PLEASE JOIN ME TO MAKE ART THAT TEACHES! I'm raising money to benefit BAYFEST Youth Theatre's new“One World, One Story” initiative, which will be led by BAYFEST Director Robert Shampain for the next several years in our home base of Seattle, Washington and in countries from Asia to Europe. A donation of any amount will help make a real impact. Thanks in advance for your contribution to this project that means so much to us!
Our History, in brief: Now based in Seattle, Washington, BAYFEST Youth Theatre has been worked with thousands of young people since 1990, from around the US, UK and other foreign locations in schools and in our summer intensives.
"About BAYFEST" video: general overview of our work, including fall, 2018's "Teen Stories" project.
We focus on under-resourced schools and areas, and always have Equity and Social Justice as embedded goals in all the work we do. We also provide professional development trainings for K-12 teachers on using drama, movement and kinesthetic learning techniques to turbo-charge their curriculum, keep joy in the classroom, and reach all learners.
Our goal is to build our participants' imagination, physical, verbal and communications skills, as well as their flexibility – their ability to succeed in all situations. As we say, “Drama training is training for Life.”
BAYFEST Founder/Director Robert Shampain is heading up"One World, One Story”, focussing on teens and their stories. Much more information about BAYFEST, including more videos and pictures, can be found at www.BAYFESTyouthTheatre.org
The Back Story, from Robert For almost 30 years, I have taught and directed with adolescents (an age group I particularly love to work with) through BAYFEST and many, many schools and youth groups around the US and UK.
One clear thing I have learned is that the whole concept of “teenager” – a recent and largely American invention – can be an extremely sharp and double-edged sword for many of the wonderful young people we interact with, who come from unbelievably diverse backgrounds. On one hand, they are not expected to go from childhood directly to work, marriage and adult responsibilities in their pre- or early-teen years as still happens in many parts of the world; on the other hand they often feel that their personal stories are not 'being heard', and they are often not given clear cultural narratives that teach the values and important lessons they need to successfully navigate these years of profound change and growth. This is still a serious issue in many American communities that is recognized by parents and teachers alike, and leads all-too often to depression and under-performance in and out of school.
The chance to really dive deep into this connection between our adolescent participants' own stories and traditional 'growing-up' tales from many cultures is what "One World, One Story" is all about. Stories around the world teach exactly the lessons we want to affirm – how to live life well in a community, how to cope with the inevitable stresses and difficult situations in the course of growing up, and how to make strong and positive choices as teens become adults.
And we know from long experience that valuing, sharing, and listening to teens' voices is profoundly empowering for them.
The Plan: One of the key elements of this project is working with teens in other countries – sharing with them stories, writing and video from our Seattle-area youth, and collecting their stories and ones from their cultures to bring back to create a “One World, One Story” gallery show -- with photography, video and student art and writing --- and staged performances in schools and public venues that will tie together many of the stories.
To do this, my wife (also a teacher) and I are fulfilling a dream we’ve had for many years — to travel around the world with our kids (10 and 12) during the 2019/2020 school year, learning about different cultures and working with groups of students and teachers as we go. She will be focussing on a subject that is very close to her heart — how STEM subjects, especially around climate change, are taught to early-primary students in different countries – in order to bring back information and best practices to share with other teachers in the early-primary years.
And I will be focussed on teens, as we travel in China, Nepal, India, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and England. We already have well-established connections at schools in 7 of the countries we will visit, and we are making more.
Working with groups of 10–15 students at each school, I will conduct fun and active drama workshops, show video of their American counterparts talking about their lives, performing and interacting with friends and family – and ask how they think these compare with their own lives. After we get to know each other a little, a few will be chosen who are willing to welcome us into their lives a bit more deeply.
Through video storytelling, students will share about their personal lives and in a number of areas that are universal and break cultural boundaries, including ‘home’, ‘school’, ‘play’, ‘mother’, ‘breakfast’. We will meet their families, teachers and friends, and capture what being an adolescent means to them.
The goal of "One World, One Story" is to show how, although separated by distance and culture, the path from child to adult for young people around the world is actually more similar than different, and valuable lessons can be shared between cultures.
The Funds: The funds raised through this GoFundMe campaign will only be used for activities directly related to working with kids in the countries we will visit – we will keep strict and public records of this, and are happy to share a detailed budget if you are interested.
More Info: During our travels, we will be blogging, both on a family site and on the BAYFESTyouthTheatre.com website, so that all our supporters will be kept informed!
If you would like to read what teens have said about working with BAYFEST: