CommUNITY Voices is an ongoing youth theater project that examines complex issues that are affecting young people in the Omaha metropolitan area. CommUNITY Voices partners with local youth organizations that work to create cultural equity in Omaha. We work with youth, ages 12- 18, to devise and perform scenes and plays to encourage young people to stand up and speak out on challenges confronting the community.
CommUNITY Voices gives youth who have may have experienced racism, social injustices, socioeconomic disparities, criminal justice system sentencing disparities, and other issues the chance to examine how these subjects have affected them personally in a safe and supportive environment.
CommUNITY Voices seeks to make a difference in the way young people view their opportunities in life; to build self-esteem, discipline, high self-expectations, and community involvement; and to give them a voice and a creative outlet to express themselves through theater arts. In the process, students learn how important motivation, self-discipline, collaboration, and communication are in achieving goals.
Book a Workshop
CommUNITY Voices workshops consist of theater games and writing exercises to help students explore their imagination, creativity, collaboration, problem solving skills, and dreams for their future.
Workshops can be customized to fit within each partner organization’s programming. Most workshops are held in 12-week sessions that meet twice weekly for 90-minute workshops (3 hours total each week). This structure can be adjusted, to be shorter or longer, to fit each organization’s needs.
CommUNITY Voices programming is offered to partner organizations free of charge, thanks to the generosity of The Sherwood Foundation.
For more information or to schedule a workshop, please fill out the following form or contact Tyrone Beasley, Artistic Associate/Director of Outbound Programs firstname.lastname@example.org, 402-502-4612
Below, you will find a sampling of The Rose CommUNITY Voices program’s outreach projects.
I Dream of an Omaha Where….
Performed by current and former gang members and victims of gang violence together on one stage, I Dream of an Omaha Where… was created from the personal stories of those most affected by gang activity in Omaha. The result was a powerful, compelling and intense experience that greatly impacted audiences throughout the metro area and beyond.
Omaha has a long-standing problem with gangs and youth-on-youth violence and is one of the most dangerous cities to live in for African American youth. I Dream of an Omaha Where . . . was a collaborative project involving former gang members and people who have been affected by gangs. The project, moderated by nationally known performer and writer Daniel Beaty, took the participants through intense and moving workshops to a performance of a play which utilized the transcripts of the workshops. The ‘I Dream’ project was a transformative experience for those sharing their stories, and is also changing the dialogue in Omaha and similarly affected cities about the nature and impact of gang violence. Most of all, it is putting a human face on those who have or still are participating in gangs and the people who have been tragically affected by gang violence.
We invite you to view the following videos about the I Dream of an Omaha Where… project and share them with others as we all dream together of a better Omaha.
I Dream of an Omaha Where… (Short Version) – 20 minute presentation that focuses on the creative process of the project and the transformative power of the arts. This version would be most interesting to theaters and arts organizations.
I Dream of an Omaha Where… (53 min) – Full-length version that premiered at Omaha’s Film Streams theater in October 2015 and won awards at various national and international film festivals.
In 2016, The Rose developed Changed, which looked at the impact teen pregnancy has on the lives of teens in our community. We invite you to view the following videos about this project and share them with others as we all work together to improve the lives of young people in our communities.
In The Middle of No Where: The Voices of Incarcerated Youth
In 2016, The Rose developed two theatrical productions. The second of these projects, In The Middle of Nowhere, worked with incarcerated youth, giving them a voice to share their thoughts and feelings about the events that led up to their current situation. We invite you to view the following videos about these projects and share them with others as we all work together to improve the lives of young people in our communities.
In The Middle of Nowhere Videos
We Are DREAMers
The Rose Theater and Immigrant Legal Center (formerly known as Justice for Our Neighbors-Nebraska)have teamed with renowned actor, writer, director and activist Daniel Beaty and videographer Mele Mason to create a one-of-a-kind performance piece and documentary film that address the issues current DACA recipients face as their futures in this country remain uncertain. We are DREAMers features stories from young undocumented immigrants who have been protected from deportation under the DREAM Act and reveals the impact DACA has made on DREAMers and our community.
Home, a documentary focusing on the issues within the foster care system in Nebraska, premiered at Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater in the midst of Foster Care Awareness Month (May). The film is the result of a unique collaboration between The Rose Theater, Daniel Beaty, Project Everlast, and videographer Mele Mason. “The Foster Care System is complicated. While needed and necessary, in many cases it causes more trauma for young people than had they remained in their biological homes from which they were removed,” says Ronda Newman, Associate VP of Project Everlast. “Fundamental changes are necessary to improve how it operates, and the stories of young people, professionals, foster parents and other advocates depicted in this documentary will bring the issues to light in a way that all will understand.”