By Maya Brown

Maya Brown is a sophomore at Waterville Senior High School in Waterville Maine. She enjoys music, technology, photography, and anything related to theater. She has been a part of the Girls Advisory Board at Hardy Girls Healthy Women for three years, and a part of Hardy Girls since the beginning (10 years ago). She believes in empowering girls and women to speak out against the media and thinks that all girls should know how beautiful they really are. Maya is a part of her school’s GSA, school newspaper, and has co-founded a theater program called Act Out at her local elementary school. She’s excited to help SPARK this movement!

First, let me say that SPARK was awesome. I met, and “mingled” with, some pretty amazing girls and young women. One of my favorite parts of the day was getting to know all the great organizations that are working together to help us feel empowered. I was lucky enough to be part of the Street Theater workshop put on by Dana Edell from viBe Theater Experience, a non-profit where girls can create and rehearse their own performances. It’s a way for girls to feel like they can make a difference and have an impact on their community.

We began the workshop by doing an activity where we said something that made us mad, along with a motion. Answers ranged from the TV show Toddlers and Tiaras to when creepy guys hit on us. We then broke apart and created a monologue related to our action. We wrote the monologue as if we were talking to a member of the community, telling them something we needed them to know. I created mine to be performed in front of a sexist ad. I wanted the community to know that it wasn’t okay to show women in such a derogatory light. We performed the monologues and moved on to make an improv sketch in pairs. Dana gave a list of things for the sketch to include, like crying or a surprise; some more obvious than others. We performed these for each other as well and then it was time to take them on the road. The workshop was called Street Theater because we were supposed to perform these sketches in public to an audience that didn’t know we were performing them. They were made to sound like a regular conversation, but emotional enough for the audience to stay captivated. The goal was to give the audience something to think about, without knowing they had just witnessed an improv sketch

This workshop was incredible.  I love theater, but I had never heard of doing improv or any type of theater anywhere but on a stage before. I think it’s an amazing idea and very empowering because you’re getting your message across in a unique way. The viBe theater workshop really made me think about all the different ways we can learn to speak our minds.  Dana was great.  Anyone in the New York City Area should check out viBe theater, and even if you’re not in the city you can always keep in touch with them online at vibetheater.org.

The workshop was a powerful way to ignite SPARK.  We learned new ways to speak out against society and the sexualization of girls. The street theater was awesome because it empowered us to actively do something about what’s going on the world. Who knows, maybe someone who sees one of our performances will decide to get involved with SPARK. It’s an excellent way to spread the word.