The Theater Offensive: Local Focus, International Impact

ArtsFwd asks the Innovation Lab grantees: What is the biggest question you and your team are wrestling with as you head into the intensive retreat?

TTO’s Executive Artistic Director and Pride Youth Theatre Alliance (PYTA)’s Co-Chair going through data from a survey sent out to PYTA members.
TTO’s Executive Artistic Director and Pride Youth Theatre Alliance (PYTA)’s Co-Chair going through data from a survey sent out to PYTA members.

This is the first post from Daunasia Yancey about The Theater Offensive’s experience in the Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts. We asked her to reflect on the team’s thinking before heading to a five-day focused retreat. Read more from the other Lab participants here.

What is the biggest question our team is wrestling with as we head into the intensive retreat?

The biggest question that The Theater Offensive’s 
Innovation Lab Team is wrestling with as we head into the retreat is: What do we want the relationship between The Theater Offensive: OUT In Your Neighborhood (OUThood) and The Pride Youth Theater Alliance to look like in the future?

Everyone is invested in ensuring that the relationship between these two initiatives is not just benign, but actually beneficial to The Theater Offensive’s ongoing work. While in our retreat at the Airlie Center, we will interview a few key people in the field who have gone through similar processes, and we are also soliciting input from members of PYTA’s Executive Committee.

We have already asked PYTA members what their wishes are for this relationship. Dreaming is a theme I have heard repeated in our meetings and conversations with them and is one one that I find quite poignant. From my perspective, all of The Theater Offensive’s work comes back to our dreams of a better world, one in which OUTness is celebrated and OUT residents are fully engaged in their neighborhoods.

Our hope is that the Innovation Lab process will help us keep our eyes on that goal locally while also supporting PYTA to expand on it nationally. I am excited to be working with such a fantastic group of dreamers and to be led on this journey of discovery by our brilliant EmcArts facilitator, John Shibley.

About The Theater Offensive’s Innovation Lab project

The Theater Offensive (TTO)’s project asks: What is the impact of our newly formed Pride Youth Theater Alliance (PYTA) – a strategic alliance supporting and encouraging Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth theater in North America? How will this new model affect TTO’s work local as it takes on this new initiative on an international scale?

About
Daunasia Yancey is an African-American, aggressive-femme lesbian, and sexual health educator who has worked for several Boston-area community based organizations and served on the Boards of Directors of Boston’s Alliance of GLBT Youth and the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. She is taking time off from pursuing an (expensive) degree in Public Health while continuing to change the world. Daunasia is Assistant to the Executive Artistic Director at The Theater Offensive, whose philosophy of OUTness as a tool to create safe, vibrant neighborhoods resonates with Daunasia’s commitment to the vitality of her community.