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Circle of Life: Beyond the Lights brings 'Lion King Jr.' to the area

Beyond the Lights Theater Company has cast 22 young people between the ages of 5 and 18 for a production of The Lion King Jr., which is expected to go up in November, and will include two student shows, according to a news release.

The musical is based on the Walt Disney classic "The Lion King," but is meant to be performed by a younger cast. It will run from Nov. 4-7.

It seemed a perfect fit for Talladega native and Talladega High School alum Terencia Holtzclaw, class of 2013. She continues to work with the drama program at her alma mater, but Beyond the Lights is a little different.

“The purpose of Beyond the Lights is to create a safe space for adults and children alike to share their art and talent by honestly telling stories," Holtzclaw said. "We need more opportunities for youth and adults in our communities to gather and enjoy local art. My personal vision is to bring us all together one show and one story at a time. … We are committed to bringing opportunities in the theater arts to children in rural communities.

"The organization’s mission is to promote self-love, self expression and self-acceptance through art.”

Holtzclaw’s name may also be familiar from the performance of “Water Thy Roots,” a piece she wrote and directed which was performed at the Ritz Theater in March.

Ebenezer Baptist Church in Talladega is the rehearsal site for “Lion King Jr.” and a sponsor of the event. Holtclaw said there are other volunteer and sponsorship opportunities still available, including program advertising, monetary donations and season ticket bundles.

For more information, call BTL Theater Company at 256-589-0713 or email