Before I was a YPT staff member, I was a YPT student. I was fifteen years old, and I was pretty unhappy. YPT gave me the opportunity to engage in my education, which was something I wasn’t doing very much of at the time. I wrote a play called The Fear and the Pope in which I imagined an alter ego named Nick Tifar. Nick Tifar was a girl criminal. During the course of the play she broke hearts, stood up to her best friend, fell in love, and kidnapped the Pope. Nick Tifar was confident. She never apologized for herself. She knew what she wanted and she didn’t have any problem going after it. This was what I needed to write at that point in my life. It was a way of dreaming.
I was so lucky that The Fear and the Pope was selected for production. You can’t imagine the pride I felt, watching my very first play being performed by professional actors at the Folger Theater, watching my crazy fantasy come to life.
I realized that I was blessed to have art in my life. Later, I was able to recognize that so many DC students aren’t as lucky as I was. I love my job because we do more than teach literacy skills. We use the art of playwriting to support students as they grow, change, and discover who they are.
When I read my students’ work, I sometimes wonder what it is in their lives that makes them dream up a seagull who believes she can fly to the moon, or a super hero who can transform into a tornado, or an owl who writes in her diary when she’s sad. I know that these are the stories they need to tell, and I believe they have a right to tell them.
So, yes, it most definitely matters!
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YPT Program Manager