A labor of love - our work in progress

Thoughts and musings from Audacity

Lion King in Milpitas

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Last week Thomas Russell Middle School came alive with the sights and sounds of Disney’s Lion King, Jr.

As the company founder, the first half of Audacity’s 2015-2016 season has been a massive step. This year has been the first time Audacity has deployed independent creative teams to a school to produce shows. And, it was wonderful!! This experience has been amazingly powerful.

The lesson I learned from Steven Pressfield, “trust the soup,” has been more evident in my life these past weeks than at any other time. As a company, we’re incredibly grateful to have been been able to hire amazing talent. As the founder, it is the most amazing thing in the world to see what great talent will produce when unleashed with young people in order to produce art.

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Audacity’s show at Russell Middle School was incredibly wonderful, not only because of the amazing production values, but because of the reaction of the student participant and the school.

Before the show opened, the administration and students were asking if Audacity would come back and do another show in the spring. If there is a better testament to the stunning work done by our team, I don’t know what it is.

Director, Tom Shamrell, Assistant Director, Nick Boucher, and Music Director, Kellen Hughes, created an amazing show that was delightful to watch. The Audacity Team cultivated an excitement and passion in the students of the Lion King cast that was hard to describe. These kids were on fire. The room was filled with their powerfully happy energy. It was clear that Tom, Nick and Kellen made every kid feel important and a crucial part of the show. Every child in the show loved being part of the company.

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The result?

Audacity is currently making plans to expand our program with Russell to support their school talent show and to add a Spring Musical.

Louis Stone-Collonge
Founder and President
The Audacity Performing Arts Project, Inc.

Jungle Book And The Realization Of a Dream

Performing Art Program at Lowell Elementary School

 

Back in 2010 and 2011, I was working with my partner at the time on a series of very expensive shows for a local private school.  At one point I turned to my partner and said, “we really need to take this show on the road.”
It has struck me that there are so many children in Silicon Valley who had no access to participation in the performing arts.  That is the moment when the idea was born that became The Audacity Performing Arts Project.
Last week The Audacity Performing Arts Project completed a VERY successful show at Lowell Elementary School in Downtown San Jose.

The show was Disney’s Jungle Book, Kids Edition. It was a first for Lowell and was carried out within their after school program run by Think Together. The show was produced at ZERO cost to the school and families.

Audacity Performing Arts Show at Lowell Elementary

 

These are the children I was thinking of when I founded the company in 2012. I have worked with more polished and experienced actors before, but never have I come across a more passionately excited group of children.

Audacity Performing Project at Lowell Elementary in San Jose
None of it could have been possible without my amazing partner and  Audacity Artistic Director,Samantha Pistoresi.  While I am the one who launched the company, it is Samantha who is the beating heart of the company.

Our production of Jungle Book was directed by Chiarra Sorci with assistant director, Meredith Johnson (Notre Dame High School class of 16). The play was also crewed by Anjali Jain (Notre Dame High School class of 17). In addition, strike and load-out (which had to happen within a very small window after the show) was staffed by Amy Mullenex (Notre Dame High School class of 17), Becca Paist (Notre Dame High School class of 17) and Jasmine Canjura (Notre Dame High School class of 18).

The show was attended by about 100 students and parents and was VERY well received. Audacity is currently making plans to produce Disney’s Lion King, Kids Edition in the spring of 2016.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making this audacious project possible.

Louis Stone-Collonge
Founder and President
The Audacity Performing Arts Project, Inc.

How Do We Make Room for Diversity of Identity Within Audacity?

Diversity at Audacity Performing Arts

Here is something I have been giving a lot of thought to over the past months.

Audacity works with children from very diverse socio-cultural, linguistic and economic backgrounds. The communities we serve are far more diverse, in this sense, than those of us who run the company.

If we are mainly producing Disney stories (our plays) that are clearly creations of a cultural hegemony, how do we allow for the self-exploration/self-discovery within that context?

Diversity at Audacity Performing Arts

To be sure the power of being able to participate in the familiar is important to these children. To my eyes, our program participants appear to find comfort, joy and strength in connecting to the larger dominant cultural artifacts. At the very least, participating in a team that makes plays for an audience appears to be an experience that offers an over all positive experience.

The question I think about very often is this: How do we do all of this while still allowing (make room for) gateways/openings though which a non-homogenized self might emerge (be fostered)? How do we make sure to leave openings for the natural hybrid identity of the children we serve? How so we work with hegemonic artifacts of culture such that our approach is expanding and not limiting?

Louis Stone-Collonge
Founder and President
The Audacity Performing Arts Project, Inc.

Working with Audacity was a great experience. Audacity inspires creativity and passion in everyone, but especially in kids. The Jungle Book Musical that was recently put on was absolutely amazing, and a blast to help with.
10/10 ... would go again!" Mackenzie Knox

Notre Dame High School, San Jose Class of 2016
Audacity Production Team

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