We had been doing youth theatre for almost thirty years, but it wasn’t working the way we knew it could. We were doing fairy tales where the students pretended to be adults, saying words they didn’t understand and acting out lives that weren’t anything like theirs. In our experience as actors, artists, and educators, we knew that we could do better. We could bring complex ideas and world-class theatre trends into the classroom. We could give our students a voice.
We knew we had a problem to solve, and so we did.
We wanted to create a place for students to try new things, to break out of their shells, to practice failing and trying again. In our rehearsal rooms, every student has a voice in how the story is shaped. Whether this is their first show or their twentieth, students practice confidence by voicing their ideas, build creativity by trying new things and seeking feedback, and gain discipline by meeting their goals. The entire cast works together, moves together, and builds each other up to build an original production.
It all shines through when the curtain rises. In our plays, every student is onstage the whole show, encouraging engagement and ownership of their work. Through the hours of rehearsal, the high expectations of the classroom, and the guidance of their director, even the most quiet and shy student can find the joy of performing a play that they helped to create. Every student can feel empowered on our stage.