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Changing Lives and Raising Awareness

By: Anita Ashton, Development Director

I tell you what… if you are going to have a job focused on raising awareness of an organization many people know little about, you cannot get luckier than to have Theatre Action Project be the organization you’re introducing.

Last week, I took a group of interested people to a Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble performance at Travis High School. The performance, Reach Out/Speak Up, I’d seen before but the the complete emotional engagement of the audience is always new and amazing to see.

The audience for this particular performance was comprised of students from Communities in Schools and as always, the talk-back was as compelling as the actual performance. One question that I thought was particularly compelling was about the role of adults in the navigation of these difficult social situations that involve bullying. The actors who answered spoke eloquently about the need for adults to be aware and exercise restraint and quiet, firm involvement. It had never really occurred to me before how much the play de-emphasized the role of adults and stressed the empowerment of young people to address difficult issues. A thoughtful conversation ensued about the vital, but nuanced, part that adults play in combating bullying and the emotional isolation that targets feel.

But back to what any of this has to with my job… awareness of TAP and its impact in schools and communities is increasing exponentially. Every meeting we have yields some new degree of support. Our story–the work we do, the incredible teaching artists, the schools that depend on us–is unfailingly compelling. That CLYTE performance last week reminded me just how compelling it is.

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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