SOCIAL JUSTICE THEATER

by Kaleidoscope Youth Center Inc.

facebook.com/kycohio

1) What's your group's background?

Established in 1994, Kaleidoscope Youth Center provides free positive youth development programming that focuses on building resilience and reducing risk factors for LGBTQ youth ages 12-20. Programs engage young people through a safe setting and relevant programming; support youth who are struggling with identity issues, family discord, mental health problems, or the challenges of adolescence; educate youth and the community about LGBTQ issues; and advocate for safe and inclusive spaces everywhere. Daily activities at KYC fall into one of five key areas – social/behavioral health, life-skills development, holistic health & wellness, identity affirmation & community building, leadership, empowerment, and advocacy. Specific projects and activities change on a regular basis based on input from youth participants. The “Social Justice Theater Troupe” was an activity requested by the youth after a one-time session with Teaching Artist Rosemary Marston, where they dipped into different forms of theatre and the arts, exploring social justice issues relating to the LGBTQ community. The troupe then held their inaugural weekly program in the Fall of 2017, culminating in a friends and family performance in December of 2017.

2) Describe your Project!

The KYC Social Justice Theatre Troupe serves two groups: One–the LGBTQ youth participants who build the show over several months, while exploring identity, leadership, activism, and theatre. Together we devise a performance that reflects our true experiences and what we see is most important to tackle in our community. Two–families, community members, and students who view and interact with the performance, taking the place of the protagonist or ally to help understand the experiences of the LGBTQ youth and to explore solutions to these problems. Through practicing real conversations in this safe space, people leave more equipped with tools to make real change in real life.

3) What is your goal for this project?

We hope to still perform and interact with students this school year, but we also hope to start programming again this summer to reach more youth and build/recreate a new performance piece. Then, pairing with local GSAs, we’ll travel to schools over the fall and spring to further enrich dialogue on these issues.

Goals:

  • • Retain current play—“I am Lucas”—and continue to develop new performances with facilitated conversations.
  • • Begin summer programming and recruit 10-15 new youth to be involved in some capacity.
  • • During the 2018-2019 school year, visit with 6-10 schools and community organizations.
  • • For youth troupe members: build skills in leadership, communication, advocacy, and collaboration; create a safe, validating space for self-expression and community-building; reveal and enhance one’s role in citizenship.
  • • For audience “spect-actors”: share stories and cultural competencies in an engaging way; build empathy and understanding; practice conversations and ways of being a good ally; share resources.

4) How much money do you need and what will you use it for?

$3,000 to: pay the Teaching Artist for planning and leading rehearsals, pay for transportation to schools/orgs for performances, food during rehearsals, and props/costumes.