Cindy Says: Find your people....globally!

Cindy Says: Find your people....globally!

By Cindy Ripley on September 30, 2019

I'm heading home from an incredible two-and-a-half weeks down under at our Junior Theatre Celebrations in New Zealand and Australia, #jtcnz19 & jtcoz. Working with local students on piloting, Moana JR and Finding Nemo KIDS, two shows that are authentic to their individual culture is an experience I have treasured, and will unpack in the future to help teachers and directors everywhere use these new works to connect their students with the world through theatre. A striking fourteen-year old boy from Australia shared this reflection after his experience of creating a show with new kids from all over the country. "In school I'm often ostracized for being a theatre kid...I finally found my people."

As teachers and directors, every day you help students feel comfortable in their own skin through the arts and "find their people". So why not take a positive risk and connect your kids globally? One of our Freddie G recipients, Bridgette Burrows from Charlotte, NC did just that and took a group to the Junior Theatre Celebration in Australia. A Sydney Bridge climb, holding a koala and performing internationally certainly are lasting keepsakes, but the kids would tell you the best souvenir was making new best friends with cool accents that have summer when they have winter.

Many teachers and directors dream about taking their kids on global adventures, but are intimidated by what seems like a daunting task. I guarantee if your dream is energized, you can do it, and I have an army of ideas in my back pocket to help you get started.

Here are a few thoughts on how to begin connecting globally:

  • Start small. Attend a local, state or national workshop, festival or celebration.
  • Bring a guest to YOU to work with your students. A different voice + same message = gold.
  • Begin online. Pen pals, Skype, FaceTime, stream & share. The global world is at your fingertips.
  • Decide to go for the travel: research, plan, connect, re-assess; continue to dream, re-assess; launch and then call me for a pat on the back.

You know the feeling three quarters of the way into a show wondering if your production has any chance of transforming into your original vision? And then it does. It always does.

Take a positive risk. You have a global community in your corner, and they are over-the-top excited to find their kids new friends in the United States.

Take a big breath and dream dramatically. Yes, I am in a little Kiwi and Aussie afterglow, but my paradigm is enriched one-hundredfold. CR

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