(BOSTON) – The Huntington Theatre Company presents Know the Law!, a play by and about urban youth performed by Boston teenagers, at Dorchester’s Kroc Center Friday, June 29 at 7pm and June 30 at 2pm.
Designed specifically for an urban audience, the 40-minute play interweaves stories of teenagers in trouble. Teen actors present authentic scenes that teach their peers how a better understanding of Massachusetts law can help them to make informed choices and stay out of trouble. A conversation among the actors, audience, and an MBTA Transit Police Officer police officer follows each performance.
“Many Boston teens encounter legally compromising or dangerous situations every day,” says Naheem Garcia, Huntington Theatre Company Education and Community Associate and co-author of Know the Law! “The teens we work with consistently report that this program helps them be better prepared for their everyday life.” Garcia’s co-author is Amanda Pyne. In the past three years, Know the Law! has reached more than 1,000 teens through performance.
To mount Know the Law!, a group of 25 teenaged peer leaders hired by Youth and Police in Partnership (YPP) receive free acting training and direction over six months from the Huntington teaching artists. Beyond the coaching that they receive in acting and speech, this group of Boston students participates in writing and vocabulary programs and work collaboratively with the Huntington’s teaching artists to improve and update the production. The current company of actors includes residents from Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, the South End, and other Boston neighborhoods.
William Codinha, a Huntington Trustee, Partner at Nixon Peabody and longtime Know the Law! fan, remarks, “Know the Law! is community outreach and education at its most meaningful. Young people are engaged and made to think about their lives, and the consequences of their actions in real life and real world situations. The students are the actors, but the world they live in is their stage. It is very real, very perceptive and a learning experience for the actors and the audiences.”
The Huntington’s Education Department developed Know the Law! in 1998 and runs the program as a collaboration with YPP, a program of Children’s Services of Roxbury, Inc. Know the Law! was developed through a collaboration between the Huntington Theatre Company’s Department of Education and Community Programs, the Boston Police Department, and community leaders. It is sponsored in part by a grant from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
The Huntington Theatre Company’s Department of Education and Community Programs is one of the most extensive, impacting, and admired theatre education departments in the country. Over the past 30 years, its nationally recognized programs have served more than 300,000.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
Since its founding in 1982, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading theatre company. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington is in residence at Boston University. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.
ABOUT YOUTH & POLICE IN PARTNERSHIP (YPP)
YPP is a program of Children’s Services of Roxbury, Inc. in collaboration with the MBTA Transit Police Department. The program seeks to improve the relationship between inner-city youth, residents and the Police Department, and to address community problems. Components of YPP include Roundtable Discussions that are designed to enhance communication and build relationships between youth, police, and community; speaker presentations regarding youth violence prevention; community safety, and youth violence prevention and community safety best practices models. The recently established Police Recruit & Youth Mentor Relationship component of YPP brings together youth and police recruits through training and mentoring relationships. The agreement, which was signed in June of this year, matches Boston Police Academy cadets/recruits and YPP youth in mentoring relationships.