evening.

The Great Big Gala takes place on Nov. 4 at the Sooke Community Hall at 2037 Shields Rd. Tickets cost $25 for those 16 and older, and $20 for youth and seniors. Tickets are available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Stick in the Mud Coffee House. Email for more information. For more on the Amber Academy Youth Fine Arts Society, visit

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