QCT Partners with Teen REACH
Quincy Community Theatre and Teen REACH have partnered to develop a theatre and civic action project named Quincy Teen Voices. Funded by a grant from Illinois Department of Human Services in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust, Quincy Teen Voices brings together a diverse ensemble of ten local teens to create a short theatrical piece inspired by the students’ real-life experiences with racial injustice, racial amity, and coming-of-age in modern America. The original play will be developed through writing, improv games, and discussion circles. It will culminate in a streamed presentation of the work in progress.
“We had been in the early stages of a collaboration with Teen REACH when this funding opportunity arose—Quincy Teen Voices is a perfect synthesis of both our organizations’ missions and a great starting point for a long-term, impactful relationship between QCT and Teen REACH,” said Brendan Shea, head of education and student theatre director. “I am delighted to work with a thoughtful, diverse ensemble of teens on this important project.”
QCT is the only community theatre to receive the Healing Illinois grant, a state-sponsored initiative to support racial healing projects across Illinois. One of the goals of this projects is to amplify the powerful words of our local teens to advance social justice and embrace identity.
“Teen REACH is excited about this partnership with QCT which gives our youth a platform that empowers them to use their voices to pioneer change; not only in their lives but also within our community,” said Cheryl Williams, executive director of Bella Ease.
At the completion of the planned six sessions, the ensemble’s short theatre piece will be shared in a public workshop event. More information on how to view the piece will be shared at the time. QCT hopes this pilot program will be the first of many Quincy Teen Voices programs to come, will open the door to new community collaborations, and will engage new and diverse community members with the mission of the theatre.
About Teen REACH
Bella Ease is a 501(c)3 non-profit that administers the Teen REACH program. Bella Ease was incorporated in 2014 but Teen REACH has been in Adams County for about 30 years. Teen REACH (Responsibility Education Achievement Caring Hope) is a youth development initiative that provides out of school services to all students. Youth aged 9 to 18 that are targeted for the program have one or more risk factors including: living in single parent household, having academic difficulties, truancy, been a victim or observer of violence (trauma), parents incarcerated, involved with justice system, pregnant or parenting, household on TANF or involved with DCFS. Bella Ease’s vision is to empower and build thriving, healthy children and families – at home, at school and at work. Society benefits when all people can participate, prosper and reach their full potential. We have a profound sense of responsibility but recognize we cannot do it alone. It takes a community to drive enduring change.