Epic Citizens with Melissa Friedman (019)
Epic Theatre Ensemble is dedicated to fostering dialogue about current civic, social, and ethical issues. Epic is at once an off-Broadway theatre company that premieres professional productions and an arts education powerhouse with an array of award-winning programs for students—in school, after school, and during the summer. It’s a collaborative of teaching artists and students who believe that participation in theatre is essential to a healthy democracy, and that this kind of engaging theatre experience should be a hallmark of U.S. education for all students. This episode features highlights of my conversation with Melissa Friedman, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Epic Theatre Ensemble, as well as some examples of the amazing work Epic does to engage students as citizens. (Photo by Ron Russell.)
One episode can hardly do justice to the scope of Epic’s work with young people, let alone the different kinds of shows they mount throughout the year. The Epic website will not only inform you about coming attractions, but also much of the organization’s history that we didn’t have room for.
This month’s episode features clips from Laundry City, an original work commissioned by New York Appleseed and Teachers College, Columbia University that was written and performed by Epic students. Dealing with segregated schools in NYC, the title plays on the stark metaphor of keeping white and colored clothes separate. The full performance runs about 30 minutes, followed by student-led discussion with the audience. Featuring Olivia Dunbar, Jeremiah Green Jr., Salma Hassan, Davion Osbourne, and Nakkia Smalls.