by Susie Gidseg, Managing Director, Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble
Changing Lives geared up for its biggest month of the year, February. After having January to rework the new script, Outside the Box, practice lines, and block scenes, February began with a bang! We started off with a performance at the PALS Conference, and then two back to back performances at Webb Middle School. This year we have three casts, all performing the same play, and so we have the opportunity to switch out roles often, many students learning up to three different parts!
After our performances at Webb- to huge audiences, we worked on a smaller version of our show to perform at Riot the Silence 2 End Dating Violence, a kick-off event put on by SafePlace and Start Strong Austin. Changing Lives brought a 15 minute version of our show to the stage and performed next to other amazing acts like The Cipher, Public Offenders, The Peterson Brothers and Outta Kontrol—just to name a few! We even got to have some video of our show featured on the news! Riot the Silence kicked off Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month, and our students were glad to be able to bring our show to this event to be part of this very important discussion.
The spring touring season is very different from the fall, when we are bonding as an ensemble, and writing our new script. Now, our students get to deal with change, deadlines, call times, new roles and lines and more—and they take it all in stride. It’s always amazing for me, as one of the directors, to see the group bond and gel in the fall, write together and share together, but what happens in the spring is just as magical. A bunch of teens all of a sudden become a group. A show created in our heads comes to life onstage. Students in the audience are talking, asking questions, wanting advice, and our teens—they have something to say. I am excited for the rest of this tour, and the things our Changing Lives teens will accomplish!