Lights, Camera, Action … Plantation Teen Takes Center Stage as Ambassador for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts

By Beverly Perkins

Plantation native Libby Lapayowker was one of twenty-four selected to be a Teen Ambassador for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The 9th grade, Nova Southeastern University School student, was mesmerized the first time she stepped into a theatre and instantly knew she wanted to be a part of it. However, unlike many who enjoy the spotlight on stage, Libby prefers to be backstage.

Each year only two dozen students are selected to be a Teen Ambassador for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. These chosen few will have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of the arts by attending performances and workshops presented at the Broward Center and their affiliated venues to enhance their knowledge of the arts. The students will be given complimentary tickets to see Broadway shows, opera, ballet, jazz and concerts while exploring and learning the behind the scenes operations of the performing arts.

Libby’s introduction to technical theatre began in middle school. She was interested in makeup and costumes which provided her with the opportunity to truly see what happens behind-the-scenes. The ambitious teen learned the entire theatrical process from constructing sets to designing lights and sound. After having a few productions under her belt, she desired more responsibility. The sound designer then allowed her to assist with operating the sound board, and she literally found her calling.

“Sitting behind the console, I felt like a puppeteer making the show move. I could hear the stage manager on my headset calling each cue for lights, sound, and scene change. I knew instantly, that I wanted to be the voice on the other end of the headset calling the show,” exclaimed Libby. “Luckily, in my field, there aren’t too many other students fighting for the position. By the end of eighth grade, I had stage managed three productions and even helped direct two of them.”

The NSU School freshman has also been elected to be the Technical Representative on the Theater Arts Board where she will be responsible for organizing crew meetings and helping new students get involved in crew. Additionally, she earned the position of Stage Manager for the Fall High School Production of Orlando as well as the One Act Piece of Roots of Red for the District Thespian Competition in which many schools compete.

“Being selected to be an Ambassador for the Broward Center, I hope to learn further in depth what it means to make a major production come to life, whether it is a Broadway show, Dance, or Orchestra performance,” added Libby. “I feel lucky to have found my passion so early.  Typically, students my age aren’t given opportunities like this, most of our stage managers were juniors and seniors.”