The news today is full of school closings, students struggling with achievements, students dealing with deaths, or being judged for who they are but the news isn’t all bad. Central Touring Theater has created a play that covers these issues and presents them to students across Minnesota providing healing and support. We use theater to begin a discussion with our peers about things important to us.
Saint Paul Central Touring Theater presents “There is No Box for Me” and “Seeds of Change,” two original plays created by youth ensembles at Macalester College in the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, 1600 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul on Friday May 21 and Saturday May 22 at 7:30 pm each night.
Tickets are $5.00 with special rates available for families and groups.
Central Touring Theater (CTT) was established 31 years ago under the leadership of Jan Mandell as a safe space for youth to explore artistic expression as a powerful and meaningful force in the world today. CTT members, coming from a variety of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, engage in a vigorous and unique theater training that helps them learn about each other and transform their communities by becoming advocates for social justice and equality.
The troupe has toured to over 10,000 people this year and performed over 30 shows from Monticello Middle School to Carleton College to the University of Minnesota to Totem Town Saint Paul. “There is No Box for Me” utilizes hip-hop, spoken word, dance, and theater to express youth voices on important issues. It follows the story of a young man, Calvin Clementine, and his struggle to get out of bed and back to school.
The story connects the lives of a young African American woman defending her intelligence as her peers put her on trail for “acting white,” young men effected by gang violence, and a student from Kenya, looking to show others that education is the most important tool they possess. All work is original and created by the cast of thirty students who have worked together this entire year to write and refine this high energy performance.
“Seeds of Change” is both a performance piece and an African American male support network that aims to lower the achievement gap between African American males and other students. “Seeds of Change” is a space where the students and their allies can talk openly about issues that challenge the African American community, discuss effective means to help African American males achieve academic success, and advocate for positive changes in education. This year, noted actor Ansa Akyea has been integral to the development of “Seeds of Change,” serving as an artistic and academic mentor to these ambitious young adults.