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Category Archives: Youth Arts Symposium

Youth Theatre Arts Symposium: A Success!


On Saturday, November 13th Theatre Action Project hosted their second annual Youth Arts Symposium at ACC’s Eastview Campus. Throughout the day students travelled between three classes: Theatre, Dance and Film. I began the day with TAP Teaching Artist and improv extraordinaire, Caitlin Swahn. The group was nervous during the first warm-up exercises; everyone seemed a little shy about jumping right in. We spent an hour with Caitlin playing name games, throwing imaginary objects around the room, acting like we were on a sinking ship and loosening up our creative muscles! At the end of the hour everyone was laughing, talking, and trading jokes with their new friends.

The original cliques made up of familiar classmates began changing into a united group as we made our way to Film class. There we met Teaching Artists Moeke Crider, Maganthrie Pillay, and Marcelo Teson. We quickly made our introductions then divided into two groups to film our Public Service Announcements (PSA). The topics varied but all showed how kids can change the world. Our PSA was a lot of fun to make and Maganthrie had so many great suggestions. She gave one student control over the camera, directing and placing shots, while everyone else took a turn in front of the lens. Near the end of our hour in Film class the cell phones began to come out and I knew it was time for lunch. Everyone gathered around the tables, taking the opportunity to mingle with their new friends. We even celebrated one student’s birthday with an enthusiastic rendition of “Happy Birthday”.

Our final class of the day was Dance with TAP Teaching Artist Rhianon Renae. Everyone was full of energy after lunch so we dove right in with trust exercises. We divided into groups of two, with one partner leading the other around the room with eyes closed. We also molded each other into statues, learned a short dance, and choreographed our own dance routines. There was one small Rootbeer explosion, but the rest of the afternoon was very productive and fun! At the end of the day we all gathered together to watch the finished PSAs (quickly and lovingly edited by Marcelo), then closed with an enthusiastic thank you to the TAP staff! I was so happy walking home from ACC and will definitely attend the Youth Arts Symposium next fall!

What are all the different ways that kids can change the world? Share your comments here or on our Facebook Page!

A Message From Cassie Swazye, TAP’s New VISTA After School Program Associate


I joined Theatre Action Project (TAP) this week as their After School Program Associate, supporting the Teaching Artists in the TAP After School (TAPAS) programs, and as TAP’s third AmeriCorps VISTA member. In 2008 I received a BA in Arts Administration with a focus on community based fine arts programming. My background, arts education, and lifelong service history led me to TAP and AmeriCorps VISTA. I participated in a variety of after school programs throughout elementary, middle, and high school.

TAP’s mission appealed to me as an adult who found her own voice through fine arts. I spent four years participating in the Loop Press program at Whitworth University, experiencing firsthand the positive effect diverse voices have on the artistic approach.

Not only does TAP encourage creativity in Austin’s schools and neighborhoods, but it supports the city’s community of working artists and performers.

My goals as TAP’s After School Program Associate are to:
• Encourage TA’s to connect with each other;
• Share their experiences as educators, and
• Grow together to make TAP’s programming even stronger.

If you’re at TAP volunteer, family member, Teaching Artist, board member, supporter, or VISTA volunteer, I invite you to send me your thoughts as I begin my TAP journey. What suggestions do you have for me as I begin? I’d love to hear from you.

Join Cassie Swayze at TAP’s Youth Arts Symposium, Saturday, November 13 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the ACC Eastview Campus, 3401 Webberville Rd Austin, TX 78756. The Youth Theatre Symposium is an opportunity for middle and high school students in Austin to participate in creative workshops taught by local theater professionals. FREE event, open to all community. Check out our blog from other TAP VISTA volunteers by clicking here.