The Hippodrome Teen Ensemble is a tuition-free, audition-based educational program for young actors, ages 13-19. The Teens design peer education performances and workshops and take them on tour to schools and neighboring communities after completing seven weeks of theatre training. Teen participants assume the role of actor, playwright, director – and most importantly – teacher as they share their knowledge to their peers and other members of the community. By assuming leadership roles, students build self-esteem, team building skills, and strengthen their ability to make positive life choices.
Through workshops and collaborations with international artists, our Teens have learned to use theatre to address community issues and to use art and storytelling as tools for intervention and mediation. The Teens create their own devised plays, scenes, and workshops as peer education to address issues important to them, such as cyber bullying, feminism, gender identity, cultural divides, and domestic violence.
In their pursuit to strengthen their skills and better their world, the Teens have held workshops with a group of Haitian artists through the Gainesville Sister Cities project, a group of Irish artists through the UF Center for Humanities, the Ronald McDonald House of Gainesville, the Alachua Academy residential facility for girls, the Harn Museum of Art, and (literally) in parked cars.
The Teen Ensemble was started as a program to teach young people how to use art and creativity to ask questions, understand cultural divides, and diffuse conflict. If you are interested in joining or supporting the program, please contact Gabrielle Byam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hippodrome is Gainesville's cultural centerpiece offering live theatre, films, gallery exhibits, classes, and special events over 340 days a year. The Hipp. It's close to home, but far from ordinary!