As the summer begins to wind down, we want to highlight another successful season of PYD’s Access to Theatre Summer Institute! The Access to Theatre (ATT) Summer Institute brings together youth of all abilities between the ages of 13-24 to create original theater productions complete with stories, movement, music, improvization, and visual art in collaboration with area professional artists, developing everything from the dialogue to the sets and costumes.
This year, the Summer Institute ran from July 19 through July 31. “Fitting In, Breaking Out” explored concrete and abstract concepts of windows and doors, and the season culminated in performances on Friday, July 31 in the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts.
“ATT was a wonderful experience” said Matthew Jameson, one of the participants in this summer’s production. “It exposed me to new things and took me out of my comfort zone, which, for me, is rare but thrilling.” His mother, Leslie Jameson, reflected that “For my son [Matthew], Summer ATT was 2 weeks filled with rewarding experiences and amazing people that he will never forget!”
The goal of ATT is to allow youth to express themselves creatively through different artistic modes while developing self-esteem, friendships, and leadership skills along the way. “Magical” was how mentor Jamie Wellington described the performance which was free and open to the public, audio described, wheelchair-accessible, and ASL-interpreted.
The experience was no less thrilling for Deep Chinappa, Artistic Director of the program for the past 14 years. “…I realized that we can build a team around the youth to help support and realize their true talents. My emphasis to the Artistic staff was the show is primarily about the young people’s daily challenges but by coming together as a group they can share, support, explore their talents, and to be able to own the stage for the first time with their creative strengths. I enjoyed working with, supporting, and encouraging the artistic staff in creative ways to build a stage around recycled material, sound production, and seeing them create an original production with the young people to showcase all their talents to all their friends and family to appreciate their talents.”
We applaud everyone involved and are excited to see what next year’s ATT Summer Institute brings!