Once we sponsor some schools for Edith, record the stats here for posterity.
ATX Theatre Youngsters student support begins with Ursula!
In March 2022, one hundred thirty students from East Austin Prep were sponsored by ATX Theatre Youngsters to attend Teatro Vivo’s presentation of Ursula. This original play is written by Frida Espinosa-Müller of Cara Mia Theatre, and she performs it mostly in Spanish. (Supertitles in both languages make the play accessible to Spanish and English speakers.) Special thanks to the ATX Theatre contributors who made this sponsorship possible, and to Roxanne Schroeder-Arce and Oscar Franco for coordinating this event through Teatro Vivo and the school!
This occasion marked the official activation of a plan adopted by ATX Theatre Youngsters to connect every Austin public and charter school child with a live theatre audience experience. The plan places schools at the top of the priority list if their students have not received access to theatre in the past. East Austin Prep is on that priority list, as no theatre in town had engaged with students there in at least three years.
Through volunteer-led local industry research, ATX Theatre Youngsters found that schools with higher percentages of students of color (those in the global majority) have had less access to theatre productions than schools where the majority of students are white. In keeping with ATX Theatre’s organizational values, the Youngsters group is committed to ensuring that ALL children in Austin can feel that they belong in the imagination-building, transformative experience of attending live theatre.
As more than 1/3 of Austin’s population identifies as Latinx, supporting Spanish language and bilingual theatre that reflects Latin-American people and cultures with authenticity and dignity is of obvious importance. Ursula proved to be a beautiful and heart-felt first play for many of the students who saw it this week. The show traces the journey of Nadia, a 7-year-old girl who is separated from her mother after seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border. As Nadia waits for her asylum to be processed, she reflects on leaving Honduras and the new reality she is facing.
Besides the weekday school shows, Austin audiences had two opportunities to see Ursula at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. ATX Theatre lists all shows, no matter the size, budget, location, or producing entity with equal weight. So, the one-woman Ursula was listed right next to Lion King, being performed at Bass Concert Hall for 50,000 people in the span of one week. ATX Theatre’s focus on “only live theatre” allows this kind of equalizing between producing entities, and encourages audiences from well-supported theatres to try out less-supported ones.
“Nadia could have been my mother.”
“The fact that it was just the actress playing all the roles and the dolls represented her friends made me think of the loneliness and imagination of a child in those conditions.”
If you'd like to explore participating in Community-Centric Fundraising* for ATX Theatre Youngsters as a business or individual, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s have coffee about it. We look forward to meeting you. Business Name recognition for funding this program is totally on the table.
Photos by Morgana Willborn
* La recaudación de fondos centrada en la comunidad es un modelo de recaudación de fondos que se basa en la equidad y la justicia social. Damos prioridad a toda la comunidad sobre las organizaciones individuales, fomentamos un sentido de pertenencia e interdependencia, presentamos nuestro trabajo no como transacciones individuales sino de manera integral, y fomentamos el apoyo mutuo entre organizaciones sin fines de lucro. Este término y definición se ajustan al plan de 10 años de Youngsters y a toda nuestra organización con tanta precisión que nos sentimos obligados a compartir este recurso con usted para aprender más sobre el concepto: https://communitycentricfundraising.org/