Sunday, August 30, 2009
That's right people, AWOL has finally dubbed the hip hop play with a real program name, ACT UP! We also have a new bad chick to run this thing, Ms. Lakesha Green our new Theater Director. This is going to be an awesome year. This program in particular (Theater and Performing Arts) is near and dear to us. The TP program was the program that enabled us to get our first contract with the City of Savannah (Big Ups to Mayor Johnson and the City Council) for $43,000 bucks!
Prior to that contract we were armed with a $850 dollar GAP (Grassroots Arts Program) grant from the Cities Cultural Affairs Department. With that small investment we were able to create an entire youth theater empire right here in Savannah, GA. I would also add, this was our very first grant award. Boy were we excited, $850 DOLLARS! WOW!
Hay, don't laugh! Before that grant we were accustomed to doing something with nothing, so that $850 bucks went a along way folks. Me and Tony even matched it with a nice donation of $1000 or our own dollars. yeah...this is the life of non-profit leaders. lol. But when you are determined to make something happen, you will let nothing stand in your way. Especially not something as simple as money.
So, to see what we have matured to is absolutely amazing. I mean come on folks, we are about to take it to another level this year, the kids will be performing Shakespeare! At the close of 2005 AWOL had roughly $2 dollars in the bank, lol. Today we have managed over a half a million dollars and encountered thousands of youth through our arts and technology programs and community performances. Amazing what a little determination and elbow grease can do. Check out the Press Release below and video clips from past performances and rehearsals.
Also please help spread the word as this is going to be our 5th Anniversary show so teachers need to sign up now to reserve seats to the school show.
For Immediate Release:
All Walks of Life Inc Announces Start of 5th Annual Theater Program, Invites Young People to Act Up
This year's production will be a hip hop-themed adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Auditions will be Sept. 17-18.
September 1, 2009 (Savannah, GA) - AWOL's theater program, known as Act Up, will celebrate its fifth year this fall with open auditions for its annual production, which will be a hip hop-themed adaptation of Shakespeare's timeless story of star-crossed love Romeo and Juliet. Auditions will be held September 17-18 at the Black Box Theater (9 W. Henry St.) from 6-8pm. AWOL's theater program regularly attracts nearly 100 youth who gladly show off their skills as actors, dancers and singers.
The production, titled Choices: The Romeo and Juliet Story, will be presented February 5-6, 2010 at the Lucas Theater. There will be one daytime show presented to students of schools from around the region, and two nighttime shows open to the general public.
"I'm excited about Romeo and Juliet because Shakespeare's play is so universal that it can be adapted into any cultural setting or historical period," says Green. "Love is a universal theme and it will help introduce some of these kids to Shakespeare in a way that is much more accessible for them."
The goal of the Act Up program is to engage young people in positive, creative activities during evening hours when youth are statistically more likely to get into trouble. The program teaches them important lessons about theater combined with positive conflict resolution workshops, giving students the opportunity to pursue their talents while showing them ways to promote positive behavior. It costs one tenth as much to keep young active in programs like AWOL's, designed to keep them out of trouble, then it does to keep young people locked up after they've already gotten into trouble with the law.
Entering it's fifth year, this will be the first year that AWOL's theater production hasn't centered directly on hip hop history. In year's past, the play has discussed the origins of hip hop in New York City, the relationship between African culture and hip hop, the cultural evolution from the Civil Rights Generation to the Hip Hop Generation, and paid homage to the artistic accomplishments of the Harlem Renaissance and its influence on hip hop. The adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, which was written by Theater Director, LaKesha Green, will modernize the language of the original, as well as inject music and dance into Shakespeare's classic love story. The production is scheduled for February 5-6, 2010 opening on the 5th with a 10:00am school show. Teachers are encouraged to reserve seats now as the school show sells out every year. Cost of attendance is only $3 per child and includes a free curriculum guide based on the Georgia Performance Standards for the study of Shakespeare.
In addition, AWOL will also be holding auditions for its film making and photojournalism program, My Block and the popular sound design and music recording program, The Projects. All young aspiring artist are encouraged to attend.