WALKING THE BEAT
An Arts Education Collaboration between
The Fountain Theatre and The Elizabeth Youth Theater Ensemble in partnership with
Hollywood Police Activities League
BEGINNING JUNE 2019
In partnership with Elizabeth Youth Theater Ensemble and Hollywood Police Activities League, The Fountain Theatre proudly introduces Walking the Beat, a summer theater arts based program for inner city high school youth and police officers in the Hollywood area. This pioneering arts education program, originated by New Jersey’s Elizabeth Youth Theater Ensemble in 2016, and now expanding into Hollywood with The Fountain Theatre, will provide transformative experiences for police officers and underserved youth in Hollywood. Utilizing performing arts as a vehicle for youth empowerment and community building, Walking the Beat has transformed lives with a results-based arts education methodology and curriculum. This 10 week program builds confidence, character, communication skills, and community. Walking the Beat inspires — in students and officers alike — an appreciation for their common humanity, and a commitment to community and social justice.
Established in 2016, The Elizabeth Youth Theater Ensemble’s mission is centered upon strengthening the voices of young artists. Utilizing theater-arts based curricula, EYTE provides creative learning opportunities for inner city youth where they gain confidence, communication skills and self-awareness. EYTE seeks to provide experiences that empower youth, developing theater as a powerful place for community building and social justice.
Executive/Artistic Director: Theo Perkins. Theo was a 2015 honoree for Community Arts and Entertainment by the Union County Urban League Young Professionals. Theo’s producing credits include “Hands to the Sky” (African Movie Academy Award nomination), “Train(ed),” “Damn Wonderful,” and the new web series “HTMAST.” Theo is a 2016 NBCU Star Project Finalist. His television credits include guest star appearances on “Lie to Me” (Fox), Raising the Bar” (TNT), and “N.C.I.S” (CBS). Broadway: “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat.” Recent theater: “The Golden Dragon” (Boston Court;) “Fences” (International City Theatre), and “The Brothers Size” (Fountain Theatre). He has a BA from Morehouse College and an MFA Acting from UCLA’s TFT; GC -Executive Arts Leadership Program at the University of Southern California.
Curriculum Director & Program Facilitator: Angela Kariotis Called “a lithe and vital writer- performer” by The Star-Ledger, Angela Kariotis “possesses the raw energy to light up a small city” heralds The Chicago Reader. But it’s her sly and engaging use of language that makes her work memorable in dynamic performances that are serious and seriously funny. Angela has brought her unique performance style across America and beyond to venues such as The University of California- Los Angeles, Contact Theater in Manchester, UK, Legion Arts in Iowa, the Off-Center in Austin, TX, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and the Hip Hop Theater Festival in New York City. She is winner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, Tennessee Williams Theater Fellowship, and National Performance Network Creation Fund Award. With its deft balance of narrative, critique, and movement, as well as Angela’s visceral and fluid performance, her work has connected with audiences across the U.S.
Walking the Beat – Cops/Kids Residency is a creative writing, theater and multi-media residency for young people (grades 9-12) and police officers designed to reinforce positive interactions. Students and officers participate in creating original writing and performances about their neighborhood and what their own role can be in community safety.
Tackling the Epidemic: In 2016, The Guardian reported a total of 1,093 people killed by police officers in the United States. 449 of those murdered were of Black and Hispanic descent. According the Washington Post, 34% of those shot and killed were unarmed Black males. The Post also reported that Black males were three times more likely to get shot and killed than White males. On the flip side, in 2016 there were 63 police officers killed by gunfire, according to the Officer Downs Memorial Page. As these numbers continue to grow, so does the lack of trust between police officers and people of color. The anxiety felt in the presence of police officers, as a young African- American male, innocent of any crime, is real. And as an arts organization, we challenged ourselves to ask: what could we do to fix this? How can the arts be used as a tool to tackle these issues? We’ve chosen to do this with creative courage. Healthy civilian- police relations are vital to achieving vibrant communities. The Walking the Beat project works to reinforce positive interactions between police and young people through facilitated dialogue and improvisation. The residency brings local police officers together with high school students to devise a piece of theater focused on community policing. What most excites EYTE is having mobilized a large group of police officers in Elizabeth New Jersey. These officers are now excited about getting to know the young people in their community. And the students who participated are continuing to cultivate these relationships in their communities. These are the kind of results that EYTE and The Fountain Theatre hope to bring to Hollywood.
The Fountain is committed to theatre as a change agent and to serving the community. In these highly charged times, nothing is more urgent than promoting better understanding between young people of color and the police who serve their communities. EYTE’s WTB does just that and more. It changes lives. WTB’s powerful curriculum and methodology has been proven — through pre and post workshop interviews, surveys and testimonials — to produce real, on the ground change; it has brought inner city youth and police closer together in New Jersey. Our goal is to produce the same results in Southern California. Hollywood is a dense, urban neighborhood, and home to at least 23 known active gangs, tagger crews and party crews. More than 75% of the youth are people of color, and 85% live in poverty. We can serve these young people through WTB. We are seeking partners to support The Fountain and EYTE’s goal to bring WTB to Hollywood by Summer 2019.
Theory of Change: EYTE’s Theory of Change is motivated by the blatant tension between young people and law enforcement personnel across the United States, and specifically within urban communities. EYTE’s approach aligns with the research conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) which has found that teenagers of low socioeconomic status who have a history of “in-depth arts involvement” show better social and academic outcomes than youth who have less arts involvement. Most importantly, young adults who had intensive arts experiences in high school are more likely to show civic-minded behavior than young adults who did not.
w/ Cops & Teens
|Increase in positive interactions
between officers and community.
Short film presentation for
|Officers and students
working together in a
positive and fun way
|Content generated to
inspire stories that
counter negative interactions
|New cultural awareness training
for officers and conduct training
|Local implementation of
recommendation to police
of the program for communities
across the United States.
HOLLYWOOD PAL serves low-income youth particularly in Hollywood and its environs by building positive relationships between law enforcement professionals and children in their community. PAL Hollywood believes that with police officers as their role models, youth develop meaningful values and that by investing in the personal and social development our youth, we are investing in the future of our community. Hollywood PAL is proud to partner with The Fountain Theatre and Elizabeth Youth Theatre Ensemble in bringing Walking The Beat to Hollywood.
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