Collaborations, Community

Albany School of Humanities: Identity Project

"Theater serves many functions in our modern society.  Sometimes it simply entertains the masses, serving as a reprieve from our ordinary lives. Theater can also be a place where we come to find ourselves collectively and as individuals."  Noelle Gentile

Noelle Gentile is a producer and director as well as an artistic educator at the Albany City School District. Over the course of the past few years she has been directing several workshops at Albany High School. These workshops have been focusing on how the students finds themselves collectively and as individuals. Groups of students gathered after school and shared their stories, in which later on became "The Identity Project". Noelles work is based on the fact that everyone has a story, and theater is a place where social change can be created. 

"Those creating education legislation are constantly scrambling to find the answer, the remedy that will fix education.  With such complicated issues and so many ideas on solutions it is easy to overlook the very simple truth: when you create time and space for young people to express themselves, to hear one another; community is forged and with this, the potential is limitless. The arts create those spaces."

This year, with the help from the Albany High School students, Noelle brought the Identity Project to Albany School of Humanities. 65 elementary students wrote and performed their unique individual pieces, using live theater, movement, spoken word, film and music. Fellows Ché Perez and Frida Foberg and Artists in Residence Alexandra Sirotovich, Francisco Perez and Stephen Sheehan were invited to engage the students in art making and set design to create the individualized environments the performances were framed by.