Jackie Lyle, Executive Director of PASA -Performing Arts Serving Acadiana

Jackie Lyle, Executive Director of PASA -Performing Arts Serving Acadiana

Jackie Lyle, Executive Director of Performing Arts Serving Acadiana, known as “PASA,” joins Discover Lafayette to discuss the organization’s mission to provide local access to great performing arts.

Jackie has worked tirelessly for the past three decades to bring unique arts programming to Acadiana. She is a passionate spokesperson for the many ways art affects our economy, from hiring people for transportation, printing, recording and sound, live musicians, clients, etc. “It’s vital this industry recovers. We have to be in venues and sell tickets “to thrive and survive.

Born in Oberlin, Louisiana, Jackie moved to Lafayette at age seven and followed the stereotypical path of a young girl in the 1970s. She had always loved dancing, playing the piano, and being a band member; Though she loved art, Jackie says she never had the confidence to pursue a career as a professional recording artist, so she majored in psychology from LSU. She never intended to work, but to become a wife and mother. But when she got home from college, her dad said, “Jackie, you need a job with health benefits!”

Always the dutiful daughter, Jackie took her father’s advice and became an account manager at Clairol, which gave her great sales training and the opportunity to learn the ropes of business.

Her next career move brought her into a full-time job as an account manager at the Times of Acadiana, a start-up magazine founded by James Edmunds, Steve May and Richard Baudoin, all well-known names in publishing in this region. Jackie credits this position for helping her understand how the government and community forces worked, and the management team constantly challenged her to do new things and spread her wings. Towards the end of her tenure with the Times of Acadiana, she led a sales force, had her own publication, and wrote a weekly column for the Times. She was ready to fly on her own.

At that time, in the early 1980s, Lafayette’s art scene was enriched by the productions presented by the Fine Arts Foundation, which began in 1975. The nonprofit brought in famous artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Rudolph Nureyev and Gregory Hines, and Jackie was delighted to serve on this board under the encouragement of the Times management, which has brought such fine talent to a relatively small market as Lafayette LA. brought. But with the oil and gas crisis of the late 1980s, the Heymann Center closing for renovations, and the organization’s failure to pay its taxes, the Fine Arts Foundation shut down and filed for bankruptcy in the late 1980s. .

Out of this aftermath, PASA (originally known as “Performing Arts Society of Acadiana”) emerged under the helm of Jackie Lyle. Jackie looked back with pride at the impact her work has had over the years, including hiring PASA to help open the Manship Theater in Baton Rouge and the Grand Opera House of the South in Crowley.

“PASA’s goal is to provide local access to great performing arts. That’s our #1 goal. Great performing arts that you can attend locally makes a community great. This does not mean sold out performances or earning an “x” amount. Our mission is local access. If we can perform for local students again during the day, that’s the most important thing we can do. So many children never get the chance to get into the Heymann. That is a transformative experience, as many children have never seen a grand piano play. We now also have a trailer that will be our local stage to bring performances to neighborhoods. As soon as the cold weather stops, we’ll go into three different neighborhoods.”

PASA has also commissioned new works, meaning they support the creation of original performances of song and dance through directing and financing. PASA’s first such work involved telling the story of the settlement of the first Acadians in our region. This pivotal work is still actively touring after more than 27 years. PASA is currently working on a new commissioned work that will premiere in Denver on September 16, 2022 and perform next season in Lafayette.

One of Jackie’s current dreams is to see the fulfillment of a commissioned piece to be created by the great Elizabeth Streb to tell the story of one of the greatest civil rights stories in Lafayette’s history, the story of Beryl Shipley. , the USL’s basketball coach from 1966 to 1972. Coach Shipley brought in black players when the NCAA didn’t approve the practice. He was affected by more than 100 NCAA recruiting violations and he eventually resigned.

Jackie Lyle looks forward to completing a commissioned work to be produced by Elizabeth Streb with Beryl Shipley, the basketball coach at USL from 1966 to 1972. Coach Shipley brought in black players when the NCAA didn’t approve the practice. Shipley was affected by more than 100 NCAA recruiting violations and he eventually resigned. Mrs. Shreb is a choreographer who uses acrobatics and ‘many constructed constructions’. It’s a $475,000 project that Jackie says is realistically achievable; it will enrich our community once the story comes to life at the Blackham Coliseum, where Shipley’s team played to sold-out crowds and whose games feature triple-digit scores.

PASA’s first artistic effort to be showcased this year is Tango Fire on February 8, 2022 at the Heymann Performing Arts Center. Held overnight, it consists of five world champion couples, accompanied by the best dancers from the famous tango houses of Buenos Aires and Latin musicians.

PASA’s first artistic effort to be showcased this year is Tango Fire on February 8, 2022 at the Heymann Performing Arts Center. Held overnight, it consists of five world champion couples, accompanied by the best dancers from the famous tango houses of Buenos Aires and Latin musicians.

On March 31, 2022, Black Angels Over Tuskegee will be performed at the Heymann Performing Center. The performance is one of the longest-running off-Broadway productions and tells the story of six men who embark on a journey to become the United States Air Force’s first black aviators. Layon Gray, a Theater graduate from UL-Lafayette, was the driving force behind this piece, after interviewing the flier of the day about the struggles faced by black soldiers at a time of deep racial segregation. . Three lectures are given at this performance for those who want to hear more.

Lafayette LA has fourteen live performance venues, including high schools such as Comeaux, Lafayette, and Southside, Baranco Elementary, Judice Middle, Lafayette Middle, Cite Des Arts, UL-Lafayette campus theaters, and Wonderland Performing Arts. Jackie’s forte has been mastering the business side of performing arts, and she shared that seating capacity is critical to keeping a production running. For example, to project a budget into the Heymann Center, PASA has to sell 60% of the seats, about 1200 seats, to make a profit.

Tickets for all PASA performances can be purchased online at www.pasaonline.org. Or call Jackie Lyle at (337) 781-1273 for more information.

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