EPIC's "Nothing About Us": Youth Theater on Integration
The Epic NEXT Program tasks 15-20 high school students with researching, writing, and performing a play about a social issue, usually related to educational justice. The idea, is that those most impacted by the system, are those most likely to come up with meaningful solutions, and that theater can be used as tool for social change.
Back in 2018, New York Appleseed, an advocacy organization fighting for integrated schools and communities, commissioned EPIC to create a show about school segregation. The result was _Nothing About Us_, a 30 minute stage play written and performed by high school students.
The process begins with interviews of roughly 40 people about the topic. Ranging from researchers, to parents, to administrators, the goal is to hear from a wide range of stake holders. Those interviews are then transcribed and pieced together, along with some original writing, to create the show. Students recite the words spoken in the interviews, sing and rap, and create scenes from the stories told by the interviewees. The final show, featuring 5 students, with one prop and a handful of folding chairs can then be performed just about anywhere to a wide variety of audiences.
We're incredibly fortunate to be able to share some clips from a film adaptation of that show today, as well as a conversation with one of the artistic directors of EPIC and two of the students who wrote and performed the piece. If you have ever doubted the importance of youth voice, this show declares, unequivocally, that nothing about students done without their input, will be for them.
Don't forget to register for the Fifty State Conversation. Once registered, you'll receive links to free screenings of Nothing About Us on:
* Wednesday February 17 at 8pm (Eastern Standard Time)
* Wednesday March 17 at 7pm (Eastern Standard Time)
* Saturday April 17 at 3pm (Eastern Standard Time)
* Monday May 17 at 7:15pm (Eastern Standard Time)
If you can't make one of those, you can rent it on demand.
* EPIC Theatre Ensemble
* The Fifty State Conversation - Sign up today!
* Intetgrated Schools Advisory Board
* Matt Gonzales
* Matt Gonzales's White Lips to White Ears
* IntegrateNYC's 5Rs of Real Integration
* The Promise from Nashville Public Radio
Join our Patreon to support this work, and connect with us and other listeners to discuss these issues even further.
Let us know what you think of this episode, suggest future topics, or share your story with us - @integratedschls on twitter, IntegratedSchoolson Facebook, or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Integrated Schools Podcast was created by Courtney Mykytyn and Andrew Lefkowits.
This episode was produced, edited, and mixed by Andrew Lefkowits.
Music by Kevin Casey.