From: Elizabeth Andrews [eandrews@yptdc.org]
Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2010 2:02 PM
To: Liza Harbison
Subject: Wire July 2007 - Meet Aaron Boose
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In This Issue
Winning Teacher
Nation of Immigrants
Aaron Boose: Promising Playwright
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Issue: # 10 July 2007
Winning Teacher
Ms. Rachael BrownRachael Brown wins Symantec Award
 
Teacher Rachael Brown has been awarded the prestigious Symantec Award for Innovation for her work with YPT.
 
The Symantec Award honors Teach for America teachers who demonstrate exceptional teamwork and innovation.  Ms. Brown was one of five winners nationwide.
 
She was honored for her work with Young Playwrights' Theater at Bell Multicultural High School.  Through the In School Playwriting Program Ms. Brown's students created 160 original plays - representing a 100% completion rate of a major assignment. In order to support YPT programming, Ms. Brown created a standards-based "Drama as Witness" unit where students read and studied plays that addressed the social issues and seminal ideas of their eras.
 
"I have never been so proud of my students as when they were talking about their plays.  I know they would say that their work with YPT was the most significant part of their school year," Ms. Brown says, "I believe that writing is a process of empowerment, and consequently stressed to my students that their stories were of relevance, that they were stories that deserved to be and must be told."
 
Ms. Brown's passion for education is leading her in new directions.  She has taken a position as a consultant with Strong American School's Edin08 campaign, working to make education a major topic in the coming presidential elections. 
 
Congratulations, Ms. Brown!
FULL HOUSE!
 A Nation of ImmigrantsNation of Immigrants
 
The Langston Room at Busboys and Poets was packed on Friday, June 22nd, for the first reading of Patrick Crowley's new piece with YPT, A Nation of Immigrants.
 
"It is the most successful public reading I've ever had," Crowley commented. 
 
An acting ensemble comprised of YPT Resident Company members and student actors performed monologues and scenes created from workshops and interviews in the community.  Some students read pieces they had written about their own experience immigrating to the United States. Stories of personal struggle alternated with excerpts of political rhetoric.  In one intriguing parallel, the oaths of new US citizens were contrasted with those of the Minute Men who use force to protect the border.
 
The discussion that followed revealed the depth of knowledge among the participants and audience members about this important topic. Viewers offered artistic advice on how to balance the piece and delve deeper into personal experiences. They challenged the playwright to consider new perspectives. Many offered contact information for policy experts and community activists who could help advance the piece.
 
In a packed room where students, community members and artists sat closely together, sometimes sharing chairs to allow more people a chance to fit in the room, there was a palpable sense of shared experience, concern and excitement for the piece.
 
Student performer Lachance Ngozo Biyo expressed his joy in participating, "I got an accent, but speaking up here with these actors, now I feel I can communicate. I don't know if I did good, but I love it!"  
 
Nation of Immigrants will continue, and further community readings and workshops will be offered in the Fall.
 
Creative CommunitiesA Nation of Immigrants is funded by The Creative Communities Fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and the DMPED Neighborhood Investment Fund.  For a complete list of YPT's funders click here.
AARON BOOSE
Promising Playwright Aaron Boose
 
"Man, you don't even write no more," Aaron Boose's friend said to him on the day he was suspended from Wilson Senior High School back in 2002. 
 
His friend's words were a sharp indictment.  Aaron had always written poetry and, in 2001, through work with YPT, he had become a playwright. His play From Da Bricks to Wall Street, co-written with classmate Johnny Burton was performed at Woolly Mammoth in the fall of 2002 as part of the New Play Festival.
 
"It was so good because I had my family there. Everybody loved it. We met the actors before that. It was so good," Aaron remembers. "Before YPT, I never thought of writing that way. I never thought I could write anything that maybe children would watch actors perform out in the schools."
 
"When's the last time you wrote anything?" his friend continued.  Aaron didn't have an answer. With his friend's words ringing in his ears, Aaron returned home and sat down and wrote a play. "I thought, 'I gotta start writing again.' I wrote another play Crossroads.  I wrote it as a testament to myself.  I got back in school.  I got back on that road," Aaron says proudly.
 
Aaron continued writing.  His play Street Vision explored life in DC from the literal perspective of the streets.  "So many people are here today, gone tomorrow, but the streets are here forever. So many people die young. Their stories can't be told.  So I let the streets tell it for them," Aaron says.  In 2003 he worked as an intern with YPT, teaching an After School Playwriting Program to elementary students at the Butler Center.
 
He also uses music to express his views.  "Some people call it conscience rap but I say it's reality rap. I talk what I see and what I witness.  I try to raise awareness of what's going on in society and I try to witness and encourage people that there are other routes they could go," Aaron explains.
 
Now Aaron is entering into his senior year at Howard University, majoring in Afro-American studies and minoring in English.  He has a strong interest in Youth Development.  This summer he is interning with the Trust's Project My Time, providing summer enrichment programs for students at Kelly Miller Middle School in Ward 7.  He envisions one day opening up his own alternative school for students who struggle in a traditional setting.  "I want to open up the doors to them," Aaron says. "Let them know that they can do it.  They might think that they can't do it. But they should know there are people that want to see you succeed."
 
YPT is at Kelly Miller Middle School too, as a provider of summer programming.  It's an honor to work with Aaron Boose again.
 
For more stories about YPT's Promising Playwrights click here.
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