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Monthly Archives: May 2009

Bilingual Literacy Night

On May 12th, TAP hosted a bilingual Literacy night at Dessau Elementary. We had a great turnout of parents, students and teachers wanting to learn more about how to engage students in reading. TAP teaching artists presented the book, The Woman Who Outshone the Sun/La Mujer que Brillaba aun mas que el sol and helped attendees to act out and participate in the story itself. The available body of research on the importance of literacy skills in determining future personal and academic success is very clear: students who cannot read, or who cannot read well, by the end of the third grade year will face significant difficulties in and out of school. Students who are English language learners also face many additional challenges when learning how to read.

TAP is pleased to address these challenges through bilingual literacy nights like the one at Dessau Elementary, and we hope to continue making reading fun and interactive for students throughout Austin and its surrounding communities. Many thanks to Kristie Guerrero for making the Literacy Night at Dessau Elementary so successful, and thanks again to all who attended.

The Missing Link

2008-2009 Cast with directors

This year the Changing Lives Youth Theatre Company (CLYTC) created an original show called “The Missing Link”. There were 8 cast members who represented 8 schools across the metro area. They were extremely committed and passionate about their work, and that dedication could be seen in every performance. The youth were very interested in exploring gossip and the role it plays in creating unhealthy relationships. “The Missing Link” final performance at the Youth Arts Festival.

The play centered around a girl named Violet who suddenly stopped showing up to school. Each character explored their relationship to Violet, their thoughts on why she left, and what they could have done differently to have helped her. The play toured to over 20 venues and was seen by over 2000 people in the Greater Austin area. “The Missing Link” was well received and the audiences found the message relevant to their own lives.

Youth Festival

As TAP has noted, on May 2, 2009, theatre practitioner and educationalist Augusto Boal passed away. Boal was a trailblazer for educational theatre and his influence can be seen throughout the world – including right here at TAP. Boal created a method of using theatre to help communities prioritize and address the social issues they face every day. His ‘arsenal’ of activities include Image and Forum theatre, which can be used with communities as a way to develop goals and problem-solving that comes from the experiences, knowledge and needs of the communities themselves. Many of TAP’s touring residencies, after school classes, and youth performing companies are structured around Boal’s ideas and methods. The loss of Boal will be felt by many, but his memory and work will surely continue to ripple throughout the world for years to come.
I find it sweetly fitting that on the day of Boal’s passing, TAP held
it’s 3rd annual Youth Arts Festival. This day was filled with music, photos, murals, spoken word, film and theatre that was created by
youth participants representing over 10 middle and high schools in the
greater Austin area. Youth developed art work and performances that
addressed such issues as immigration, gossip, healthy relationships,
diversity and staying in school. Over 100 people attended the
festival, which took place at the Boyd Vance Theatre in the Carver
Museum. It was a beautiful day of art, sharing, raising awareness and
motivating our community to take action. I imagine Augusto Boal’s
spirit was lifted by the voices of our youth that day.

-Amanda Hashagen, Middle and High School Program Director

Immigration & Identity Exhibit

Last evening, TAP celebrated the opening of their Youth Theatre & Art Exhibit on Immigration and Identity at the Dougherty Arts Center (DAC). The special project is a collaboration between TAP, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and the DAC, focusing on the Museum’s newest exhibit, Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America Through Galveston Island.
TAP teaching artists and the youth explored immigration as a part of history and how it shapes personal identity and the culture of our communities today. Students from Langford Elementary, Pecan Springs Elementary, and Mendez Middle School in Austin ISD, Parmer Lane Elementary in Pflugerville ISD, and Eden Park Academy, an Austin charter school, shared their ideas through shadowboxes, sculptures, a quilt, puppets, and film.
At the opening reception for the exhibit last night, staff from the collaborating organizations were amazed at the insightful artwork created by the youth. Teaching artists, participating students and their families, and other friends were also in attendance. The exhibit runs through May 28 at the Dougherty Arts Center at 1110 Barton Springs Road.

Michelle Obama Advocates for Arts Education

Yesterday, first lady Michelle Obama visited New York City to promote the arts, celebrating opening night at the American Ballet Theater and the reopening of part of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In her speech at the event she discussed the importance of arts education and said, “The president and I want to ensure that all children have access to great works of art.” Great step for arts education!

Click to read the NY Times Article on Mrs. Obama’s speech: Article

After School class giving back

Recently Brown Elementary Teaching Artist Leigh Shaw took her after school class to perform at Duvan Gardens Nursing Home. Here’s a message from Brown Program Coordinator, Claire McDonough, on the successful performance!
Wednesday, May 13th I accompanied Leigh and her Acting Class to Duval Gardens Nursing Home. Her class has been working hard on creating their own version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”. A few months ago they watched the film and then the children decided to re-invent the story to include “Seven Dorks”, a jealous Opera Singer Queen, and a Rock and Roll Prince.
Their performance of “Snow White and the Seven Dorks” was very well received at the nursing home! The residents laughed when the Prince tickled Snow White instead of kissing her, and one raucous woman screeched “Just kiss the girl!”. Leigh had the idea to share the play with the residents. The parents and I love that she is teaching the children how important it is to share the arts with the less fortunate.

Peace Cranes to Japan

Mr. Dustin and Ms. Flow put the last peace cranes into the box to send to Japan!

Theatre Action Project’s First Night 2008 project was all about Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Over 3,000 young people were apart of our project that focused on how we can each play a role in making Austin a peaceful community.

Elementary student concentrating on making a perfect peace crane for the First Night 2008 project.

Our goal was to have 1,000 child and community made paper peace cranes to send to Japan’s Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and this week we sent our last bit of cranes to Japan with the help of volunteers from Convio, who helped string cranes together.

We’re excited to send off the last of the cranes and make our contribution to the museum. We’re also so grateful to Convio for helping us to accomplish this!

Giant peace crane construction for First Night 2008 parade, this one isn’t going to Japan!