The main goal of NEW PLATFORMS is to offer deeper engagement for the kids of the Project. We also wish to offer to those kids, for whom theater is not the most natural of outlets, a means of increasing their self-esteem, their literacy (both visual and verbal) and their appreciation for the arts. NEW PLATFORMS also offers an opportunity for the Project teens to take on responsibility and a sense of ownership for the new, expanded space. It is a priority of the Project in our new space that these children and their families feel as though their home at The 52nd Street Project remains. The employment and mentoring opportunities for the teens will not only occupy the teens’ after school hours, but will help fortify their participation in this community.
NEW PLATFORMS units, like our Playmaking classes, take place either over a series of 4 to 8 weeks or in a one week intensive workshop during school vacations, led by a main teacher and assisted by adult volunteers. They are connected to the on-going theater programming, but offer other avenues for story-telling; other ways of expanding one’s connection to one’s education; and increased means of self-expression. Like our theatrical programming, each NEW PLATFORM unit also results in a public presentation (such as a gallery show of set designs or a distribution of a publication of written work to theatergoers) or a performance in the theater (such as a stage combat or spoken word performance).
NEW PLATFORMS also includes a teen employment program and mentoring opportunities for the Project teens. The new theater is staffed with Project teens working as ushers and house managers, as well as concessionaires. They also continue to be employed, as they have been for years, as receptionists after school and mentoring younger kids in programs that they have already completed, such as Playmaking or Replay. Teens are paid to attend one-time seminars regarding team building and professional conduct.
Some NEW PLATFORMS units include:
- Video Journalism
- Magazine Publishing
- Spoken Word Performance
- Stage Combat
- Theatrical Design