PINEHURST, N.C., January 12, 2022 ‐‐ Sandhills PRIDE, a support network and educational advocacy group dedicated to increasing awareness and acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ+) community in the Sandhills, is pleased to announce the recipients of a NEW specialized scholarship for the Arts, dedicated to two promising performers from Imagine Youth Theater, and its sibling organization, Gary Taylor Dance.  The two awardees are high school senior Elijah Brown and high school junior Jalen Troublefield.  They have each received $2,925 in scholarship funds.

Elijah Brown is a senior at North Moore High School.  He was invited to and attended The Governor’s School of NC for Dramatic Arts in 2021.  He has been in numerous theater productions at NMHS and won the 2018 NC Theatre Conference High School Play Festival’s Outstanding Actor award (Regional) and an Excellence in Acting Award at the 2021 Festival. Brown’s Imagine Youth Theater productions include Les Misérables (Javert), Chicago (Fred Casely, featured dancer), Legally Blonde (Kyle B. O’Boyle), Beauty & the Beast JR. (guest appearance as The Beast), A Chorus Line (Paul San Marco), Jekyll & Hyde (Simon Stride).  GTD productions The Nutcracker (2020) & Tribute to Broadway (spring 2021).  Eli is currently cast as Lewis in IYT’s most recent production, Pippin, and is a member of the Dance Corps.

Jalen is a junior at North Moore High School.  He has been in numerous theater productions at MNHS and is a member of the marching band. Troublefield’s Imagine Youth Theater productions include Les Misérables (Ensemble), Chicago (Sergeant Fogarty, featured dancer), Legally Blonde (Warner Huntington III), Beauty & the Beast JR. (guest appearance as Maurice), A Chorus Line (Al Deluca), Jekyll & Hyde (Henry Jekyll).  GTD productions The Nutcracker (2020) & Tribute to Broadway (spring 2021).

Imagine Youth Theater and its sibling Gary Taylor Dance are non-profit youth arts organizations operating out of Pinehurst and serving the Sandhills.  They are an integral part of the local arts community producing classical and contemporary dance and theater productions, providing professional training for aspiring dance and theater artists, and creating community outreach experience in the arts.

The Sandhills PRIDE IYT/GTD scholarships are both need and merit-based and underwrite students’ participation in up to five theater productions a year, enrollment in specialized dance for musical theater classes, and participation in various guest artist workshops.  With productions like RENT, Les Misérables, Chicago, Legally Blonde, Second Samuel, A Chorus Line, Jekyll & Hyde, Pippin, and Diviners, IYT seeks to broaden our young people’s experience of the world, theater, and themselves while producing pre-professional quality art that reaches across race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender.

The mission of Sandhills PRIDE is to unite, celebrate, and serve LGBTQ+ people, their allies, and sister organizations by providing social engagement, service, education, and leadership in the Sandhills region of North Carolina. Sandhills PRIDE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Pinehurst.  Sandhills PRIDE relies on donations to fund scholarships and activities.