This summer, Goodman Education and Engagement launched a new program entitled: Strike! The Youth Political Theatre Project. It grew out of a desire from our youth participants to be able to continue to gather, build community and discuss the issues most present to them while responding to the current political moment through their chosen art form. By the end of this four week program, participants will decide on an issue they care about—from immigration to Black Lives Matter to LGBTQ+ rights—and develop a short piece that aims to further educate an audience around that issue. As both a theater artist and organizer myself, I am excited to lend my skill set to support our participants in this particular program. In just one day of programming, youth from across Chicago (and Minnesota!) have already come to the space with a great amount of passion and awareness, and are already asking the tough and challenging questions of developing and producing this kind of work.
Strike! follows Goodman Education’s belief in youth leadership and will be informed by ways youth are, and have been, organizing both in Chicago and around the country for years. Knowing that youth are always at the forefront of major movements—like United We Dream and Organized Community Against Deportations fighting for immigrant rights, and Assata’s Daughters and BYP100 fighting for Black lives—this program pays homage to such youth-led and youth-centered spaces and seeks to help develop more of those leaders. My hope is that these participants have tangible tools to walk away with that they will continue to build upon in their artistic and activist endeavors.
Quenna L. Barrett
STRIKE! : THE YOUTH POLITICAL THEATRE PROJECT
In this FREE four-week program, participants will act as ambassadors for the theatre and for their communities by collaborating in ensemble-based, youth-driven creation of new virtual theatre pieces in response to political and social events. Participants will also work towards producing a live, virtual event series with theater artists across Chicago, helping to expand working knowledge for young Chicago artists about the various pathways to careers and social justice in the theatre. Led by Quenna Barrett and Sam Mauceri, participants will collaborate with current members of the Goodman Youth Arts Council and their peers to identify a social issue and design a theater-based response. As part of that process, participants will learn their legal rights and the historical context underpinning our current socio-political moment.