West Side Story Project
A Human Journey
The tools necessary for building vibrant theatrical experiences reside in each and every one of us. This is the foundation for the learning experiences generated in the workshops created by PossibleArts - a robust progression of exercises, activities and events threaded together by a central theme, provocative question or inspiring body of existing material.
A Theatre Project
For the past three years, Phoenix House, a leading nonprofit provider of substance abuse services, has partnered with PossibleArts to bring an innovative compliment to their therapeutic communities. The process of theatre. Teen and Adult residents, along with clinical staff, have embraced the physical, vocal and emotional training sessions of professional actors in a series of immersion style residencies. With daily practice of these core skills as the centerpiece, participants developed a collaborative approach to writing original plays designed to complete their experience - in theatre and in recovery.
A Unique Opportunity
Enter: The West Side Story Project. A new and ambitious community-based project was recently launched by the Phoenix House - PossibleArts partnership. Originally developed in Seattle, under the leadership of Anna Laszlo, the Seattle Police Department and the 5th Avenue Theatre, this initial endeavor introduced a series of theatre-based workshops and events for youth and police officers focusing on the characters and the story in the musical West Side Story. The mission was to use the theatrical sessions as a beginning to promote a continuation of dialogue in the community around violence prevention.
A Working Ensemble
For the next two years, PossibleArts will be delivering an ongoing series of theatre workshops for youth and police officers in New York City and Long Island, using the scenes, songs and dances portrayed in West Side Story as source material. As participants will change from month to month, each workshop will be its own event. Participants will collaborate with teaching artists using specifically chosen segments from West Side Story in order to create scenes which will be used to set the stage for illuminating teachable moments and prompting topics for groups discussions which will be the culmination of each workshop.
An Ongoing Story
This Blog has been created as forum for all participants to reflect on their experiences in the workshops and to share photos, videos and any writing they feel compelled to share which will represent the journey. Check back each month to follow the story of The West Side Story Project.