Seattle Musical Theatre Joins Solid Ground and Theater of Possibility for New Youth Program

Seattle Musical Theatre Joins Solid Ground and Theater of Possibility for New Youth Program

Seattle Musical Theatre has teamed up with local organizations Solid Ground and Theater of Possibility to create a brand new summer youth theater program for kids and tweens living in Solid Ground housing at Magnuson Park. After a six week program with professional teaching artists, the students are presenting a showcase of interactive theater games and improvisation exercises to be shared with family and friends in the audience. The student showcase will be presented at SMT's theater at the end of July.

This summer's pilot summer program is specifically geared towards students who may have experienced trauma or especially challenging circumstances in their lives, such as the loss of a parent or homelessness. Students have had the opportunity to practice acting, improvisation, playwriting, and, most importantly, collaboration.

"The primary focus is on creativity and collaboration," says Lauren Marshall, founder of Theater of Possibility. "I want the students to gain confidence in their creative instincts and trust in the value of their ideas and self-expression. Some of these kids were very inhibited at first. I feel such joy when I see them starting to come up with ideas and daring to try them out in front of their peers. I want them also to experience the power of collaboration, namely, that together we can create something greater than any one of us can create alone. Being able to work with others is one of the most valuable tools that theater education can offer for real life success."

A produced and published playwright, Marshall obtained undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford and an M.F.A. in Music Theatre writing from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. She served as Co-Artistic Director and Producing Artistic Director of Seattle Public Theater in the late 1990s, and also co-developed the theater's educational programs. Theater of Possibility, now entering its 5th year, uses applied theater techniques to practice relationships skills for youth, including those with Asperger's, autism, ADHD, and other learning differences, as well as their typically developing peers.

Each year more than 55,000 King County residents come to Solid Ground to address urgent food, housing, and transportation needs and build skills to overcome poverty and thrive. Through 40 years of innovation, partnership and action, the organization has helped create many of our community's most effective anti-poverty programs, including ConnectUp, Lettuce Link, Statewide Poverty Action Network, and the Sand Point Housing campus, where 175 households are living in permanent and transitional housing just down the road from SMT's theater.

"Solid Ground works to undo racism and other oppressions that perpetuate poverty," said Gordon McHenry, Jr., President and CEO. "Theatre of Possibility offers a profound experience and supports young people to claim their own voice and power."

The mission of Seattle Musical Theatre is to engage and entertain Seattle's community by producing new and traditional musicals. The theater nurtures local talent by providing training and artistic development opportunities for children, youth, and adults from all walks of life. SMT's vision is to enrich the entertainment and educational value of live theater in the Northwest region; provide a premiere environment for nurturing artistic and technical talent; and develop the Magnuson Park theater facility as a key cultural resource for civic, arts, and other community organizations. SMT at all times will strive to demonstrate and inspire the following values among the Board of Directors, staff, artists, volunteers, patrons, and donors.

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