This summer we artistically explored the life of Peter from the bible, seeing how his attitude changes over the course of his relationship with Jesus. We learned how we can have an attitude of joy even in the midst of challenging situations.
This summer 8 college interns and 5 other adult staff worked with over 40 youth to put on an inspiring performance as we shared our stories, struggles, and hopes.
This summer we created and performed 4 original dances, 2 scenes, 2 monologues, 3 poems, 6 songs, and 12 masks.
Here are some of the stories that came out of the summer.
"Youth 1" (a sophomore this fall) is a motivated and driven actor. This is my second year working with him in the theatre group and it has been such a joy to see him grow in his faith and as an artist. He was the one getting the group hyped up at every rehearsal, always saying, “Ok let’s do this.” This year I saw him grow so much in his character development. We gave him the role as class clown in the scene. I wasn’t sure how he would take the role but he ran with it and made the character his own.
I told the college interns working with the dance group that they by far had the hardest group. They had all the incoming 6th graders and 12 youth to choreograph into one dance. They faced initial challenges of dissension among the new youth, cliquey groups, and being unmotivated to practice. But despite these challenges, it came together in the end. The dance piece closed our show with energy and charisma. It was amazing to see the transformation in this group and the unity of the dance by the end.
"Youth 2" (a junior this fall) has been a part of every WJPK since it began. This year Jamal wrote a song about battling depression and finding the hope to persevere through it. When someone asked him after the performance how it felt to sing about those things, he said, “It felt really empowering.” These are the moments that inspire me.
Although it was a full summer, it was very energizing to be able to direct the project. I was able to grow in how to vision for the overall theme, which is not my strength. Since I don’t have an outlet to perform during the year, it has always been a source of joy for me to write and perform for WJPK. My skit this year involved the challenges that I face with my elementary students’ attitudes and how I need to grow in patience as well.
The moment that I enjoyed the most from the summer was standing on side of the stage watching the theatre group perform. I was literally jumping up and down with pride as I watched the youth step into their characters, remember all their lines, and hearing the audience laugh at the jokes.
I was so proud of the work that everyone put into the show. What a fantastic end to a great summer.