Erin McCready

Brooklyn Youth Company
Transcending Obstacles
Artistic Discipline: Performing ArtsTheater
Category: Local Arts SupportBrooklyn Arts Fund
Grant Year: 2020
Location: Park Slope

Brooklyn Youth Company’s (BYC) mission is to empower young artists; and believes that the intensive artistic development of these young artists will greatly benefit their communities. The initiative will teach young artists to tell their own stories, create characters and overcome obstacles based on their life experiences, and explore content that is relative to them. BYC believes that young artists become a powerful force when they learn how to craft their own material, and that their communities are enriched by the amplification of these under-heard, under-served voices. The work invites the community to recognize and celebrate the creativity and humanity of young people.

Transcending Obstacles is the theme of BYC Summer 2020 Arts Intensive. The objective of the 5-week program is to develop the artistic and technical abilities of young artists ages 10 to 18 and collectively devise a theatrical performance.

Divided into three phases, Summer Arts Intensive begins with creative capacity building workshops in all aspects of theatre-making, facilitated by Erin McCready (BYC’s Artistic Director) and other guest artists. BYC will incorporate artistic field trips exploring the theme of obstacles. The final product will be a devised piece of theatre that is collaboratively developed and created by BYC’s young artists, which will then be produced and performed in front of a community audience. The three phases are Exploring, Synthesizing, and Transcending.

In Phase I, BYC’s young artists will engage in a series of creative capacity workshops designed through the lens of obstacles. These workshops in acting, writing, directing, and staging will take place at The Black Lady Theatre. These workshops will allow BYC’s young artists the ability to begin devising their own scenes and monologues. This Phase will also be supplemented by cultural field trips to locations including the Tenement Museum and the African Burial Ground in New York. These trips will also be viewed through the lens of “obstacles”, thereby affording BYC’s young artists with insights on autobiography and historical contexts.

In Phase II, BYC’s young artists will synthesize a work of theatre based on the obstacles they face in the world today, drawing inspiration from field trips, workshops and their personal connections to transcending obstacles. The final work may include scenes, dialogues, movement pieces, songs, poetry, filmed projections and other artistic elements. BYC will also attend live performances, both on- and off-Broadway, that align with the theme of Transcending Obstacles.

Phase III will encompass the physical devising of the theatre work, using the theme, Transcending Obstacles to make artists’ choices about staging, blocking and design. Guided through the lens of obstacles, BYC’s young artists will learn the skills necessary to take their original work from page to stage and produce a piece of theatre for an audience. At the end of the session, BYC will put on a community performance of its devised play, having directed, produced, and stage managed the show themselves. The performances will take place at The Black Lady Theatre’s Main Stage.