This Saturday, the Austin based nationally recognized Theatre Action Project (TAP) is holding its fifth annual Youth Arts Festival featuring work by more than 100 students in 12 different schools in the Austin area. It’s TAP’s largest festival ever, and it should be pretty darn awesome.
The afternoon will be filled with 18 different presentations across various forms of media, including original films and plays, dance pieces, mural projects and digital stories, all dreamed up, created and produced by Austin’s youth. The focus of the festival is to give students a chance to feel empowered through sharing their work.
The afternoon will be filled with 18 different presentations across various forms of media, including original films and plays, dance pieces, mural projects and digital stories, all dreamed up, created and produced by Austin’s youth.
As Patrick Torres, TAP’s Middle and High school program director and this years festival director puts it, “the thing that’s so exciting about the festival is that is really is an opportunity for kids to experience the power of their own voices…that the things they care about matter to other people.”
A project Torres is especially excited about? The documentary film made by students at Dell Valley Middle school. Despite the fact that many of the students had never had an art class, let alone experience in film, the students from Dell Valley set out on quite the endeavor: Sending a camera into space.
With a semesters work of research and equipment funded through a kickstarter campaign that raised 1,400 in 48 hours, the students launched their camera in a hot air balloon a few weeks ago, only to lose signal when it landed (they think) about 80 miles away with the GPS facedown.
The film, Torres explains, is a celebration of the value in having a dream and trying it, and he promises that the festival will give us 17 other performances of stories just like that. Saturday isn’t just an opportunity for youth to showcase their work, it’s also a window for audience members into what it’s like to be a local young person — what they’re thinking about, what concerns and social issues they have.
It’s a chance, Torres explains, to see innovation, creative thinking skills and the talent of students in ways standardized test scores don’t allow. "The work really does prove youth are capable and able of doing great things. It’s really inspiring.”
Come out and be inspired this Saturday at the Boyd Vance Theatre at the George Washington Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina Street, from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is free.