Wow! What an exciting, challenging, and rewarding week. I, along with four parents, drove the teens in my youth theatre to seven different locations where we performed our show for audiences ranging from ages 5 to 95. There are so many pictures and stories from the week that one blog won’t be able to capture the experience. The pictures below will give you some idea of what the week was like. What you won’t experience is the excitment from the teenagers, the heat and exhaustion from traveling and performing the show all over Austin, and the feedback from the audience where it was clear that all the kids who saw the teenagers perform wanted to be just like them.
Our first performance was at Southwest Keys, where they house a Boys and Girls Club.
Our second location was a youth day facility that works with at-risk teenagers.
After each performance we had a talk-back. During our talk-back, a lot of the teens were interested not only in the themes of the show, but also in how they could get involved next year. It was really encouraging to see that our performance had a positive effect that was powerful enough that they wanted to be a part of it.
After that performance we went to the River City Youth Foundation, a camp on the east side of Austin. In this picture Jeremy is talking with a child before the show and trying to get him to rap with him. While the child was entertained, he unfortunately was too shy to show us his skills.
Our next performance was at the Heart House,a non-profit that works with youth in low-income housing complexes. For many years they have been bringing their children to our theatre, but today we got the bring the theatre to them. In this picture they are watching one of the performers be a very awkward teenager, and they are loving it.
Here we are warming up before the show.
During the talk-back, the children shared their favorite moments in the show.
After the show, it was clear that the kids from Hearthouse saw the teens as role models.
On Thursday we performed at the Dell Children’s Hospital. While we had a small audience, it was a very rewarding experience. As the child life specialist at the hospital told us, “It was great to have you all here. The time that you all spend with these children is time they aren’t thinking about being sick.” The children in the audience seemed to have smiles on their faces the whole time!
Our next performance spot was the East-Side Boys and Girls Club. It was very hot in this gym, but the audience was really responsive.
Again, many of the teenage students in the audience were very curious about how they could get involved in the program next year.
Yes, it was this hot.
Our final performance was at the Gaines Ranch Elderly Home. As you can see, this was quite a different audience. It was a great experience to be able to perform for such a wide variety of audiences.
James Lee, the Director of Lifestyles at the retirement community, said this about the show: “I was really impressed by the Paramount Youth Theatre’s performance. Their commentary on society was not only humorous but also witty and poignant. I’m confident that many of our residents appreciated this deeper level of social commentary rather than simply view it as ‘kids putting on a show’.”