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Creating Teen Theater: Young, Gifted and Black

Young Gifted & Black Logo

Artzray recently featured The Rose Theater’s Teens ‘N’ Theater program’s production of Young, Gifted & Black in an article about our teaching artist fellow Olivia Jones (who you may also have seen on our stage in our production of Elephant & Piggie.)

This year’s Young, Gifted & Black was presented March 3-6, 2016. It is part of our regular Teens ‘N’ Theater season. Teens are invited to participate at no cost to them. The ensemble rehearses for eight weeks before presenting their show on our black box Hitchcock Stage. The smaller, intimate setting allows the important messages of the show to resonate in a very personal way, in part because of the close connection to the audience.

Young, Gifted & Black 2016 featured 11 youth actors between the ages of 13 and 15. Many were having their first on-stage experience.

Here are a few excerpts from the article:

By definition “Young Gifted & Black is an ensemble of diverse youth that explore issues presented by being African American [or black] in today’s culture”. This was the first year that the Rose empowered YGB by using the voices of the group to improvise and create new theater works to share their story….

One of the first obstacles we had to overcome as an ensemble was how to create a scene intended for an audience without a formal script…. Each member also wrote a monologue that was based on their life experience, providing an insight to their first experiences realizing races exist or a personal experience they’ve had with racism….

In the end, we had a selection of just over 80 scenes, monologues,and poems to choose from. We selected 20 scenes to share with our audiences. Topics varied from bullying, to education, to the effects of racism on a person of multicultural backgrounds.

Read more of this fascinating article about Young, Gifted & Black.

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