|What Does It Take To Start?
At the heart of any art or performance activity is the talent of the young people involved. Your group's talents should support the goal of the performance, product, or show. Depending on the type of performance planned, your group may need musicians, dancers, set builders, sculptors, actors, stagehands, watercolorists, costume designers, makeup artists, or poets. Your group members should also agree on a central messagefor example, that they want to fight drug abuse, reduce hate crimes, or discourage violence. An adult may suggest an idea, but it is the young group members' commitment and talent that will communicate the message to the community.
As with any crime prevention project, the best way to ensure your group's success is by planning well. The three steps listed below can help you get started.
Your group needs to decide whom it will reach and what it will say. Is the target audience young people? Adults? Or maybe a group of mixed ages? Identifying the age group of the audience will help you decide how to present your message. A modern dance performance presented to young children, for example, may need to be narrated and have more frequent intermissions than one performed for adults.
At the same time, consider what subject or message your group wants to emphasize. Do you want to present one general idea such as "Stop the Violence"? Or do you want to relay specific information to the audience, such as how to prevent date rape? If you want to present only one theme, you could sponsor an exhibit of different paintings on that theme at your school or community center. Focusing on art dealing with one subject may make a stronger statement than including dozens of paintings on dozens of different crime prevention themes. If you decide to concentrate on a more complex issue such as date rape or substance abuse, consider doing a play or skit.
After you decide on the audience and message, you'll have to determine what you'll need for your activity. Will you need costumes, performance or exhibit space, rehearsal space, materials for props, music, a performance program, a way to publicize the event?
Some of these items may be donated by schools, churches, universities, or businesses. Use your school's public address system or school newspaper to ask for donations. You may also be able to obtain discounts or sponsorship from local businesses. Let them know that donations may result in excellent publicity. A local printing shop may be willing to give you a discount on printing if you agree to provide free advertising in your program.
Although your arts and performances program is an activity led and performed by youth, you'll probably need assistance from one or more adults. Recruit at least one adult to be your sponsor or adviser. Community members with experience in the artsdrama teachers, parents, neighbors, local community theater actorsmay donate special talent or agree to act as advisers, coaches, or directors. It's important to make a thorough list of your project's needs right away and to keep adding to it as new needs arise.
A third major task is developing a realistic schedule for your presentation or display. In creating a schedule, consider such things as whether you're presenting a published work or bringing a brand new play or song to the stage. A new work may take longer to produce but may be worth the wait. Likewise, if your artists don't paint well under pressure, leave plenty of time in your schedule to allow them to work effectively.
You'll also need to:
Find out when space is available.
Assess how long it will take to make costumes.
Determine how long it will take to construct and paint sets and collect or make
Thinking about and planning for these factors will help you develop an overall timeline and allow you to be ready for your performance or display.