How do we give children the tools to share their stories? How can the arts help them connect their personal experiences to what they learn in the classroom? The answer is New Voices, DGF’s in-school playwriting initiative that is helping children discover the power of their own voices.
Thanks to the support of friends like you, DGF launched New Voices in March of 2018. We spend a month in classrooms, teaching students about story structure, dialogue, and introducing them to playwriting as a method of creative expression. In its first season, 225 children at Brooklyn’s P.S. 1 The Bergen School worked with four professional dramatists—each a former DGF Fellow—to create seven original plays, which were then professionally directed and performed for the students and their families at the school.
Students wrote plays on the topic of immigration as part of their social studies curriculum. One of the teachers at PS-1, Diana Alvarado, explains—
“Our school is in a neighborhood that has become the new home to many immigrants looking to start a new life. Most of my students are first-generation Americans. As the children of immigrants, they come from homes where parents don’t speak English and have difficulty helping their children with school work. Despite their many obstacles, these children come to school each day happy and excited to learn within a classroom that provides the integration of English as a New Language instruction.”
It was empowering for the children to share their experiences. Constructing characters, developing plot, infusing humor—laughing at the jokes they’d created—the kids not only thoroughly enjoyed the experience, they came away realizing they could have an impact on the world. In Diana Alvarado’s words—
“DGF not only made this experience safe, it gave these absolutely wonderful and gifted children a voice and platform to express themselves through playwriting.”
Helping tomorrow’s citizens find their voices today ensures the theater will thrive for years to come. It is crucial that young writers have the opportunity to create and share their stories. Your support of Dramatists Guild Foundation makes it possible. We are so grateful for your support. Through the DGF New Voices, Fellows, Traveling Masters, Emergency Grants, Music Hall, Writers Alliance Grants, and Legacy Project programs: together we’re protecting the future of the American theater by nurturing the writers who create it. Thank you.
If you would like to support the New Voices program, please visit dgf.org/donate