Global Girls now runs programs in eight Chicagoland schools, five elementary and three high school. We still host two after school programs at the Global Studio, one for girls ages 6 to 13 and the second one for coed teens. For almost 20 years, Global Girls has collected and staged African American female stories. Those stories capture the trials, challenges, victories, loves, losses and everyday comings and goings of average people in their own voices. The Global Theatre Collaborative adult company is now recognized for its cutting edge take on adult subjects. While we debuted two new productions in the last season In This House and Brighter Days, we still get requests to perform My Vagina. My Voice, our signature piece. The ensemble took the play to South Bend, Indiana and East St. Louis, Illinois in 2018. We’ve been asked to bring it to four other cities this year. In July, we will perform for a national audience at the Sexual Health conference at the Marriott Hotel on Michigan Ave. We have also been asked to stage the production and host workshops for high school juniors and seniors and their mothers.
The production opened many doors and opportunities for collaboration. Global Girls will soon partner with eta creative arts foundation. We also no have a partnership with the Logan Center through the University of Chicago Accelerator program. We have been invited to perform at the University of Chicago’s new black box theatre “the Greenline” and to consider a residency. The meeting to discuss details is set for next week.
Our next major youth production will highlight 10-year-old Destiny who has blossomed during the three years she has participate in Global Girls to become one of the principle youth company dancers and actresses. Destiny is in 4th grade at one of the neighborhood schools where she is also on the principal’s honor list each semester. Working with the older girls and under the tutelage of caring and talented teaching artists, Kiara and Ryonn, Destiny gladly accepts challenging roles and dance choreography. She even coaches some of the other girls between rehearsals when they are having trouble with steps or routines.
One new project involves soliciting young dramatists to bring their works to us and stage them in our theatre as part of our “Budding playwrights” series. The theatre program includes evening and Saturday acting, movement and writing workshops. Our goal is a troupe of 12 consistent ensemble members who can be called on to perform in productions as well as lead workshops. Lastly, we want to grow our audiences by performing in the community and enticing them to become patrons of the arts not just single show ticket purchasers. A distant dream is a state-of-the-art theatre where we can train youth and adults in all aspects of theatre and provide a beautiful facility right in our community for our community.
Dec 5, 2018
"I never thought I could dance!"
By MARVINETTA WOODLEY-PENN - Executive Director
rehearsal for the show
“I never thought I could dance. My mom always told me I had no rhythm. But, in Global Girls I’m dancing, and I love it!” Angela is a 7-year old special needs child who recently joined our afterschool program, Young Women on the Move. She misses session when she has emotional outbursts in school, and her mom has to leave work to attend to her. Now that Angela is learning dance and acting techniques with staff and other girls who accept and appreciate her just the way she is, her disruptive bouts in the classroom have lessened. Her mom is happy. Angela is glad to be in the holiday performance, and we are thrilled with her progress.
Angela’s story is one of many where the girls we engage are learning, making better choices and striving to be their personal best everyday in our afterschool program, in four school partnership programs and two programs in collaboration with other community-based organizations.
Thanks to donations from friends and supporters, known and unknown by us, we are now impact 42% more girls compared to this time last year. We’ve hired two new teaching artists and will add a resource assistant and an office manager in February. A team of interns from the University of Chicago will lead our five-year strategic planning initiative starting in January.
We are huge fans of Lin-Manuel-Miranda’s “Hamilton”. The youth company performs several choreographed musical numbers from the show. It has been their dream with for months to see it live and onstage. Finally, after much planning and deliberations, 25 youth and family members saw “Hamilton” live on the CIBC theatre in downtown Chicago. The youth sold popcorn, held dance party fundraisers and did chores for friends and family members to raise money for the tickets. Two of our team members met people from the cast after the show. They’ve stayed in contact. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that cast members might come to our little studio on the south side of Chicago to work with our girls in a couple of weeks!
The Grenada girls will be in Chicago over Easter break in 2019. Stay tuned for updates and pictures. For now, the teaching artists and youth are very busy preparing for holiday performances and lots of fun. Happy Holidays to everyone!
Global Girls spent the summer with 80 youth in our 8th annual Youth Performance camp. Now we are looking forward to working with another 800 during the upcoming school year in our community and nine school-based programs. Girls and a few boys ages 5 to 18 will engage in intensive, sequential communication, collaboration and critical-thinking skill development which helps them become excellent performers and engaged, focused and high achieving students at their respective schools. We are rolling out an improved curriculum to best our impressive impact from last year. 80% of our youth participants were on the honor rolls at the end of the 2017-18 school year, 100% progressed to the next grade level, 78% participated in other extra-curricular activities and 92% reported that they applied skills learned in Global Girls session when collaborating or resolving conflicts with others.
Global Girls student outcomes include increasing participant social/emotional skill development through mindfulness training which we began during the summer youth performance camp with very impressive results. Youth remembered 80% of the terms, used the terms in their interactions with others and, in their exit reports, said that the mindfulness training was one of the highlights of their summer. All said that they used the practice outside of Global Girls and had talked about mindfulness with their parents at least once.
The youth also partnered with a local senior residence other the summer to share thier passion for theatre with the "young at heart" and help others rediscover uninhibited fun. During five weekly rehearsals, they created and practiced a play based on senior stories. 12 seniors started the project, eight performed in the finale before thier peers, family members and community supporters. "I haven't had this much fun since I wa a child," said an 82-year old actress after the show as she hugged one of the girls who had played her daugher in the skit. We'll conintue that relationship in the fall. How could we not?
In the culminating event, summer camp youth took the stage and lit it up with nearly 100 points of light Thursday, August 2nd at the annual Youth Performance Camp Showcase. The audience of nearly 300 laughed, applauded and cheered as the campers sang, danced and acted displaying all the skills they had mastered in our “Summer of Mindfulness” themed sessions. Youth as young as four and as old as 18 were nervous backstage, but once they stepped in front of the lights and the audience, they shined brightly like diamonds. Parents, friends and community members lavished praise on all of the performers. Thanks to tour many supporters, Global Girls is taking pride in Chicago’s south side by building assets – our youth.