From press release:
ASHEVILLE, NC…June 8, 2014… Queer Youth Theatre/Young Voices is a community-based performance development collaboration between Youth OUTright (YO) and the Drama Department at the University of North Carolina – Asheville (UNCA). The project consists of two separate yet interconnected, complementary and mutually beneficial components; developing queer youth stories (Queer Youth Theatre) and presenting the queer youth experience to youth and adult audiences in Western North Carolina (Young Voices). There is no other organization nor collaboration in Western NC that exists to develop these young voices and collect them as a performance piece for either young or adult audiences.
According to Lise Kloeppel, artistic director for the collaboration, “In a ‘check-the-boxes’ kind of world, young people today, especially queer youth, are rarely given the opportunity to define their own identities or tell their own stories. The Queer Youth Theatre Project strives to create a safer space for youth who identify as outside the norm to boldly embrace their truth and fully celebrate who they are. Even in 2014, many queer youth struggle with issues related to bullying, rejection by families, homelessness, suicide, discrimination, violence and depression. Despite the statistics, I continue to be inspired by the queer youth I have the opportunity to know and work with who resist the ‘victim’ label and live each day with a kind of authenticity that many adults yearn to replicate. Through the process of working as an ensemble to develop an original theatre production based on their true-life stories, the project aims to transform despair into possibility, powerlessness into resiliency and silence into action.”
Youth OUTright, WNC, Inc., a 501c-3, not-for-profit organization, offers discussion groups and social activities for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, ages 14-23. Topics and activities are led by two trained facilitators. Youth OUTright’s mission is to empower LGBTQ youth to be confident and vital members of the greater community. For additional information, please visit: www.youthoutright.org