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Events, Families, People

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Education and Enforcement to speak prior to Oct. 20 performance at First Parish Church on Congress Street, Portland
Gorham, Biddeford, Portland, Maine – Add Verb Productions and the University of Southern Maine’s Department of Theatre will present a collection of theatre pieces from the Out & Allied Project October 18-20, 2010, coinciding with National Ally Week.  The events are free and open to the public, and suitable for middle and high school students.
Performances will take place as follows: Monday, October 18 at USM’s Gorham Campus in Russell Hall; Tuesday, October 19 at the University of New England’s Biddeford Campus in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Student Union; and Wednesday, October 20 in Portland at the First Parish Church on Congress St.  All performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. 
Thom Harnett, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Education and Enforcement will speak prior to the Wed., Oct. 20 performance at the First Parish Church on Congress St. in Portland.  “Like many people my heart ached when I read of the suicide of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers.  It also ached when I read of what are referred to as the self-inflicted deaths of two 13-year-old boys, Seth Walsh of California and Asher Brown of Houston.  The list goes on.  We need to acknowledge that while the final act might be self-inflicted, the anti-gay torment that leads to those moments plays out right in front of us in schools, online and in our communities.  All members of our society, gay, straight or otherwise, need to speak up, speak out, and lend a caring hand by becoming allies for gay youth to prevent tragic stories like these from ever being told,” said Harnett.

This production of the Out & Allied Project features performance pieces that center around what it means to be an ally to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) youth.  Most of the poems, monologues and short plays are youth written and take a deeper look at life, love and acceptance. The pieces are slated to be published in an anthology this fall and will be made available to schools and youth groups across the U.S. 
Add Verb Productions is a Portland-based non-profit organization that provides health and wellness education through provocative theatre performances and aims to activate and empower bystanders. The ultimate goal is to build stronger, healthier communities. “In this collaboration, students from USM and UNE have written pieces in addition to submissions from across the U.S. and Canada.  Under Meghan Brodie’s direction, both schools have actors joining on the stage with community youth and adults,” said Add Verb Productions Executive Director Cathy Plourde. 
UNE’s Director of Multicultural Affairs Diversity Programs Donna Gaspar Jarvis recalls a performance from the Out & Allied Project held on campus last year: "Students really responded and it was a great catalyst for conversation.  The monologues were edgy, raw and real and provided an opportunity for students to hear stories and talk about subjects and issues that might not otherwise be addressed."
The production is funded by a grant from the Mukti Foundation and directed by USM Lecturer Meghan Brodie, PhD.  "I’m honored and amazed to have such an enormous and talented cast.  I had no idea there would be so much interest in this project.  It’s great to be doing a project with Add Verb and to have young writers get their work on stage."
To learn more about National Ally Week visit http://www.allyweek.org/

Events, Families, People