Unsorted began several years ago during Metro Theater Company’s conversation with playwright Wesley Middleton. Another young person had just taken his own life because he couldn’t endure any more bullying. We asked ourselves, “What role are we going to play to put an end to such tragedies?”
We sought community wisdom from child development specialists, educators, medical and mental health professionals, social workers, counselors and parents. This advisory group told us of the vital need for a theater piece such as we were imagining — a piece that might even serve as an intervention to what they called a health care crisis for young people.
Our vision and goals for Unsorted are bold. We want to open doors to conversations and dismantle fear, prejudice and misunderstanding. We want to help kids step up as allies with kids who are targets of oppressive bullying. We want to catalyze dialogue that will build understanding and acceptance for the youngest and most vulnerable among us. We want to support and nurture children who know who they are, yet may feel as if the world has no place for them.
LOCAL BOY INSPIRES A PLAY
Several years ago, resident artist Nicholas Kryah found a story about a four-year old boy in St. Louis who was fascinated with trash. He wanted to know where it went on those big trucks. He became friends with the guys who picked up trash in his neighborhood. When he discovered the volume of waste that is building veritable mountains of landfill, he turned his attention to recycling – serious attention. He is still at it, running a recycling business out of his home. His profits go to charity. He’s in seventh grade now. Talkin’ Trash is inspired by this boy.
MAGIC-IN-THE-MAKING FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
Metro Theater Company’s rehearsal hall will be transformed into a multi-sensory adventure for very young children in our third work-in-process, Baby Garden. Carol North says, “Our field is making its most creative work for very young audiences. It’s all about wonder and discovery, and really, what could be better than that?” This project is the continuation of work that Metro Theater Company began exploring during our 2009 New Work Incubator, supported by the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America. The work continued last February with the support of EmcArts New Pathways Program when we created a flexible, touring piece called Strings ‘n Things, which traveled to children at Walter Ambrose Family Center and Ranken Jordan – a Pediatric Specialty Hospital. Support from RAC’s Innovation Fund makes it possible for us to create a landscape of discovery for little ones this May.