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See Our Amazing Newcomer Students In Action!

The school year is winding down, and we just wrapped up the first full semester of the Newcomer Youth Theater Experience! Launched in partnership with the NYC Department of Education, the residency helps MLL/ELL-designated asylee, immigrant, and refugee students with positive youth development and school readiness through theater.

Students in the program came from all over the world, and spoke languages including Spanish, Arabic, and Bangla. The inaugural program involved five New York City schools in three boroughs, serving over 250 students. Below are highlights from some of these schools.

PS 152Q

Many students in the Newcomer Youth Theater Experience at PS 152Q came from Latin America, and are still learning English. Our incredible bilingual Teaching Artists helped create a comfortable and welcoming environment, balancing communication in Spanish with English language instruction.

At first, many students felt too shy to speak in English in front of the entire group. In addition to the language challenges, few, if any of the students had previous theater experience.

Acting and theater exercises helped them work on pronunciation, enunciation and vocabulary, teaching them how to project and speak clearly in English. Alongside learning about the elements of drama, students wrote their own original plays. They came up with the story lines, the characters, and the dialogue, all in English. 

Eight weeks later, the same students who had struggled to say their names out loud presented their work to an auditorium full of their teachers, families, and peers. Not only that, they performed the plays from memory, exceeding all of our expectations. 

“This was a pleasure. One of the best residencies we ever had. You made magic happen with just a pencil and a paper. Nothing special, but took something very ordinary and made it extraordinary. [You] gave our kids a wonderful opportunity that they’ll never forget.”

– Principal Lisa Russo, PS 152Q

PS 333X

At PS 333X in the Bronx, Teaching Artists guided students as they wrote an original production titled “Adventure Day” inspired by Stacey Abrams’ Stacey’s Remarkable Books. The kids worked on original music, dialogue, choreography, and set design, culminating in a performance for their school. 

After the residency, students shared that they particularly enjoyed the dance aspect of the program. Furthermore, they learned valuable life lessons from the play like honesty and how to face their fears. To hear directly from the students and see a snippet of their amazing work, check out the video below!

We really enjoyed working with all of the schools involved in the inaugural Newcomer Youth Theater Experience, and hope to come back next school year for more incredible student works. Thank you to all of the amazing Teaching Artists, staff members, school teachers, Principals, and partners at the Department of Education who made this all possible!

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