Pearl Cleage Kicks Off 4th Collision Project for Teens, Based on THE GRAPES OF WRATH Today
Twenty students gathered at the Alliance Theatre today to begin the thirteenth annual Collision Project. This diverse group of teenagers from around the metro Atlanta area will explore a classic text under the guidance of a professional playwright. The Pulitzer Prize winning American realist novel The Grapes of Wrath will serve as the source text that will inspire a new performance piece developed by the students. Under the guidance of the Alliance Theatre's Mellon Playwright in Residence, best-selling author, Pearl Cleage, students will explore John Steinbeck's themes of home, family, environment, and income inequality and examine how these themes are manifested in modern times.
"This quintessential American novel provides so many opportunities for real dialogue around issues that continue to wound our country. I cannot wait to hear what these young artists create out of this experience and what they'll teach us throughout the journey," said Christopher Moses, Alliance Theatre Director of Educational Programming.
"The images of desperate poverty are so dramatic that readers often overlook the environmental aspects of the novel," said Alliance Playwright in Residence, Pearl Cleage, who is looking forward to leading her fourth Collision experience. "With the environment and climate change in the news so often, we thought the book's depiction of the Dust Bowl that devastated the American Plains States might give us an interesting way to connect our past to our present day challenges."
Each year, the Alliance assembles an impressive group of guest speakers and artists to work with the students on writing and performance exercises leading up to the development of the final production. This year, special guests include singer/songwriter Doria Roberts, musician and performer, Bryan Mercer, and dance instructor, Mama YeYe.
Through improvisational exercises, oral history, choreography, and each student's own talents and skills, the participants will create a new theatrical piece inspired by the Steinbeck classic, but perceived and shared through their own unique and contemporary experience and told entirely through their own creative writing. They will present two free public performances of their original play developed during the three week intensive.
The Alliance hosts open interviews each year, calling for students "who have something to say and the desire to say it." The ensemble of the Collision Project is made up of actors, singers, dancers, writers, directors, and techies. Any high school student, regardless of experience, is invited to interview to become a part of this project.
ALLIANCE THEATRE COLLISION PROJECT PUBLIC PERFORMANCES:
- WHEN: July 11 & 12, 2014
- Friday, July 11, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, July 12, 2:30 p.m.
- WHERE: Hertz Stage at the Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
- RSVP for free tickets: Collision.Project@woodruffcenter.org or 404.733.4749
STUDENTS CHOSEN TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS YEAR'S COLLISION PROJECT ARE:
- Adia J. Barlow - Whitewater High School, Fayette County Public Schools
- Eric Baylot - Meadowcreek High School, Gwinnett County Public Schools
- Johnathan Berry - Archer High School, Gwinnett County Public Schools
- Lucy Brooks - Chattahoochee High School, Fulton County Schools
- Tori Budden - North Springs High School, Fulton County Schools
- Kaya Camp - TriCities High School, Fulton County Schools
- Gloria Clark - Decatur High School, City Schools of Decatur
- Charles Ellerby Jr. - TriCities High School, Fulton County Schools
- Torreke Evans - Carver School of the Arts, Atlanta Public Schools
- Rachel Holbrook - South Cobb High School, Cobb County School District
- Chelsea Jackson - Southwest DeKalb High School, DeKalb County Schools
- Agustin Jimenez - North Atlanta High School, Atlanta Public Schools
- Nubia Livermore - Home-Schooled, Douglas County Home-Schooled System
- Sondai NaNaBuluku - Chapel Hill High School, Douglas County Schools
- Johnathan Nguyen - Berkmar High School, Gwinnett County Public Schools
- Munina Nicol - Meadowcreek High School, Gwinnett County Public Schools
- Emma Nigut - Atlanta International School
- Alishia Patricio - South Paulding High School, Paulding County School District
- Joanelle Polk - Miller Grove High School, DeKalb County Schools
- Victoria Rexhausen - Mill Creek High School, Gwinnett County Public Schools
About The Alliance Theatre: Founded in 1968, the Alliance Theatre has become the lead producing theatre in the Southeast, creating the powerful experience of shared theatre for diverse people on two stages. The Alliance values excellence, pursued with integrity and creativity, and achieved through collaboration. Reaching more than 200,000 patrons annually, the Alliance delivers powerful programming that challenges adult and youth audiences to think critically and care deeply. Under the leadership of Susan V. Booth, Jennings Hertz Artistic Director, the Alliance Theatre received the Regional Theatre Tony Award in recognition of sustained excellence in programming, education and community engagement.
Known for its high artistic standards and national role in creating significant theatrical works, the Alliance has premiered more than 70 original productions including Tony Award winners "The Color Purple," by Alice Walker, "Aida," by Elton John and Tim Rice, and Alfred Uhry's "The Last Night of Ballyhoo." The Alliance has a reputation for developing important American musicals with a strong track record of Broadway, touring, and subsequent productions including the world premieres of "Sister Act: The Musical," Tony nominee "Bring It On: The Musical" and Stephen King and John Mellencamp's "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County." The Alliance also creates and nurtures the careers of playwrights through the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, producing a premiere for the competition winner as part of the regular season with national networking opportunities for four finalists. The works produced by the Alliance allow locally based artists the chance to create on a nationally watched stage, building and sustaining Atlanta's artistic community.
Each year, the Alliance Theatre Acting Program and Education Department reaches close to 50,000 students through performances, acting classes, drama camps, and in-school initiatives. The Alliance creates and produces plays for young audiences at every age level: from the Collision Project, where high school artists create and perform new work based on a classic text, to the ground breaking Theatre for the Very Young, creating interactive shows for infants and toddlers. The Alliance also offers community education classes for all ages and abilities of theatre interest; and adult student productions of unproduced plays in development, working with local and national playwrights.
An active participant in Georgia classrooms, the Alliance has developed programs using theatrical techniques to aid in student learning through storytelling and problem solving. The Alliance Theatre Institute for Educators and Teaching Artists equips teachers with theatrical techniques that link directly to school curriculum, align with the Georgia Performance Standards, and increase student learning. Other programs include GA Wolf Trap, a nationally recognized professional learning program that focuses on literacy skills for children in Pre-K - 2nd Grade, and Dramaturgy K-12, a unique program that empowers students to create research material that both informs Alliance productions and prepares peer audiences. Twice recognized by the Federal Department of Education as leaders in the field of arts education, these programs reflect the Alliance's commitment to city wide arts access.
The Alliance continuously delivers the finest talent, art and educational opportunities for Atlanta audiences-proving once again that the Alliance is where great theatre lives. For more information, visit www.alliancetheatre.org or call 404.733.4650.