The New Victory Theater launched the New Victory Usher Corps
the day the theater opened in 1995 to provide paid employment, job training, academic support, mentorship and an introduction to the performing arts for over 50 young New Yorkers each year. Since then, the program has provided over 400,000 hours of paid employment to over 500 NYC teens from across the city. Find out how teens ages 16-21 in your life can apply to be a part of this award-winning program here
All season long, we'll be featuring young people from the Usher Corps in our New Vic Bills and here on the New Victory blog. Today we're talking to third-year usher Yasmin Salih from Chelsea, Manhattan.
What was your favorite show at The New Victory?
Mother Africa: My Home was my favorite show because it was so much fun. The music made you want to dance, the energy kept you up and excited. On a personal level, Mother Africa made me proud of my own African roots. It was a bonus that a lot of the performers were Ethiopian, like me.
The show I'm most excited for this season is...
Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams! Like Mother Africa, I feel personally connected to it. I'm proud to see my culture being shown to others, especially since I’ve rarely seen it accurately represented in entertainment.
The thing I like most about being an usher is…
I love being exposed to theater. I've always considered myself an artist, but when I was younger I wanted nothing to do with the performing arts. Now, working as an usher, I get to see how theater works up close and personal. It's opened my eyes to what theater really is, and I'm happy to work with other ushers who have different experiences when it comes to the performing arts.
What was your favorite memory from working as an usher?
Whenever the fake snow would fall from the ceiling at the end of Mr. Poppers Penguins, I loved seeing the kids' reactions. They absolutely loved it!
My dream job would be…
An animator or video game designer. I grew up on cartoons and games, so I now want to create the things I dreamed of as a kid. I also want to show that even though the arts are extremely competitive, I can make it as long as I work hard and stay dedicated to my dreams.
When did your love of theater start?
My friend's parents are both actors. When she invited me to one of their performances, I saw the love they put into the show. I fell for their passion and creativity!
Who inspires you?
My aunt is the best, because she broke tradition. Instead of settling for a family, she lives her life on her own terms, and spends her time traveling the world. I want to spend my life adventuring, like she does.
What was your favorite story as a kid?
My favorite book was Hugo because it was visually beautiful. I remember in 4th grade my teacher used to read it to us and she would tell us about how each drawing was made only with pencil. That fact amazed me as a little kid and I knew that I wanted to draw like that when I grew up.
What was your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school was World History because I got to study different cultures and ways of life around the globe.
What's your favorite thing to do when you're not at work?
My favorite thing to do is walk around the city to discover new things or to draw!
What's your favorite NYC hangout or neighborhood?
My favorite spot is the Lower East Side. A lot of my friends live around there, and it's close to my school, as well.
Describe the most challenging thing about being an usher.
The most challenging thing was adjusting to being a leader, especially since this was my first job and I'd never been one to step into a leadership role. Being an usher taught me about responsibility and how to mentor other ushers and guide patrons.
Describe your dream vacation.
My dream vacation is anywhere in nature. I find being outdoors very relaxing, especially since I live in the city and human-made parks are the closest thing we have to nature here.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory was when I got to run a booth with my friends and teachers in my elementary school's street fair. It was so exciting to have that kind of responsibility!
||Want to learn more about The New Victory Theater Usher Program? Take a look here!
Photo: Alexis Buatti-Ramos