In this workshop on Memoir Theatre, Meade Palidofsky shares the process and techniques she has developed to help incarcerated youth relay their personal stories and, from them, create a theatrical collage of scene and song for performance. This process involves developing a common theme while investigating relationships, environment, and emotional consequences. Through it, the young people are able to examine their lives and choices, integrate past trauma into the present, and move toward more positive futures.
A similar (if modified) approach can be applied to varying populations in different settings (e.g., businesses, senior centers, classrooms), or even to the collected narratives of the same person, with the objective of achieving insight and creating a new work of art.
In this presentation, Meade and her musical director/composer, Ozivell Ecford, will lead participants through some of the elements of this usually-year-long process of turning individual personal narratives into a collaborative production.
Meade Palidofsky is the founder and artistic director of Storycatchers Theatre (storycatcherstheatre.org), a youth development arts organization that prepares young people to make positive life choices through the process of writing, producing, and performing original musical theatre inspired by their personal stories.
Since the company’s inception in 1984, it has been recognized with numerous awards and fellowships, including the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in 2013, which Meade accepted from Michelle Obama at the White House for the company’s work with detained and incarcerated youth.
Meade’s work with court-involved youth has been profiled on NPR, in the Chicago Tribune, and other local media, and in nationally-released documentaries and academic studies. Nationally recognized figures such as Ira Glass, host of This American Life, and Shirley Brice-Heath with the Stanford Center on Adolescence have pointed to Palidofsky’s approach as an example of creative youth development programming that works.
Ozivell Ecford is a composer, playwright, actor, and lyricist who has worked with Storycatchers Theatre since 2003. His composition experience ranges from classical to modern, and he performs as a hip-hop producer, musician, and lyricist throughout the country as O.Z. Bangaz, and with the band Kick Bricks. He regularly serves as a teaching actor and composer for all of Storycatchers’ programs for detained and incarcerated youth. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in multimedia design and interactivity from the International Academy of Design and Technology, and has studied theatre and acting at DePaul University’s Theatre School.
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