Feature published by www.austin.culturemap.com, November 28:
This youth theater is Changing Lives
Advice crafted for and by teens, onstage at a school near you
By Erica Lies, 11.28.11
Early on a recent Saturday morning, eight students from the Changing Lives Youth Theater Ensemble performed at the We Are Girls conference in an Austin High classroom packed with middle school girls. One by one, the actors stepped into the spotlight to introduce their characters.
"Just because I'm a slut doesn't mean I don't deserve respect."
"Just because I'm into academics doesn't mean I don't know how to have fun." The honest, frank language is characteristic of a Changing Lives show.
A joint program of Theatre Action Project and Safe Place, CLYTE is a theatre arts program comprised of paid 14-18 year old actors who tour to middle schools and community events in Central Texas, presenting original plays focused on teen social issues like bullying and relationship violence.
A documentary feature on Changing Lives by Sean Schiavolin and Christopher Morse for inCONTEXT (12 min., 40 sec.) :
[Apple users: can't see the video? Click to go to YouTube]
[ . . . . ] A number of initiatives and media campaigns to draw attention to the detrimental effects of bullying have sprung up in recent years, but most focus only on the bully and the target, turning primarily to adults to stop the harassment. Changing Lives, however, employs a unique model that uses theater to teach kids strategies for interrupting destructive patterns.
The ensemble spends a semester conceiving of and writing a play with the help of TAP and Safe Place program directors, Nitra Gutierrez and Susie Gidseg. Beginning with image-based games and exercises from Theatre of the Oppressed, the ensemble often shows a problem and then a moment of intervention where that problem can either be solved or exacerbated. [ . . .]