Long Wharf Theatre to Host Urban Suburban Project 5/20

Long Wharf Theatre's Education Department has embarked on its second Urban-Suburban project, a unique partnership between schools in Ansonia and New Haven that culminates in a year-end performance written, performed and produced by the students.

The performance will take place Thursday, May 20 at 7 p.m.

Approximately 50 students from New Haven's High School in the Community, and Ansonia's Emmett O'Brien Vocational Technical High School, led by Deb Hare in New Haven and Mary Parady in Ansonia, participate in the program. The theatre has created custom-tailored residencies at each school to work on literary techniques both in writing and analysis. These monologues and scenes have now been compiled into a play entitled "Silence" and surround the theme of bullying in schools.

The Urban-Suburban theatre exchange is dedicated to providing career and life skills for participating students; to enhancing classroom curriculum and student achievement; as well as to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations, and supporting equitable school experiences for our region's children.

The performance is the product of a year-long collaboration between classes at the respective schools. Two very different high school cultures will get to know one another through the creation of these plays. In addition to the practical skills the students learned through the theatrical art - the skills of organization, self-expression, and leadership - students also became more empathetic and sensitive to different types of life experiences. "If last year is any gauge, friendships will be formed and continue after the program ended," said Annie DiMartino, director of education.

The process of creating the monologues and scenes that will be performed begins with a series of workshops led by DiMartino. Using guided writing prompts, students will express themselves about their hopes and dreams, and their unique perspectives on the world. The raw information will then be swapped with the sister school and students were asked to write from the opposite perspective - Ansonia kids writing about life in urban New Haven and New Haven students examining middle-class Ansonia.

In addition, students will be exposed to the mechanics of production, learning everything from marketing to production design in conjunction with their show.

For tickets, call DiMartino at 203-772-8271.

For more information about Long Wharf Theatre, call 203-787-4282 or visit www.longwharf.org.

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