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Shakespearean vision of Richmond set for encore

press release:

 

 

RAW Talent Presents an Encore Production of…

“Te’s Harmony”

A Spoken Word Theater Piece by Richmond Youth

WHEN: 6-9pm, Friday June 14th & Saturday June 15th

WHERE: El Cerrito Performing Arts Theater (540 Ashbury Ave, El Cerrito)

RICHMOND – After selling out the first production in February, Te’s Harmony is back by popular demand! This spoken word theater piece was written and performed by RAW Talent, the creative arts department of the Making Waves Education Program, and directed by Donte Clark and Rooben Morgan.

Members of RAW Talent will present their modern-day rendition of Romeo and Juliet for the stage, reworking the Shakespearean masterpiece into an allegory for the socio-economic conditions haunting their city and their daily lives. It is the classic tale of star-crossed lovers when Te’ from North Richmond falls for Harmony from Central, and they must fight for love in the midst of a war that has devastated their community for too long.

The students of RAW Talent have been deeply impacted by violence in Richmond, and they are determined to continue demanding change through their art. After putting on poetry shows and town hall discussions around gun violence, poverty and the prison industrial complex, they have decided to address these issues facing their community through a new medium: theater. The students and staff have written their first play, a heart-breaking and at times humorous reflection of daily life in Richmond. Te’s Harmony will push the boundaries of artistic genres, and ultimately push the audience to question the culture of violence in our city; to re-imagine Richmond through the lens of love.

While the play itself serves as a call to action for the audience, we will move beyond the stage and have anti-violence community organizations onsite to offer resources and volunteer opportunities for those who are moved by what they see. We are also very excited to announce our opening act on June 14th will be YGB Gold (Young, Gifted & Black) and our key-note speaker on June 15th  will be the widely-known emcee, poet and peace advocate, Dennis Kim (aka Denizen Kane of Typical Cats)!

Te’s Harmony is just such an example of how the arts energize and harmonize. How naturally and poignantly young people turn to words, stories, songs, or performance, especially in the most dire and derelict of places. In the shadows can come much light, much music, much truth.” -Luis J. Rodriguez, author of Always Running

Te’s Harmony will be a mash-up of theater, poetry, dance, music and film, remixing Shakespearean verse with spoken word and Richmond vernacular. The script pays homage to the cannon while honoring and centering the language of Richmond youth. Te’s Harmony has been published as a book with Red Beard Press, a youth-run publishing press in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We believe that the script could be used by English teachers nation-wide as supplemental curriculum alongside Romeo and Juliet, to engage students in the classic story and help them make connections between the text and their lived realities.

Film-maker Jason Zeldes is creating a documentary, “Romeo Is Bleeding”, that follows the members of RAW Talent as they prepare for the play. It focuses on student-turned-teacher Donte Clark and his deep desire to change Richmond through arts activism. Zeldes hopes to combat the tragic narrative of Richmond in mainstream media by shedding light on the positive work of these young people. You can watch the trailer for the documentary at the following link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/921886202/romeo-is-bleeding

Tickets can be purchased at: http://tesharmonyencore.eventbrite.com/
Advanced tickets (5/9-6/13): $20 adults/$8 youth                                                                                                            At the door (6/14-6/15): $20-$30 (sliding scale) adults/$10 youth
VIP* tickets (4/29-6/15): $45/all ages                 
*VIP: prime seating, a free book, and a chance to meet the cast backstage after the show!
*”Youth tickets”- 21 and under                                                                                                                       *Teachers/youth workers who want to bring groups can contact Dionne Teasley at dteasley@making-waves.org for more info on group discounts

 

Articles on Te’s Harmony:   

 

Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/11/tes-harmony-youth-play-br_n_2665644.html

 

Richmond Pulse:

http://richmondpulse.org/raw-talent-adaptation-of-romeo-and-juliet-succeeds-on-many-levels/

 

Richmond Confidential:

http://richmondconfidential.org/2012/12/07/romeo-and-juliet-in-richmond/

This will be RAW Talent’s biggest show yet- please spread the word and sell all 1200 tickets! All proceeds go towards RAW Talent workshops, field trips, retreats, shows, and expanding creative arts programming within the Richmond community.

CONTACT: Molly Raynor, RAW Talent Coordinator, mraynor@making-waves.org, (734) 395-5899

 

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Richmond’s Making Waves Academy and partners provide thousands of free books

RICHMOND — Something special happened today in the yellow building tucked amid commercial space in the city’s Hilltop District.

While it’s true that special things happen every day at Making Waves Academy, a public charter school serving 600 middle and high school students, today’s events culminating in Literacy Night were on a different level.

The acclaimed charter school hosted a community assembly, book fair and evening events with local dignitaries to launch a new partnership with the My Very Own Library (MVOL) initiative and Scholastic books, who donated more than $30,000 in books to the student body.

“This is our first partnership outside of New Jersey, and we are happy to help build on the excitement and energy around literacy here,” said Shannon Boehmer, a spokeswoman for New Jersey After 3, a nonprofit created in 2004 to expand learning time through high-quality, cost-effective afterschool programs across urban, suburban and rural communities. 

More than 2,400 books were on display Wednesday, from popular titles like “Hunger Games” to classics like “To Kill a Mockingbird.” 

After a morning ”Kick-Off” ceremony, students entered the MVOL book fair to select three new books each. Students also got meet and get their books signed by award winning Children’s Author – Emma Clayton, who chatted with the students about being an author.

Making Waves was founded in 1989 by John Scully, a computer software executive, and the late Rev. Eugene Farlough, pastor of Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church. That year, the program adopted 46 fifth-graders from two elementary schools in Richmond and proceeded to mentor them for eight years. In 1997, Making Waveswatched its first group graduate from high school. In 2001, the program expanded to schools in San Francisco.

Waves mentors its students, called Wave-Makers, by building upon skills learned in its middle school, high school, and college programs. All students are exposed to benefits such as nutrition education, cultural activities and health care assistance. To date, the program serves more than 1,000 in the Bay Area.

In an adiminstration room at the school, dozens of student-written letters were on display, addressed to Dimarea Young, a 19-year-old who was shot and killed in central Richmond earlier this month.

Later in the evening, MakingWavesAcademy hosted a Family Literacy Event, which included workshops and reading activities for parents and students.

Making Waves was founded in 1989 by John Scully, a computer software executive, and the late Rev. Eugene Farlough, pastor of Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church. That year, the program adopted 46 fifth-graders from two elementary schools in Richmond and proceeded to mentor them for eight years. In 1997, Making Waveswatched its first group graduate from high school. In 2001, the program expanded to schools in San Francisco.

The Contra Costa County Board of Education in 2007 approved Making Waves Education Program’s petition to open a school in Richmond’s Hilltop neighborhood.

Waves mentors its students, called Wave-Makers, by building on skills learned in its middle school, high school, and college programs. All students receive nutrition education, cultural activities and health care assistance. The principal, called “Head of School” in Making Waves parlance, is Irene St. Roseman.

The event was for 5th through 10th graders in the Making Waves Middle School. Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Schools Superintendent Bruce Harter also attended.

 

More about the partners:

My Very Own Library (MVOL), proudly supported by the Family & Friends of the late, Anne Feeley (MVOL Originator), in partnership with NJ After 3, and Scholastic Book Fairs, is a literacy initiative aimed at increasing book ownership for thousands of students in Newark, NJ for the past two years. MVOL is proud to make its way across the country –on Wednesday, April 24, so that 600 students at Making Waves Academy in Richmond, California, will walk away with 4 FREE NEW BOOKS to take home to help build their own home libraries!