2016/17 Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award

Recipient: Rachel Rhoades

Young People’s Theatre (YPT) is delighted to announce the first recipient of the Ada Slaight Drama-in-Education Award. Rachel Rhoades will receive a cash award of $10,000, made possible through the support of The Slaight Family Foundation.

Rachel Rhoades is a Ph.D. Candidate studying at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, pursuing graduate research work with a focus on Applied Theatre. She will use the award to engage youth participants in Toronto and Boston in Youth Artists for Justice, which applies theatre creation techniques to respond to the question, “What do you wish you had more influence over in society?” Each group of young people will create a theatrical piece pertaining to their chosen topic. With support from Rhoades, the youth will identify a target audience, dramatic techniques appropriate for their intended message, desired political outcome, and a method for determining the impact of their piece.

The potential for Rhoades’ findings to mobilize action and change within the sector is exciting. With this research, Rhoades challenges societal assumptions around youth commitment to civic engagement by involving youth in participatory politics. This project, like YPT’s Three Up program, is another international online program for high school-aged youth. Youth Artists for Justice’s virtual collaboration between youth from the United States and Canada will inform discourses of cross-cultural education and solidarity through technological and artistic exchange.