Since 2011, Anam Cara Theatre Company has brought groundbreaking theatrical productions to the Asheville community. Ranging from Shakespeare’s classic works to brand-new material, our non-profit theatre company continues to break boundaries in modern theatre. In a society that values many things mainstream, Anam Cara provides a much-needed breath of fresh air to ambitious theater-goers. It was only natural that as an organization, we wanted to expand our message deeper into the community and expand young minds. It is with great pleasure—and the utmost excitement—that we announce our Youth Summer Theatre Experience!
We are so happy to offer free theater classes to our youth community through a generous grant from Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, which provides partial financial support to emerging artists, K-12 arts education, and organizations that use the arts to improve quality of life. In addition, the Foundation has supported social service organizations working to improve the human condition. As a social-justice oriented theatre, we are honored that the foundation has deemed our Youth Summer Theatre Experience as an asset to our community.
Each Saturday throughout the summer, a group of ten students ages 13-17 meets for 3 hours to analyze and rehearse scenes from classic and contemporary plays, learn about the production process from casting to performance, explore technical theatre and theatrical design, and ultimately craft a unique final product they will perform for the public in September. Through this process, the teens explore themes of family, friendship, truth, love, mental illness, breaking down cultural barriers, and more.
“This program provides the opportunity for high quality, professional, and enriching instruction in an ultra-focused environment for students who may not normally have that sort of opportunity,” shares Missy Bell, the program’s Instructor/Director. “The majority of students are interested in pursuing theatre as a career, and being able to interact with others their age with the same ambition and drive is invaluable.”
“I like this class because I can meet my new friends here and it’s something I can do on Saturdays,” explains Caleb E. Stewart, age 15. “This class is a really good opportunity to look at the fine processes that go into putting together a show that actors don’t always get to see,” adds Sandy Rizzo-Banks, 16.
Although the program is partially funded, we are still seeking sponsorship to make this program complete. Anam Cara is seeking Youth Theatre Heroes, individuals who understand the value of the arts with young people, to sponsor students participating in the program. For just $150, the donor will not only enrich the summer of a young person, but will receive VIP admittance to the program’s final performance, receive updates from Anam Cara regarding the program’s progress, and will be able to participate in a talkback with the program’s attendees. If you appreciate the kind of impact theatre can have on a young person, value the arts in our Asheville community, and love to help others, this opportunity is ideal for getting involved.
As the curtains close and the applause fades, the lessons these teens will learn from their experiences will last forever. We look forward to continuing programs such as these to young people across our community, and introduce them to what revolutionary theatre can be.