Washburn HS Blackbox Performance

On Dec. 17th, 2014, we took our girls to see a performance by the Washburn HS Blackbox Acting Program at Patrick's Caberet Theatre in Minneapolis. Crystal Springs has been the director of the program since 2008. She has also worked with Jan Mandell who currently teaches at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and has been doing similar work with high schools since 1979. I was able to insert a snippet of Jan's comments during the talk-back session towards the end of this video.  Other attendees included Rhonda Dean, the school's new principal, community leaders, and parents who participated in the race riots in North Minneapolis in the 70s.  While the program seeks to empower youth through critical dialogue on their identities and various social issues, the performance itself challenges viewers into action. The actors speak to the struggles our girls experience on a daily basis from racist bullying to societal pressures on gender roles. I wanted our girls to see that change can start now. Seeing other students their age be bold in their convictions builds solidarity among everyone who feels oppressed in some way. In our own discussions, as our girls were able to identify with the actors' lives, we were able to imagine a new space of shared experiences where the factors of citizenship, language, and culture no longer serve as dividing barriers. I have much hope for these girls. More to come on our individual mentoring this spring!