Creative Writing-Performance-Visual Art-History
Combating Bullying, Anti-Semitism, Racism, Refugee Crisis
Aligned to Common Core Learning Standards-in school workshops
September-November 2019, Upstate, NY & February-May 2020, NYC
Due to the overwhelming success of 73 Voice Theatre Anti-Bullying Workshops implemented from 2015 – 2018 in the U.S. and over 77 workshops of The Legacy Project in the U.K., Germany, France and the U.S., Voice Theatre is creating new interactive workshops to combat bullying, racism, define the meaning of home and examine the refugee crisis.
“Two years ago, Voice Theatre came to do a theater residency with us for the first time. Students who were usually reluctant to read or write or take part in classroom discussions suddenly opened up and became engaged. One student who had been hostile at best became a model student, showing a flair for improvisation. Another student wrote a full-length play. Another student wrote about her life experiences; she became the first person in her family to graduate high school. These are only three examples of the many dramatic (pun intended!) changes in my students, all due to the Voice Theatre workshops and performances.”
Bethany Goldpaugh, Teacher – Kingston HS, Kingston, NY
Using improvisation, theatre games, creative writing, visual art and research materials students examine the economic, cultural, political and historical factors that influenced German teenagers from 1933-1939 and what life was like for todays’ refugee students before they left their country. U.S. students write monologues based on their experiences of home, racism, discrimination and bullying; undocumented, unaccompanied refugee students write monologues focusing on why they had to leave their homes.
Before both groups meet they discuss and improvise the original monologues from both populations. Art work may also be utilized to express student stories, questions, fears and beliefs, and will be exhibited in the theatre lobby.
Selected monologues are then performed by students and Voice Theatre actors in post-performance workshops of the play, Legacy, a fast-paced music theatre piece based on a true story of an American who rescues a Jewish family out of Berlin, punctuated by the true stories of todays’ refugee children.
Our goal is for students to see each other as individuals rather than “refugees” or “Americans” or “the other”. To develop the skills of listening, empathy and respect for differing viewpoints and cultures. To see that our power is not in hating but in the acceptance of our multi-ethnic richness.
Legacy unravels as a young American girl unearths the true story of her father’s cowardice and courage. Based on events from the playwright’s life, this suspenseful story focuses on our theme: one person can make a difference. Floor to ceiling archival photographs, live original Klezmer music and the uniquely stylized ensemble techniques of Voice Theatre heighten the theatre experience.
Introduction: Session I
In separate sessions, American and refugee students meet Voice Theatre’s Teaching Artists and translators. The scope of the project is introduced and the themes of Legacy, bullying, racism, home and “the other” explored. Students will begin to share their reactions to Legacy and its themes.
Writing, Performance, Visual Art: Sessions II-VI
Voice Theatre’s Teaching Artists will implement creative writing, drawing, improvisation, role-playing and theatre games as students write monologues based on their own experiences of home, leaving home, racism and bullying. Students also examine what life was like for German teenagers from 1933-1939 and refugee students tell their stories of what life was like for them before they had to leave their country. Workshops give an overview of the economic, cultural, political and historical factors that influenced German teenagers from 1933-1939 and the economic overview is examined that led to why refugee participants had to flee their country. Students reflect on how the play mirrors their present reality. All students meet and share their monologues during school hours.
Selected students are guided to create visual images in the mediums of paint or pencil of their own homes or images based on the play, Legacy. Selected works are exhibited in the theatre lobby during Legacy performances.
Performance & Post-Performance Workshop + Wrap-up VII & VIII
All students attend a performance of Legacy. Students participate in a post-performance workshop where their original monologues are read by themselves, fellow students and the actors of the Voice Theatre ensemble.
Schools that have participated in The Legacy Project
New York City:
Seward Park High School, 10th grade
Washington Irving High School, 12th grade
Bayard Ruston High School for the Humanities, 10th grade
Chelsea High School, 10th grade
University Neighborhood High School, 9th grade
Detroit Inner City:
Western International High School, 11th grade
Cass Technical High School, 11th grade
Mumford High School, 11th grade
North Farmington High School, 11th grade
Renaissance High School, 11th grade
Hartcliffe High School, Bristol, England, 10th grade
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Bristol, England, college level
City & Westminster College, London, England, college level
Middlesex University, Cockfosters, London, England, college level
Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, Scotland, college level
Georges Lapierre High School, Bordeaux, 10th grade
Helena Lange Schule, Hannover, 11th grade
In 1995, in cooperation with The Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Bristol, UK Voice Theatre produced Legacy.
Due to the unique compatibility of the educational workshops and theatre performance, The Legacy Project was one out of five projects chosen from 358 submissions from the UK to be sponsored by the European Commission in The 1997 Year to Combat Racism. Invited by the Cultural Ministry of Hanover, (Kulturamt der Hannover), the Bordeaux-Bristol Association, The Resistance Museum, (Centre National Jean Moulin) and SOS-Racisme, Legacy was presented and the integral educational workshops of The Legacy Project took place in Germany, France, in London at the Cockpit Theatre and then in New York City in 2003 under the title, The Gift. In NYC, we worked with five high schools implementing The Legacy Project. In 2011, Legacy was produced at the Bermann Center for the Arts, West Bloomfield, MI. Voice Theatre conducted 36 workshops in 6 inner city Detroit high schools.
Lufthansa, The Acacia Foundation, Association of Jewish Refugees, Lord Ashdown Charitable Trust, Avon International Education, Andrew Balint Foundation, Bristol City Council, The British Council, (London, Koln, Berlin), D’Avigador Goldsmid Trusts, The European Commission, 45’ Aid Society, Greater Bristol Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Kulturamt der Hannover, Stadtsparkasse Hannover, Kessler Foundation, Lex Foundation, Niedersachsische Sparkassenstiftung, 1970 Trust, Pollitzer Foundation, Harry Ree Foundation, Spielman Charitable Trust, City of Westminster Foundation. Michigan Council for the Arts, the Skillman Foundation, Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, the NYC Board of Education, The WAWA Foundation.