PARTNERSHIP WITH DC POLICE FOUNDATION

Imagination Stage Police and Youth Program

The Imagination Stage Police and Youth Program is a collaborative project that strives to build positive relationships between DC Metropolitan Police officers and youth through mentorship and arts learning.

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Artist Mas Paz shows how to screenprint a custom T-shirt.

Both police officers and youth participate in weekly workshops facilitated by Imagination Stage teaching artists. These workshops use theatre exercises, performance, and improvisational games to inspire bonding, understanding, and community building. Special guest artists are also brought in to introduce other art forms, such as spoken word and graffiti art.

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Youth and officers performing on stage together.

Through this program, a space is provided for youth and officers to create art and share experiences that strengthen relationships and foster a community of trust and understanding that can be taken beyond the workshop. Our lead partner is the DC Police Foundation; the project is supported by DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities and funded in part by a grant from The Children’s Theatre Foundation of America.

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“It’s not about where you start, but where you finish.”
Poem by youth participant.

What's Next?

Imagination Stage has commissioned Miriam Gonzales (¡Óyeme!) to write 10 Seconds, a play based on the ideas, conversations, and discoveries from our workshops between police and youth. The play will be workshopped for test audiences this spring and tour local schools in Fall 2020.

10 Seconds

Written by Miriam Gonzaeles

Directed by LeeAnet Noble

Appropriate for grades 8-12 

 

In a world where deeply rooted biases and misperceptions easily take hold, life can often feel unnerving — a journey that can change for better or worse in a blink of an eye depending on how we see each other.  In the play, 10 Seconds, we see through the eyes of Ray and Jimi, Washington, DC high school students who navigate their young adult worlds, and what it means to be young black men in the city.  Ray tells the story of a day — and “ten seconds” inside that day — that he and Jimi will never forget, sharing not only their perspectives, but also the views of the police they encounter.   Through audience engagement and interactive moments, the play provides opportunities for reflection and discussion. By “stopping time” the audience is asked to imagine what might happen if we made the effort to pause, listen to one another, question our assumptions, and consider the possibilities for change.

 

To learn more, contact Joanne Seelig Lamparter, Director of Education & Theatre for Change, at [email protected] or 301-280-1646.