January , 2019

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GYAC members lead a workshop on the Theater-of-the-Oppressed during April 6 LGBTQ Youth Leadership Summit


CHICAGO, IL –  For the first time, Goodman Theatre’s Youth Arts Council (GYAC) partners with the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (ISSA) for its April 6 LGBTQ Youth Leadership Summit focusing on Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) support, technical assistance and preparation for the annual Day of Silence/Night of Noise (observed this year on April 19, 2013). The Day of Silence is a student-led, nationwide initiative meant to bring attention to LGBTQ harassment in schools in which students take a vow of silence for one day to illustrate the silencing effect of harassment and bullying. The Night of Noise follows as a space for discussion, reflection and celebration by participants and supporters. The GYAC members were led to this partnership with ISSA in conjunction with the production of Teddy Ferrara at the Goodman (closed March 3), about the complexities of LGBTQ issues on a college campus. The Summit is an opportunity for youth and GSA advisors to come together to organize, network, learn and develop leadership on LGBTQ safe schools issues.

“Once ISSA and GYAC realized the larger potential for their partnership, they knew they could make a significant impact with the April 6 Summit,” said Willa Taylor, the Goodman’s Director of Education and Community Engagement. “Using the momentum from Teddy Ferrara, the two groups aim to bring the questions raised by the play into the schools of Chicago, to create awareness for LGBTQ issues on the local level.”

GYAC members will create a promotional video for ISSA as well as present a live, original performance piece on April 6, and lead a workshop rooted in the theater-of-the-oppressed technique. The workshop aims to provide other students, teachers and administrators with the tools to create safe discussion spaces around LGBTQ issues in their high schools.

About Illinois Safe Schools Alliance

ISSA promotes safety, support and healthy development for LGBTQ youth in Illinois schools and communities through advocacy, education, youth organizing and research. ISSA is comprised of students who work with Gay Straight Alliances (GSA) in Illinois high schools, as well as schools’ administration and staff, to ensure schools abide by district policies regarding the treatment of LGBTQ students and LGBTQ topics in curricula. 

About Goodman Theatre’s Youth Arts Council

Each year, exemplary students who complete the General Theater Studies or Cindy Bandle Young Critics programs are nominated to be members of the council by their teachers and peers. This leadership development initiative allows past participants in Goodman Theatre programs to stay involved. Members act as ambassadors in their communities and schools by collaborating with youth councils at other theaters and leading theater-based workshops for their peers and younger children.

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