The Broadway Theatre League Teams up with Community to Help Utica Teens and Families

November 17, 2011

The Broadway Theatre League of Utica, Inc., The Utica Municipal Housing Authority, and the Stanley have partnered to provide a community theatre program for at-risk teens and their families.

In an effort to encourage Utica teens and their families to attend theatre on a regular basis, The Broadway Theatre League of Utica, Inc., is sponsoring four Family First Nights over the next two seasons.  Family First Nights are made possible through a new audience development grant from The Broadway League of New York City.  The grant will subsidize the cost of tickets and transportation for teens and their families to attend Broadway Theatre League performances, as will additional funds and contributions from The Broadway Theatre League of Utica, Inc., The Stanley, and Utica Municipal Housing Authority.

Peter Pan, showing November 15, 16, and 17, is the first show chosen for the Family first Night series.  In Peter Pan, Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby takes flight in her Tony-nominated and Emmy Award-winning role as the boy who won’t grow up.  Based on that very topic, Teaching Artists in Theatre, Shannon Enders and Ann Carey, will teach a series of theatre classes to explore what life is like for at-risk teens growing up in Utica.  Under the direction of Enders and Carey, the group will work toward a collection of scenes and monologues, which will be shaped into a full-length theatrical production and shared with peers, families, and the larger community in late January.

Enders and Carey, founders and directors of Renaissance City Theatre, an institute which uses dramatic arts as a primary tool to positively contribute to the quality of life for at-risk populations, will use interactive theatre techniques to help teens look at choices, analyze strategies, and think critically about the consequences of decisions and the possibilities of solving dilemmas.  Teens will then move forward to create realistic characters grounded in difficult life circumstances, characters that, while coming of age, face conflicts and moments of critical decisions.  A collection of scenes and monologues will be shared with peers, families, and the larger community in a theatrical showcase scheduled for late January.

For more information about Family First Nights, contact Shannon Enders at (315) 982-0439 or

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