Monday, November 20, 2017

TYA Thoughts from SF: Part 3: MLK and TYA

Megan Ann, Gillian, Stan, Pam, Joan, Barry, Megan, Daphnie (all fellow board members), many other TYA members, and I attended the 2010 AATE Conference in San Francisco….Here are a few thoughts from the weekend of theater, education, and inspiration..


Gillian McNally and I took a jaunt away from the conference on Friday afternoon to grab lunch and explore the city.   Our walking tour eventually took us to the gorgeous Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.  The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is situated behind a majestic waterfall fifty (50) feet high and twenty (20) feet wide which cascades over Sierra granite. The memorial includes back-lit photos from the civil rights movement and twelve shimmering glass panels set in granite and inscribed with Dr. King’s inspiring words. The poems are translated into the languages of San Francisco’s thirteen (13) international sister cities, as well as African and Arabic dialects.

In the middle of an intense conference of theater education, the following quotes stuck out to me:

-An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

-We must rapidly begin to shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important that people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

-Through our scientific genius, we have made the world a neighborhood; now, through our moral and spiritual development, we must make of it a brotherhood. In a real sense, we must learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools.

Call me an idealist, but I believe that theater for young audiences can change the world.  These ideals the amazing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr fought for are the same ideals we strive to achieve through theater.  In fact in our school environment of standardized testing and our communities filled with segregation and conflict, the arts are essential to help “individuals connect to the broader concerns of all humanity.”   This is why we care so much and put so much time, blood, sweat and tears into our art.

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