Young Audiences Brings NYC's Literature to Life to Rochester

May 18 & 19, 2015 - ROCHESTER, NY – In association with Young Audiences New York, Young Audiences of Rochester presented a Literature to Life® stage presentation of Black Boy by Richard Wright, performed by Tarantino Smith, and adapted and directed by Wynn Handman. LITERATURE TO LIFE (LTL), The American Place Theatre’s performance-based literacy program, provided a two-day residency at World of Inquiry School #58, 200 University Avenue, Rochester, NY on May 18 & 19 as scheduled below:
Monday, 5/18
AM: Pre-show workshop with targeted ELA class
8:30 – 11:00AM: Performance of Black Boy for approximately 100 10th grade students
Between 1:15 and 3:30pm PM: Performance of Black Boy for 3rd grade students
Tuesday, 5/19
8:30-10:30AM: Post-show workshop with targeted ELA class
PM: Additional Post-show workshop with targeted ELA Class
A verbatim adaptation of the classic American autobiographical work, Black Boy dramatizes Richard Wright's journey from childhood innocence to adulthood in the Jim Crow South. The issues addressed in this novel still resonate in today's cultural dialogue. Having premiered at the Kennedy Center, this Literature to Life original was adapted for the stage in 2005 and marked one of the first on their roster to tour to educational communities nationally. The show features fifty minutes of verbatim performance from the first half of this epic American novel. A tour de force, the actor plays upwards of fifteen characters from Richard Wright’s past. The journey focuses on Richard’s hunger for knowledge and his fight to claim his basic human rights in a racist society. Surrounded by an interactive pre and post show discussion, the audience will explore themes including Racism and Individualism/Non Conformity. Black Boy © 1944 Richard Wright. Published by Perennial Classics and used by permission of the author.
Audience Response
"It was clear that seeing Black Boy live on stage drew in students who have a hard time connecting to what they read... who might have otherwise missed out on its resonance with their own experiences and struggles."
LTL presents professionally staged verbatim adaptations of significant American literary works. This educational program gives students a new form of access to literature by bringing to life the world of books with performances that create an atmosphere of discovery and spark the imagination. LTL has already provided a catalyst for learning and self-expression for over 400,000 students nation-wide. The Theatre, having received over 30 Obies and 16 Audelcos, is critically acclaimed as a birthing place for artistic endeavors at the crossroad of literature and live performance for now 48 years. LTL aims to provide students and teachers with high quality theatre, literature and creative education experiences, to enhance students' engagement during the learning process and their achievement in standards-based units of study, to empower teachers to use LTL methodology to educate more creatively, and to establish sustainable partnerships with schools using LTL integrated Literature to Life program.
About Young Audiences of Rochester:
For over 50 years, Young Audiences of Rochester, NY (YA), the largest, most comprehensive, multi-modal nonprofit arts learning organization in upstate NY, has been the premier resource and provider of award-winning, innovative, quality arts learning experiences for children and youth from cradle to college and careers. As part of a national Network, YA is a respected leader and catalyst for arts integration, inspiring and connecting artists, cultural and educational organizations and providing innovative teaching and learning opportunities. Their primary mission is to use the arts for life-long learning, with a vision of preparing generations of critical thinkers, innovators, and responsible citizens, prepared for life and work in the 21st Century global marketplace.
About Literature To Life:
Created by The American Place Theatre, and now a program of Young Audiences New York, Literature to Life is a theatre-based literacy program that presents professionally staged, verbatim adaptations of significant American literary works in educational settings across the country.
For booking inquiries about this or any other of Young Audiences New York’s Literature to Life arts and literacy programs, please contact Gwen Brownson, Director of National Programs at Literature to Life; 212.319.9269. Visit us online at
About Young Audiences New York (YANY):
Young Audiences New York is one of New York City's oldest and most well respected arts education organizations. Their programs connect highly skilled teaching artists with schools and communities throughout the country. They take pride in understanding a partner's objectives and needs and fulfilling those goals with their diverse program offerings.
Contact(s): Lydia Boddie-Rice, CEO, P. 585.530.2060 x209; E:
Sheelerani (Sheela) Webster, Principal, P. 585.325.6170; E:
Date of Event: 
Monday, May 18, 2015 - 8:30am
World of Inquiry School #58
200 University Avenue
14605 Rochester , NY
United States
New York US

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