ETC's Devising Hope brings together two unlikely groups of people who find shared struggles and break down perceptions to create dynamite theatre.
ETC’s newest program, Devising Hope, joins local high schoolers and men and women experiencing homelessness, creating a unique ensemble and force for creativity and collaboration.
Each rehearsal starts off with a prompt such as a poem, a word, or a game. This prompt acts as a catalyst for collaborative discussion of their their dreams, hopes, and frustrations. The ensemble then breaks into smaller groups, where stories can be shared in a more intimate setting of one or two listeners. The conversations are recorded and sent to the group later, so that everyone stays connected. The ensemble works together to turn their personal stories into scenes and monologues and finally perform them in a public staged reading.
The current ensemble is made up of students from Wilson High School and men and women from Street Sense, a program offering economic opportunities for people experiencing homelessness in our community.
ETC teaching artist and founding member Elizabeth Kitsos-Kang created Devising Hope, and is continually inspired by these two communities and how they connect to each other, through sharing experiences of triumphs and losses. Kitsos-Kang describes it as “powerful,” how the participants from Street Sense and Wilson High come together to form “one strong community.”
How do these varied communities come together to form such a strong collaboration? It’s all about the connections. “I think the men and women from Street Sense and the students from Wilson are willing to let go... to find themselves in the creative process, and find connections with each other.” Together, they create a safe space where they can talk openly about their past struggles and current hopes without judgement. Kitsos-Kang believes that both communities are similar in how the individuals both feel misunderstood. “There are perceptions about both communities that are simply not true, but often assumed. So I felt that they could relate to each other in that way.”
Devising Hope offers these adults an opportunity to mentor teens in the community. And it offers students an intimate window into the issue of homelessness and the people it impacts. Devising Hope participants are using their own stories combined with the transformative power of performing arts to challenge stereotypes and humanize myths. And the best part is that they’re doing it together.
You can check out the Devising Hope performance at:
April 12th Woodrow Wilson High School, 7:00PM
April 13th Street Sense: The Church of Epiphany, 7:00PM
Both Performances are free with a suggested donation of $5
Interested in getting involved? Check back for info on Devising Hope's Summer Intensive.