empower youth to lead
let creativity rule
put the Spotlight on Ability
All content: © Unified Theater®, Inc
by Michael Duff, Unified Theater Youth Leader Council member
It all started four years ago when a teacher who advised a club at my high school asked me to come to a meeting about Unified Theater. I knew Ms. Carlisle from being friends with students in her class. Unified Theater was brand new at my school. I only learned a few details about Unified Theater at that first meeting. I learned that it had only started the previous week and would meet twice a week and create a performance. Ms. Carlisle explained that Unified Theater was for all students of all backgrounds, interests, and abilities. Welcoming everyone interested me because I have a passion for inclusion and thought it would be a good fit for me. Without hesitation, I said YES!
Being new to high school and not knowing very many other kids, it seemed like a good time to try something new. I didn’t have a lot of friends in elementary or middle school and I really enjoy meeting people and wanted to make more friends. Although I did not know exactly what I was getting into, my yes was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. I knew I was taking a risk that kids might not warm up to me, or that I might not have fun. Aren’t these thoughts that every high school kid has? The worst thing that could happen was that I would not like it and have to find something else to try. But, the exact opposite happened.
I went to my first meeting, joined in the group, participated in name games, and met new people. Everyone in the group turned out to be very friendly. I fit in with them and felt part of the group. I was hooked on Unified Theater and could not wait for the next meeting. Boy was I glad I said yes. For the first time in my life I formed friendships that would last forever. Some friends were older and some my same age. These friendships were based on common interests and working through the creative process together. It did not matter that we did not go to the same classes or eat lunch at the same time. What bonded us together was the shared experience of Unified Theater. We have been friends ever since and even though distance separates us we look forward to seeing each other.
In Unified Theater everyone brings their talents together to create something. It is this teamwork that gives us the chance to get to know each other and form friendships. My yes has led me to be in four great productions that included original scenes, songs, dances, and sets all developed by our team. This experience has inspired me to try other things and say yes more often.
by Sarah Tomek, Director of Programs
I’m a theater kid. Even before my first theater camp, I would spend lots of time in front of the mirror making faces. I took dance classes. I fidgeted during choir performances when I knew I had to stay still for long periods of time. I’m a theater kid, as well as a kinesthetic learner.
by Laura McLelland, Unified Theater CEO
Earlier this summer, I had the amazing privilege to step into my new role as CEO here at Unified Theater. For those of you who have known Micaela, you can believe it when I tell you this was a slightly daunting thing to do, following our amazing Founder and having the responsibility for leading Unified Theater into its new stage of national growth. I was, understandably, a little nervous!