The It Gets Better Workshop
by Emma O’Neill-Deitel (Julia R. Masterman High School/10th Grade)
PYP Youth Council Member and previous 1st place winner of our Annual Playwriting Festival
Two weeks ago, I attended the It Gets Better workshop at the Kimmel Center, as a representative of PYP. The It Gets Better project is a multimedia campaign that exists to spread the word to LGBTQ youth that they are not alone, and that their situation will get better. It also promotes changes that can be made in communities to make sure that life does get better for LGBTQ people. The workshop I attended was part of a series of workshops all over the country led by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, in which members of the chorus facilitate a discussion and video-making workshop to promote the It Gets Better message. The other students in the workshop were from the Attic Youth Center, an organization for Philadelphia’s LGBTQ teens and their allies.
We began the workshop by introducing ourselves and our organizations. I was very proud to represent PYP and it was interesting to hear about the Gay Men’s Chorus of LA and the Attic Youth Center, neither of which I had been familiar with prior to the workshop. After the introductions, we broke into small groups and talked about what message we would like to convey to other LGBTQ teens. We then shared what we had discussed and made an outline for what we wanted to include in the video. After we had come up with a general idea, we wrote individual statements, which we filmed. We also wrote and filmed segments that we performed as a group. The experience of creating such a spontaneous piece (we did all this in just two hours!) reminded me of a similar process we often follow in PYP workshops, which has taught me that on-the-spot performances are some of the best.
Young Playwrights, the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and Asian Arts Initiative officially launched a new collaboration last night at Young Playwrights’ new and future home at 1219 Vine Street.
The 1219 Project brings youth, social practice artists, theater professionals, and university students together to explore how art can transform place, create community, and create a culture of civic engagement through cross-generational, cross-organizational, cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Young Playwrights gratefully recognizes our Board of Directors, Producers’ Circle and investing partners on the 1219 Project: The Barra Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, CHG Trust, Howell Lockhart Sieple Trust.
The 1219 Project is produced in partnership with Asian Arts Initiative, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and the Ira Brind School of Theatre Arts at the University of the Arts.
Following extensive school closures in the School District of Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin High School received hundreds of displaced students. Last year, a group of students in Mrs. Lauren Murphy-Sands' class worked with Young Playwrights to write a play about the school environment and about the challenges they face every day. Then, "The Receiving Schools Project" was produced and performed at the 2014 New Voices Productions at Temple Theaters.
On November 12, The Receiving Schools Project was remounted at Benjamin Franklin High School for a group of students, educators, and administrators, including School District of Philadelphia Superintendent, Dr. William Hite.
The Inquirer wrote a front page feature!
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