I AM THEATRE: Torange Yeghiazarian

I was always afraid of working with children
in theatre because I think they’re the toughest audience. But I had an opportunity to teach 4th graders
theatre. It was a special program that combined social studies and theatre and the theme that
year was immigration. And the class was full of kids from immigrant families, of different
backgrounds. So I encouraged them to interview their grandparents and their parents and come
and present it in the class and we combined those stories into a performance. I told them about my background and the way
I grow up and my crazy family and they felt comfortable talking about their crazy families
and it actually became a very fun show. And watching that performance I realized how important
it is for the kids to really claim their identity and be proud of it and be able to speak about
it. Especially with the Middle East, the kids are bombarded with a lot of negative stereotypes
that are thrown at them about the countries that they come from and they feel ashamed
to talk about their families and their backgrounds. So after a while they forget these stories
and these are very important stories. So the act of telling these stories, actually
gives values to the kids identity. This is something that theatre allows. It gives us
permission to talk about who we are and it helps us come to terms with it for ourselves
and also present it to others. I am Torange Yeghiazarian and I AM THEATRE.

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