The World Is A Stage – Flint Youth Theatre http://www.thefyt.org
The theater’s staff and its young participants are taking their talents into the community, part-nering with area organizations in many differ-ent ways. It is part of FYT’s mission to present community-based, socially engaged work that speaks directly to the needs and issues facing local residents. These collaborations “show our students that theater can be so much more than a work performed on stage, but (also) is a medium to connect with their communities and find com-monalities they may not have realized were there,” said Jeremy Winchester, FYT’s Executive Artistic Director. FYT teamed up with the Flint Jewish Federation last spring for its performances of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” The federation was the Build-ing Bridges Community Partner for the show’s run, a Ruth Mott Foundation-sponsored pro-gram that paired performances with educational events for children and audience discussion with cast and crew members and a foundation repre-sentative after the performances. The FYT also did a staged reading of a portion of “The Diary of Anne Frank” at Flint’s Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony. In March, FYT students helped transform the Riverfront Banquet Center in Flint into The Wizard of Oz for the Hurley Foundation’s 35th Annual Benefit Ball. They also lend their talents to handling lighting during Flint Institute of Music events. FYT, celebrating its 60th year this year, has a long history of community collaboration. It traces its roots back to a 1953 Children’s Theater Workshop for classroom teachers, sponsored by the Mott Foundation, the Junior League of Flint and Flint Community Players, according to a Mott Foundation news release about FYT. Those community efforts benefit not only the organizations, but also the students themselves. “FYT teaches a student how to craft an effective performance onstage before an audience and in the process teaches confidence, self-expression, improved social skills, empathy, respect, and commitment,” Winchester said. FYT’s most recent production is aimed at addressing stereotypes about Flint.
The original play, “The Most (Blank) City in America,” was created in collaboration with community members over the past year and examines conceptions and misconceptions about Flint. It asks questions about the words we hear, use and would like to see used to describe the city of Flint.
Theater staff hosted a community symposium after the play’s final performance on May 1 to discuss ways in which local and visiting artists can partner with Flint-based organizations and civic leaders to provide opportunities for dialogue and healing in light of the
ongoing Flint water crisis. The project was developed by Flint Youth Theatre’s Playwright-in-Residence, Andrew Morton, along with a team of artists from Flint Youth Theatre, Raise it Up! Youth Arts & Awareness, and Tapology.
For more information about the
Flint Youth Theater, visit www.thefyt.org