PERFORMANCE PROJECT (Springfield)
Music and Diversity III
Saturday, March 25, The Shea Theater Arts Center, 4:30pm
Admission is by donation
“Tenderness”, created by First Generation Ensemble, is a multi-lingual, physical theater piece that underscores the dehumanization at the core of all violence, and contrasts it with the eternal power of human tenderness and connection. Inspired by ensemble members’ personal experiences of human-rights abuse in war in the Darfur region of Sudan, Guinea, West Africa, and the school-to-prison pipeline system and mass incarceration in the US, tenderness reaches beyond conflict and racism to find pathways for human connection.
The performance of “Tenderness Selections” is a blend of monologues, storytelling, movement, scenes, and includes five languages: Arabic, Mandingo, Kirundi, Spanish and English. Original music by Charles Neville. Ensemble members include, Adam Abdelrahman, Uwizeyimana Angelique, Tyler Brown, Keila K. Ching, Terrell James Jones Phoenix Rios, Fynta Sidime. Directed by Julie Lichtenberg.
The full-length performance of Tenderness originated from within the First Generation community and was developed over a two-year creative process. The Performance Project’s First Generation is an arts and youth leadership program that brings together young adults ages 15-23 who identify as "first generation,” for intensive artistic training, leadership development, and inter-generational mentoring. Forming an artistic ensemble, youth create original multi-lingual performances based on their discoveries.
First Generation is a part of The Performance Project, which has been creating original theater and art in collaboration with communities in Hampshire and Hampden counties since 2000. The Performance Project was awarded the 2014 New England Public Radio Arts & Humanities Award. “Tenderness” premiered at the 2016 Ko Festival of Performance in Amherst and is soon going on tour to The Revolutions International Theater Festival in Albuquerque, NM.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT FIRST GENERATION
Since 2008, First Generation arts and youth leadership program has brought together youth ages 15-22 for research, self-reflection, artistic training, inter-generational mentoring, and dialogue. Forming an artistic ensemble, the group creates multi-lingual performances based on their discoveries, which engage participants and audiences in dialogues about critical social and cultural issues. Through these experiences, young people become leaders among their peers and in their communities, and are provided a platform through which to claim a public voice.
“First Generation” can mean, being the first one’s family to grow up in the US, speak English, graduate from high school, go to college, be incarcerated, be openly LGBTQ, be drug-free, question your faith, be a feminist, break a silence, etc.…
First Generation provides a platform for young adults ages 15-22 to have a public voice in their community and beyond. The work of First Generation is rooted in the belief that cultural legacies and family histories are sources of strength as well as struggle, as they shape the journey of their lives. The multi-lingual ensemble creates performances through thoughtful exploration and creative expression of what it means to be
First Generation has performed at STCC, Springfield College, Hampshire College, Amherst College, UMASS, regional high schools, summits and conferences, as well as the Ko Festival of Performance and Revolutions International Theater Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2013.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE PROJECT
The Performance Project began in the fall of 2000 as a theater and movement workshop at the Hampshire Jail, and remained as a “theater-in-residence” at the Jail until 2004. An “Outside Company” was formed in 2003, which continued to perform original theater in Hampden and Hampshire Counties, and beyond. The Company performed at American International College, Springfield College, Holyoke Community College, Northampton Center for the Arts, in Boston, and at the Revolution International Theater Festival in Albuquerque, NM.
The inspiration for The Performance Project’s First Generation arts and youth leadership program, which started in 2008, came from the expressed wish of participants in the Project’s early work at the jail for this sort of experience when they were younger. The work of First Generation is rooted in the belief that cultural legacies and family histories are sources of strength as well as struggle, as they shape the journey of their lives. The multi-lingual ensemble creates performances through thoughtful exploration and creative expression of what it means to be “First Generation” – the first in your family to grow up in this country, graduate from high school, go to college, speak English as your first language, be incarcerated, not be incarcerated, be adopted, be drug-free, be openly GLBT, question your faith, choose a different faith, break the silence, be an artist.
ENSEMBLE: Adam Abdelrahman. Uwizeyimana Angelique, Tyler Brown, Terrell James Jones, Phoenix Rios, Fynta Sidime, Keila Ching
Artistic Director: Julie Lichtenberg
Drama Support:: Lesley Farlow, Elsa Menendez
Choreography Support: Lesley Farlow
Lighting Design: Sabrina Hamilton
Sound Engineer: Tony Silva
Original Music By: Charles Neville
Photo Credits: Ed Cohen photography