Exploring Access To Theatre 2016, Week 2

On Friday, July 29th 2016, Access To Theatre premiered it’s 2016 show at the Boston Center For The Arts “Cyclorama” called “More Than Just A Wish.” The show consisted of many various acts including singing, dancing, rapping and skits accompanied by a live band (which I was a member of this year 🙂 ). While the first week of the program consisted of group activities, the second week was when everyone had to focus the act they would perform for the show.

One of the activities the participants did during the first week, was a cartooning class taught by 14-year-old Allie Lu. She showed the participants how to create their own art style and demonstrated how to draw cartoons. I was in this class, and it was a very cool experience to have. In the past I’ve been to drawing classes before, and I used to draw a lot of my own characters when I was younger, but I never had the patience or fine motor skills to actually create my own hand drawn comic books. It was good to get back drawing again, and Allie was definitely an exceptional teacher.

Allie even drew pictures of each of the participants, peer leaders, mentors, and artists at ATT. This is the picture she drew of me:

Hand-drawn cartoon of Evan waving, with a thought-bubble saying "Evan"

(The head shape is scarily accurate, too).


Two years ago, when I first participated in Access To Theatre, I was amazed at how open, supportive, and highly motivated many of the people in the program were/are. From the participants, to the peer leaders, artists, PCAs, and everyone else in between, ATT was a vibrant community where people of various backgrounds and experiences can come together to create art and express themselves without feeling the pressures of day to day life. Two years later, this is still the case. While many of the faces I met were different than from two years ago, this culture I just described was the exact same one that I knew from before.

By the end of the first week, I interviewed many of the ATT staff to find out what makes ATT an important part of their careers and what they enjoyed about this year’s experience. Here are some of their answers:

Question 1: What does the program mean to you/impressions so far?

Gabby [Stage Manager]: One giant family, a welcoming family that allows one to grow and find themselves.

Tammy [Artist]: I think everyone should have the opportunity to express themselves through art. Especially with theater because, it’s like, it’s not always easy to find an outlet [for that{. It’s wonderful to see how it transforms people and how they can find their true self.

St. Su [Artist and Keeper of the “Groove Lounge” where participants can relax]: It means that I get to work with [some of] the most talented and creative human beings that I know and I get to help them create exactly what they want to put out.

Dell [Musician]: From the first time I stepped foot at ATT, I’ve been amazed at the willingness of the participants to step beyond their self limitation. It’s not an easy process but it’s [about] their willingness to push past their boundaries.

Sean [Assistant Stage Manager]: [It’s] a chance to use everything I’ve learned in college and school, it gives me a chance to encourage the arts. [It] feels like [being] a monument man.

Moe [Artistic Director for Movement and Dance]: It helped me find my creative voice, and the best part is coming full circle and helping other people find theirs.

Phil [PCA]: I think it’s really special to see people come into the program, and even if they’re shy or uncertain, it seems like the participation in the group helps people with expressing their personally. That’s the best part of this program, seeing people participate and make the group their own. That’s one of the big reasons we do it so people can make it their own and express themselves.

Kevin [volunteer guitarist for the band]: The program seems like a great way to express yourself creatively as an artist and not be judged for your ideas and thoughts.

Question 2: During the first week alone, what has been your favorite activity or activities you’ve seen the participants do?

Gabby: I really liked pass the story and I really liked all the movement stuff through dance and moving your body.

Tammy: When we played the knock knock joke game because everybody participated and they made it their own, and connected with each other.

St. Su: Making art. Working with one of the participants to visually express their vast range of emotions.

Dell: Seeing people musically and artistically how they express themselves and try new things. Seeing their fearlessness.

Sean: Experience with being an assistant manager for people with disabilities

Moe: My favorite activity is when two participants told me that they didn’t dance but they did chose to be in a dance. When they danced, the smile is very evident.

Phil: The first week, the growing week, introduction week, and all the things we did to get to a point where we have a show, the weeks works where people come in fresh getting to know each other and coming together to prepare for the show.

Kevin: My favorite activity so far has been rehearsing [one of the participant’s] song while watching [a peer leader] break dance to it. It shows how two different art forms can be connected.

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