by Patrick Torres, Middle School and High School Program Director
The New Stages Youth Theatre Ensemble met for the first time last night, and it was great. The participants were funny, insightful and honest as they offered stories from their lives and spoke about what they hoped audiences would learn from the original piece they will create this year:
- Do not judge people by how they look.
- People who have been through the system can be successful.
- Everyone has their faults.
- We are people who have made bad decisions but are working to be better.
- Don’t get it twisted. You don’t know what you think you know.
If last night is an indication of what is to come over the next year, then we are all in for an excellent ride as we support these youth in the creative process. At different times in our two hours together, I felt challenged and inspired and so happy. And this morning I thought about how the new name of our organization, Creative Action, really does capture the essence of all of our programs, especially the New Stages Youth Theatre Ensemble:
These youth will not only develop their creativity, but use it to push themselves forward, to change their community, and to challenge the way audiences see them. Their potential is limitless, and I promise to keep you informed on our progress!
The New Stages Youth Theatre Ensemble is for students between the ages of 14 and 20 who have been released from the juvenile detention system. The Ensemble will together to create original plays about their experiences and will tour their shows and perform for more than 2,000 Austin area youth at schools and churches annually. A social worker will be a part of the program which will meet twice weekly at a halfway house. Youth members of the New Stages Youth Ensemble will receive compensation for their creative work with the program.
UPDATE: Theatre Action Project is now Creative Action. Read more about our name change.