Theatre for Young Audiences

♪ [upbeat music] (Rose Portillo) So we’re going to do — [young adults chanting] (Dulce Cabrales-Cid) Theatre
for Young Audiences is a lot different program than most theater classes
that we have here in that we have more
community engagement where we go to high schools in Pomona
and help kids put on theater, which is a program they don’t
normally have at their high school. And so by the end of
a year-long course, we put on a play for a final project. [young adults chanting] (Portillo) So the college students
are known as mentors. The school we engage with
is in the city of Pomona, Fremont Academy. It was a middle school and now it has grown into
a middle and high school. So we have grown together. It actually should be called
Theatre with Young Audiences. So it’s a program in which
the college students learn how to create original theater with middle and high school students. On a much deeper level, it’s about forming community and engaging with community, building community with youth,
with young people. (Mateo Santos) I’ve been involved
with TYA since my freshman year. I joined during the second semester and ever since then, I’ve loved it. It was amazing. That was literally the only thing I looked
forward to during the week. (Cabrales-Cid) When we first met them, it’s a little bit more just like
trying to gain their trust. So we are put in
different mentor groups and different mentors
include different groups of students. And I feel like a lot — it took a long time to gain their trust and that they actually
saw you as a mentor versus as someone,
like, more transient. (Silvana Rodriguez) When I was
in the program as a student, the mentors were cool and they became our friends quickly. Those mentors care a lot and they were willing
to be our friends and they were willing to, have conversations with us. And that’s why I kept coming back, because the mentors
were always so willing to, you know, talk with us
and work with us. And I think that’s
why I still come back because I’m willing to
work with the students and to help them have
the best experience that I had. (Santos) Last year, one of the
students was soft-spoken all year, even during rehearsals, so we were kinda like,
“Okay, like, you got this. Don’t worry.” And onstage,
she really surprised me because she raised
her voice at me, in character as well, so I was just like, “Whoa!”
I almost broke character because I was just like,
“That was amazing!” I wanted to give her
a high five on stage. (Portillo) They refer to the fact
that they have a voice now, that they can express themselves. They will often use the term
“I’m not shy anymore.” So confidence and self-esteem, all the things that we hope
will build character, is there, but I think beyond that is that they feel they can
speak for themselves in a fun, expressive way. (Santos) I’ve learned how
to be confident with myself and I see myself grow
as a person in who I am. (Cabrales-Cid) Given how
their dedication shows more in all these rehearsals, I feel like I’m — I feel so impressed by them and how they’re coming
through all these odds to be able to do something like this, how it’s not available to them, and how much they really enjoy it. They put their whole heart into it and I wish I had that
when I was in high school.


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