We will announce the first winner of the Morgan J. Penn Scholarship for leadership in social change.
This year, we served over 250 students, and engaged over 1000 audience members throughout the community. We have achieved these results by conducting the following activities.
Spring Program -- During this partnership with The Inter-district School For Arts And Communications ( I.S.A.A.C), twenty students and four youth leaders created on an original production entitled, Unmasked. This show was centered on important social and personal issues of identity. The students were taught skills in writing, dance, acting and performance techniques.
Sailfest - 8 Block Captains performed at this annual town celebration. Their performance made the New London Day headlines.
CT Landmarks Presidents Banquet - eight students were invited to perform.
Summer at the Block - In partnership with CT Landmarks and the Hempstead House of New London, students created an original performance to examine slavery, past and present. Students brainstormed modern day slavery and compared it to the life of the slave Adam Jackson, showing that, in order to know where we are going, we must know where we have come from. In addition, students touched on economical slavery, mental and emotional enslavement, being a slave to society, racial enslavement and the institutional mindsets.
Other highlights of the program were:
- For 10 weeks, 30 students and 10 youth leaders studied the story of Joshua Hempstead and Adam Jackson, conducted field research with visits to museums and historic sites throughout the state, explored the themes of slavery and social justice.
- Students participated in a Judy Dworin dance workshop learning the importance of movement in theater.
- Students visited The Eugene O'Neill Theater to see the original musical Goddess, meeting the writers and cast afterwards.
- Dwight Baldwin conducted a drum workshop, where they learned the importance of rhythm.
- Students visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum, following which they had a workshop with casting director Clara Levinson.
- During a trip to the Pequot Museum, the students learned about the struggle of the Pequot people for survival.
- Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration - Ten students performed original poems and songs that spoke about the social change that Martin Luther King fought for the injustice that still exists today.
- The Hempstead House - Students conducted an "open house" event. Each student chose a location in the Hempstead House that they found most enlightening. They created a character related to the history of the house and "brought the house to life" as people from the community toured through it. The monologues were written entirely by the students.
Fall semester- 15 students participated in dance, acting and writing class centered around a theme that they collectively chose.
Proclamation from the Town -- Writers Block students performed at the City Council meeting, where the students were issued a proclamation of support by the Mayor of New London.
Girls on the Block - An 8-week college aged program brought students from Connecticut College together to discuss prominent social issues and concerns for young women. 15 participated and were offered workshops on such issues as drug abuse, domestic violence, and depression.
Boys on the Block - This 8-week college aged program was designed specifically for young men. Topics include gun violence, STD's, domestic abuse, and self-worth. The students translated these thoughts into written word, poetry, dance and music.