For the past few months at the UNP Hartland Partnership Center, four University of Utah Theatre Teaching students lead by Kelby McIntyre-Martinez worked with the Hartland Youth Center to put together a social action theatre piece, “We are Hartland!” The goal of the performance was to share youth hopes and dreams with the broader community.
On Tuesday evenings, we met with the youth at Hartland to teach them theatre skills such as projection (using a loud and clear voice), being in control of their voices and bodies while on stage, facing toward the audience, smiling and always giving 100% effort. We had fun dancing and playing theatre games with the youth while adding a different piece of the performance every week.
In small groups, the youth shared with us the dreams they have for their futures, the dreams they have for their families, and the dreams they have for their world. Some examples were to play professional soccer, to go to college, to buy houses for their moms, to be kind, to give back to the community, and to help others. The youth used Tableaux, which is a frozen picture that represents a story, to express their dreams in the performance. The Youth studied the words of Dr. Martin Luther King in his famous speech “I Have a Dream” and recited phrases from it with movement during the performance.
On the day of the performance you could feel the excitement and jitters in the room as we practiced our piece at the Sorenson Unity Center before the show. Once the youth came out on stage in their bright matching Hartland t-shirts, you could feel the energy and the love as they recited, “We are Hartland bright and fun, watch out world ‘cuz here we come!” The audience participated in our dance routines by clapping with us and even shared their hopes and dreams after the performance! The Hartland Youth had so much fun performing in front of their fellow students and the community. They really shined! Hopefully they will be able to take the skills they learned and use them to shine in all aspects of their life.
Content provided by Carly Taylor, University of Utah Theatre Teaching student.