Please be aware that this site is over 2 years out of date. The list of executive committee members for Waterville Inclusive Community Project is not current. Nor is the list of partners. Nor is the list of board members, etc. for Out & Allied Youth Theatre
The Out & Allied Youth Theatre performed Gays of Our Lives at the Waterville Opera House’s Studio Theater on June 20-22, 2014. The Out & Allied Youth Theatre includes about 25 junior-and-senior high school students from the Waterville Junior High School, the Waterville Senior High School, and Erskine Academy. See Out & Allied Youth Theatre for materials.
Watch Gays of Our Lives
The Waterville Inclusive Community Project is excited to announce three grants that were funded in Spring 2014. Grants from the Mukti Fund, the Maine Community Foundation, and the Maine Humanities Council will primarily support the Out & Allied Youth Theatre.
The Out & Allied Youth Theatre conducted a workshop at the annual Maine Youth Action Network Youth Leadership Summit at the Augusta Civic Center on Monday, December 9th. Three hundred youth and their adult supporters attended the two-day summit. Five STAND members (Waterville HS’s GSTA) and five Student Allies (Waterville JHS’s GSTA) planned and facilitated the workshop. The one-hour workshop consisted of students performing three pieces written by recent Waterville HS graduates, discussion based on themes raised in the pieces, and two small group activities.
Making a Stand for Social Workers of Maine
by Allie Richards ’14
On Friday September 27th, the Maine chapter of the National Association of Social Workers held a conference in Northport, Maine. Students from Waterville High School’s S.T.A.N.D and Waterville Junior High’s Student Allies were invited to perform skits written by youth that present new ideas on LGBTQ issues. The group of students, known as the Out and Allied Theater group have presented on many other occasions throughout the Waterville community.
The student’s performed five skits titled; “I’m Not Gay but Thanks,” “Linda,” “Coming Out: What Not to Do,” “Crayola Crusade,” and “My Community.” All of these skits were written by youth and performed by youth, highlighting the complicated and sad issues behind a person’s sexuality and how society perceives them.
`The skits use comedy, drama, and despair to show the audience the effects stereotypes and prejudice play on youth. They highlight the importance of being open to different people, not using insults, being an ally, and being an accepting person. The skits provoke laughter in order to show irony, point out society’s faults and entertain any audience. They break down the sad truth behind feeling different so that audiences can relate to the character’s problems and truly feel the character’s emotions.
The skits were praised by audience members who said they were; well written, thought provoking, entertaining, awesome, helpful, and influential. This is very high praise for pieces solely written by youth, presented to an audience of adults.
Shelbie Douglas ’14, a new member of S.T.A.N.D and audience member, found the presentation interesting saying, “It made me excited to see what else I was going to be able to learn and be able to do myself; everyone was so charismatic and passionate, and that really gave the performances a deeper and lasting effect that made you want to take a stand and accept different sexualities.” This quote really shows that these presentations have a real effect on people and inspire audiences to be accepting.
The performers received lots of positive feedback, interest in their work, and even more opportunities for performances. During the allotted time for questions and answers, the audience of social workers asked about the administrators influence, the school’s acceptance, and the community involvement of S.T.A.N.D and Student Allies. They learned that the administrators are extremely helpful and essential to their goal, the school has been impacted in very positive ways, and the two groups participate in other presentations and volunteer work.
The conference gave an opportunity for the two groups to present their work, learn of new opportunities, and influence a new crowd. This conference and presentations showed that big things are to come from these groups.
Throughout this summer season Waterville Inclusive Community’s own Youth Theater Directors, Maya Brown and Treva deMaynadier, have been working hard on a Youth Action Kit. Titled STAND UP Action Kit, this Kit acts as a curriculum for youth to become active and help improve their community’s inclusiveness for LGBTQ students and adults. The two have worked on this curriculum since June and recently completed the kit in the beginning of august.
Treva sums up her and Maya’s work this summer, stating that the two have been “taking activities, skits and agendas from previous trainings that we’ve worked on in the past, edited them, made new ones, and combined them to create an action Kit.” The main goal of this process is “for groups and communities throughout the country to promote a safe LGBTQ environment within their own community” says Treva. There is no doubt that LGBTQ issues are present and in need of being addressed but many people wonder why youth should tackle such a daunting and important issue. Treva answers this by saying “I think it’s important because it’s for youth by youth, something that not many groups can accomplish.” She continues by saying “We are young people who have to deal with these issues around us so we are the ones who are the best equipped to find and stop these issues.” “The kit is especially unique because of the theater element that allows both the facilitators and the participants look at these issues in a fun and engaging way.”
Although directed towards youth, this kit is a great learning tool for both youth and adult groups because it looks deeper into the social and personal issues of the LGBTQ communities. The kit can provide a completely different outlook on an age old issue of equality in any age through the use of powerful and comedic skits that evoke tough questions and a new way of thinking. The best part is that this kit will not only help the Waterville community but communities across the country, creating a safe and more inclusive nation starting with these two dedicated and talented students.