Episode 70: Out Youth Theater – Revelatory Experience for Performers and Audience

The Theater Offensive presents the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives in art so bold it breaks through personal isolation, challenges the status quo, and builds thriving communities. Evelyn Francis, Interim Artistic Director, discusses their youth program – a national model for creative youth development – where young people not only create original work and share it back to the community, but are true partners in developing a range of expanded opportunities within the program.

Evelyn Francis. Photo by Joel Benjamin.Evelyn Francis, Interim Artistic Director at The Theater Offensive, is a theatre artist, award-winning educator, and established arts administrator with experience working directly with over 10 Boston area arts organizations. Evelyn’s M.A. in Theatre Education from Emerson College culminated in a thesis, which examined the effects of devised work in the lives of LGBTQ youth.
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Episode 65: Museum Apprenticeships Transform Lives of New Bedford Youth

The City of New Bedford wanted to increase its high school graduation rates. As their response, New Bedford Whaling Museum launched the High School Apprenticeship Program, which provides resources and support to students that deepen community engagement and cultivate college and career readiness. Director of Apprentices and Interns Christina Turner and then Vice President of Education and Programs Sarah Rose share how the apprenticeship program has grown into a nationally-recognized model for creative youth development – with a 100% graduation rate for its participants.

Sarah Rose (left) and Christina Turner (right)Christina Turner is the Director of Apprentices and Interns at the New Bedford Whaling Museum where she directs the Museum’s High School Apprenticeship Program which earned the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award and the 2018 American Alliance of Museum Education Committee’s Excellence in Programming Award. In this role, she leads all recruiting and community engagement efforts and designs, implements, and evaluates all aspects of the program’s curriculum, daily activities, and operations.
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Episode 55: Generate and Cultivate Engagement

Zakiya Thomas, Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Executive Director of Education, Community Engagement and Inclusion, discusses how evaluation and accountability are key for institutions seeking to reach new audiences.

She says the same rigor that organizations apply to visitor experience or to the quality of work on display needs to also be applied around how that organization works with communities and the kinds of outcomes they expect to see.

Zakiya ThomasFor more than fifteen years, Zakiya Thomas has worked to develop engaging educational and public service initiatives designed to strategically align business, marketing, public relations and community engagement objectives.

She currently serves as the Executive Officer for Education, Community Engagement and Inclusion for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Continue reading “Episode 55: Generate and Cultivate Engagement”

Episode 49: Youth Community Built on Firsts

Julie Lichtenberg, Director of The Performance Project, and Artistic Director of First Generation Ensemble, discusses their approach to creative youth development work, including their commitment to inclusion and peer mentoring.

The Performance Project’s First Generation brings together young adults ages 14-23 for intensive artistic training, leadership development, and inter-generational mentoring. Forming an artistic ensemble, the First Generation youth create original multi-lingual physical theater performances based on their discoveries.

Julie LichtenbergJulie Lichtenberg, cultural activist, theater and visual artist, has worked in community settings as a teacher, performer, and director, incorporating visual art and physical theater since 1980. She has taught graduate and undergraduate visual art, performed with Beholders Puppet Theater, studied physical theater with Tony Montanero, Sigfrido Aguilar in Mexico, and collaborated with Teatro Mito y Realidad in Chicago.
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Episode 40: Ancient Dance Emboldens Youth’s Future

For 30 years, Angkor Dance Troupe has been a creative youth development leader in Lowell, MA, a city with the second-largest Cambodian population in the United States. Angkor connects families to what it means to be Khmer, gives young people opportunity, and shares beautiful stories of the Khmer people and their cultural heritage.

Linda Sou was there from day one. At the age of three, she began her training with Angkor Dance Troupe and would grow up to become its executive director. She shares what it means to preserve and share a nearly-lost art form.

Linda Sopheap SouLinda Sopheap Sou finds tremendous pride in the City of Lowell and champions efforts around youth development, community coalition building, and cultural preservation and innovation. A daughter to Cambodian refugees, Linda was born and raised in Lowell and currently resides in the Centralville neighborhood with her partner, Steven Flynn.

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