Empowerment of Youth Through Revolutionary Theatre

Mikaela Schmitt Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Courtney Mohler Butler University
Theatre Professor Rose Burnett Bonczek argues that theatre saves humanity because, “theater artists would someday be the only people left on the planet who would remember what it meant to be human – and that They’d need Us to teach the rest of the planet how to be human after They had forgotten.” Society handles controversy immaturely, often resorting to censorship which prohibits reasonable solutions for social issues pertaining to youth from being achieved. Youth-oriented theatre represents coming-of-age stories and moments of youth empowerment; immersing children into theatre enables them to liberate themselves from the confines adults set because performance demonstrates humans’ ability to empathize, and develops a willingness to candidly voice opinions. This presentation explores the ability of youth theatre to revolutionize the world through examining the development of Frank Wedekind’s play Spring Awakening, written in 1891, as well as the 2006 adaption of the play into a rock musical, created in response to the Columbine High School shooting. In 2017, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students began Never Again, a political action committee, in response to the deadly shooting at their school. At the time of the shooting, these teens were involved in a production of Spring Awakening. This presentation argues that Parkland survivors’ theatre training advanced their ability to advocate for their rights against oppressive leaders of the country. Spring Awakening parallels the students’ journey to create legislative change and illuminates the necessity of harnessing youth theatre’s revolutionary capacity in modern society.
Dance & Theatre
Oral Presentation

When & Where

01:45 PM
Lilly Hall 141