Young students from RS Payne Elementary School hustled from their buses to their seats in the Academy’s Warehouse Theatre last Wednesday, March 15, in anticipation for the performance of “I Have a Dream” by the Virginia Repertory.
Virginia Repertory is known and commended internationally for excellence as a touring theatre company for young audiences. Having been based out of Richmond since 1975, they tour in Virginia and across the country, producing educational plays to schools and public venues.
The performers captivated their young audience on Wednesday, as they brought to life the moving and inspiring story of one of the most influential and charismatic leaders of the American Century, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Depicted in “I Have a Dream”, after the arrest of Rosa Parks, Dr. King puts into action his philosophy of nonviolent protest. Inspiring the nation, he gains recognition and becomes a dominant force in the Civil Rights Movement during its decade of greatest achievement.
The story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is saturated with real life value and important lessons that are even relevant in current society. The Academy feels it is important for the young minds of today to be reminded of the social and cultural history of America, and inspired by the people who have made an impact for the better.
Evan Smith, Director of Community Outreach shared, “Dr. King is an important civil rights figure among the many, often forgotten, individuals who gave their lives fighting for justice. Celebrating his legacy on stage with VA Rep’s I Have a Dream is an important reminder of how far we still have to go as a nation.” He added, “The arts can be powerful story telling tool which can inspire others to act, and we were fortunate to be able to share this story with the students of RS Payne.”
Access to live theatre is important to students because it provides an opportunity to witness stories performed by real people before their eyes, something that is not offered by many mediums these days. For this, and many other reasons, the Academy is motivated to provide opportunities for students to have live theatre experiences that teach and inspire their young minds.
During this event, at least 450 students were able to walk away bearing the benefits of an educational live theatre experience.
Thanks to sponsors Areva and Pacific Life, the event was not ticketed, giving the students the opportunity to freely enjoy a performance that was equally educating as it was enthralling.
Learn more about other Academy Community Outreach initiatives here academycenter.org/community-outreach