by Susie Gidseg, Managing Director, Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble
There is something about the Changing Lives family. As you all have followed our journey this year—you have seen many high points—performances and sharings, trips and media opportunities, growth and change, but this final performance may have been my favorite. We gathered together at Hyde Park Theatre (an amazing space- that you should patronize if you haven’t already) for our end of year- family and friends only performance. For hours before we worried because we had too many people interested in seeing the show- but as it often does, theatre magic happens, and the theatre was full, yet no one was turned away.
The audience was buzzing with energy, friends and parents, brothers and sisters, classmates, staff of SafePlace and Theatre Action Project and more filled the theatre. The evening wasn’t just about the final performance. It was about all of us, the Changing Lives family, coming together to celebrate what we have accomplished this year. To celebrate our students for their hard work and dedication, and celebrate the staff, family and friends who gave them space this year to grow, helped with rides and snacks, and believed wholeheartedly that the work the students were doing was WORTH IT.
After the show we held a talk-back with the audience, had students speak about their favorite times in Changing Lives, handed out end of year certificates, and had a post show party with food and cake. We broke the set down for the last time, folded up the Romeo and Juliet costumes and dissembled our sound system.
It was the end of this year, but as with every year, there will always be a new beginning in the fall. The group will be different- but equally amazing in their own way. I’m excited to see the future of Changing Lives as it continually grows and changes. Thank you to SafePlace and Theatre Action Project for believing in this program, and the good it is doing in our community.