Youth Project

Youth Project Mission

A Red Orchid’s Youth Project seeks to produce new scripts and originally devised ensemble work for performance while maintaining an educational program that can serve its members in this pursuit.

YOUTH PROJECT HISTORY

A Red Orchid’s Youth Project began In October of 2008 with A Very Merry Unauthorized Scientology Pageant. We first produced this show during our ’08-’09 season and it was so popular that we brought it back for our ’09-’10 season. We have also hosted a series of free theater training workshops on auditioning, improvisation, monologues, on-camera work, Commedia del’Arte, and clowning.

In our ’10-’11 Season, we felt a new challenge was in order for both the Youth Project and our audiences. We chose to stage The Illiad, Homer’s epic tale of the Trojan War. Previous Ensemble Member Craig Wright adapted this story specifically for the young women of our Youth Ensemble. The young actors involved gave performances beyond their years, earning rave reviews from Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune and a two-week extension.

Youth Project - 2

In addition to the performances, we added an educational outreach component to the program. We welcomed area schools to special matinee performances, where they received a post-show discussion and/or pre-show workshop. The students we able to engage with the young actors from the show–a great example of kids teaching kids. Further, Lawrence Grimm, AROT’s Education Director went into several local schools and provided free workshops interrogating the question “In AROT’s The Illiad, how do the aspects of ritual and violence create narrative?” These workshops taught these students about history, plot, character, style, and theatricality and helped create “aha” moments in viewing the production.

The Youth Project has also evolved into several produced projects outside the environs of the home theatre space. In 2010 and 2011, we produced 10 minute plays at Collaboraction’s Sketchbook. Also, in the summer of 2011, we were asked to perform an originally devised piece for Theatre 7’s Landmark Project. The Youth Ensemble composed a piece based on interviews conducted in Chicago’s Oz Park on the themes of courage, heart, and brains.

In 2013, AROT’s Youth Ensemble joined Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, Congo Square Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, American Theatre Company, Chicago Public Library, Facing History and Ourselves, WBEZ, and many other organizations in creating theatre that provokes a conversation about youth violence. The Youth Ensemble’s contribution was a devised piece called Now is the Time, an original piece based on interviews with the ensemble’s friends, family, classmates, and teachers.

Youth Project - 3

In 2016, the Youth project continued with a production of The Haven Place, by Chicago playwright and now Ensemble Member Levi Holloway. THE HAVEN PLACE featured American Sign Language as part of the show.  In talking about the show, Holloway had this to say: “The show has a heavy focus on deaf and hearing integration. It will feature one deaf actress and seven hearing actors. The development of this work has been an amazing opportunity for real-time, ground floor accessibility. We are teaching our hearing actors to sign, to lean into each other and discover new ways to approach storytelling. No one will be voicing our deaf actress.  It’s a real-world application of what deaf and hearing integration looks like.” The show ran in December of 2016 to much audience acclaim and success.

We believe an actor’s training never truly ends—one needs to regularly explore and expand their knowledge base to adapt to new art forms and our ever-changing world. The Youth Project allows us to work with actors at the beginning of their career and our goal is to provide a myriad of ways in which this programming will shape not only our artistic vision but also our greater community.

Youth Project -1

Youth Project Mission

A Red Orchid’s Youth Project seeks to produce new scripts and originally devised ensemble work for performance while maintaining an educational program that can serve its members in this pursuit.

YOUTH PROJECT HISTORY

A Red Orchid’s Youth Project began In October of 2008 with A Very Merry Unauthorized Scientology Pageant. We first produced this show during our ’08-’09 season and it was so popular that we brought it back for our ’09-’10 season. We have also hosted a series of free theater training workshops on auditioning, improvisation, monologues, on-camera work, Commedia del’Arte, and clowning.

In our ’10-’11 Season, we felt a new challenge was in order for both the Youth Project and our audiences. We chose to stage The Illiad, Homer’s epic tale of the Trojan War. Previous Ensemble Member Craig Wright adapted this story specifically for the young women of our Youth Ensemble. The young actors involved gave performances beyond their years, earning rave reviews from Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune and a two-week extension.

Youth Project - 2

In addition to the performances, we added an educational outreach component to the program. We welcomed area schools to special matinee performances, where they received a post-show discussion and/or pre-show workshop. The students we able to engage with the young actors from the show–a great example of kids teaching kids. Further, Lawrence Grimm, AROT’s Education Director went into several local schools and provided free workshops interrogating the question “In AROT’s The Illiad, how do the aspects of ritual and violence create narrative?” These workshops taught these students about history, plot, character, style, and theatricality and helped create “aha” moments in viewing the production.

The Youth Project has also evolved into several produced projects outside the environs of the home theatre space. In 2010 and 2011, we produced 10 minute plays at Collaboraction’s Sketchbook. Also, in the summer of 2011, we were asked to perform an originally devised piece for Theatre 7’s Landmark Project. The Youth Ensemble composed a piece based on interviews conducted in Chicago’s Oz Park on the themes of courage, heart, and brains.

In 2013, AROT’s Youth Ensemble joined Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, Congo Square Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, American Theatre Company, Chicago Public Library, Facing History and Ourselves, WBEZ, and many other organizations in creating theatre that provokes a conversation about youth violence. The Youth Ensemble’s contribution was a devised piece called Now is the Time, an original piece based on interviews with the ensemble’s friends, family, classmates, and teachers.

Youth Project - 3

In 2016, the Youth project continued with a production of The Haven Place, by Chicago playwright and now Ensemble Member Levi Holloway. THE HAVEN PLACE featured American Sign Language as part of the show.  In talking about the show, Holloway had this to say: “The show has a heavy focus on Deaf and hearing integration. It will feature one Deaf actress and seven hearing actors. The development of this work has been an amazing opportunity for real-time, ground floor accessibility. We are teaching our hearing actors to sign, to lean into each other and discover new ways to approach storytelling. No one will be voicing our Deaf actress.  It’s a real-world application of what Deaf and hearing integration looks like.” The show ran in December of 2016 to much audience acclaim and success.

We believe an actor’s training never truly ends—one needs to regularly explore and expand their knowledge base to adapt to new art forms and our ever-changing world. The Youth Project allows us to work with actors at the beginning of their career and our goal is to provide a myriad of ways in which this programming will shape not only our artistic vision but also our greater community.

Youth Project -1

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