Dear oh deary me! It’s been almost a whole week since I last posted! Apologies for letting time get away from me – I spent the first 2.5 days this week traveling across the desert from Austin to LA and camping along the way – needless to say I did not have internet access, let alone could I charge my computer! Upon arriving in LA, I checked into a hostel, which, while full of lovely international peeps, was a mite bit crowded and had REEEEEEALLY slow internet. Plus I think I was catching up on sleep lost while on the road, and adjusting to the two hour time difference. At long last, I have found a lovely co-op which has taken me in, and am starting to get settled into life in LA.
Ok, enough with the excuses. Time to get you all caught up! Today I’d like to spotlight one of the very coolest organizations that I checked out while I was in Austin: Grrl Action!
Program format: Arts mentorship program.
Art form(s): Primarily theatre, but incorporates many different art forms.
Location: Austin, TX
Community served: Girls roughly between the ages of 13-18.
Mission: To help teenage girls find voice and vision through the power of performance.
Grrl Action is an awesome program that focuses on developing artistic/theatre skills in teenage girls, and in doing so helping them to find their voice. They are a subsidiary program of the Rude Mechs professional theatre company. Two cool things about their program: 1. It’s a very safe space for girls to come together and explore things that are important to them, and 2. They have a great mix of girls – because of their connection with Rude Mechs, they get daughters of patrons of the theatre, but they also offer full scholarships and work with public housing, so they get girls from lower income backgrounds as well. The girls learn a lot from each other and really seem to open up and blossom in the space.
A key philosophy shared with me by co-director Madge Darlington was actress Deb Margolin’s idea that, “Your everyday lives are worthy of performance. Everyone has a story to tell.” I really connect with what this organization is doing because it resonates so much with what theatre did for me, but it takes it to the next level. Theatre gave me a voice, it was an outlet for me to experience the world and learn to feel comfortable in my own skin. Yet this idea that “your everyday lives are worthy of performance” goes a step further: it encourages girls to find the value in their own lives, to examine what they have experienced, learn from it, and create something beautiful to share with the world.
Cool news: a sister branch of Grrl Action is in the works for Boston!