In 2014, after attending my first Youth Leadership Forum, Deep introduced me to PYD’s Access To Theatre (ATT) program, where young adults ages 13 to 24 with and without disabilities express themselves through the use of movement and the arts. When I first attended, I didn’t know quite what to expect. I’ve been involved in theatre in one way or another through my middle school or high school, but never with a full group of people with disabilities.
What I soon discovered, however, was that it was among one of the most important and transformative experiences of my life so far. The people I met were really nice, very welcoming, and encouraging of others to express themselves in however way they want. In fact, I came up with the name of the show that year, “Mission Im-boxable”, which every single person voted for. It was amazing to me, and I felt like my voice was really heard within this community in particular. The following year, I did not return to ATT because of a difference in timing and wanting to have a different focus for my summer that year.
This summer, after 2 years away, I return once again to the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama. I went into the open and echo-y space almost with a rush of deja vu, because I did it for so many days the last time I was there, and it felt really good to be back. We all gathered in a circle in the middle of the space and began our first day with early morning artistic exercises that consisted of creative movement such as stretching from side to side, shaking your arms, legs, hips, and what not, and walking around in different ways before freezing. Afterwards, Dell who is a volunteer mentor musician, lead a rhythm and beat exercise with each of the participants using instruments to work and ignite our “active listening” abilities.
At the end of each session, we gather once again around the circle and do what’s known as “rose and thorn” which is to share with the group a highlight of the day’s activities and/or a challenge that can be improved upon for next time, or shared so other people can be aware.
Right now, going into the second week of the program, we are quickly gaining traction forming this year’s show, as of right now we haven’t decided on a name as of yet, but there will be separate announcements to come of what that will be (gotta keep some stuff secret, right?).
Please join us on Friday, 7/29 at 1pm and 6pm for the performances! Here’s more information on the performances.