Loose the Voices' is an award winning video promoting cross-cultural
understanding. It features a multicultural cast of 21 children and
teenagers who worked together to identify their perceptions of the
impact of prejudice and the value of diversity. In collaboration
with a professional artistic staff, they translated their insights
into 16 separate songs, stories, dramatic and comic scenes and choreography
designed to creatively illuminate young people's views of what tears
us apart and what brings us together.
A high quality production
Originally produced for the stage by Young Actors' Forum, the
show was adapted to video in the studios of the Fox Broadcasting
affiliate in Portland, Oregon. It won the top honor, the Gold Apple
Award for multi-cultural education, at the National Educational
Film and Video Festival, the largest competition of its kind in
the U.S. It will soon be available on DVD.
Effective for different ages
This dynamic 60 minute program has been used across the country
with a variety of groups in a variety of circumstances ranging from
mature fourth and fifth graders, to middle and high school students,
to adults involved in diversity awareness training in the community
and the workplace. In schools it may effectively be used either
by itself or in conjunction with social studies or language arts
Turn Loose the Voices' is particularly useful because
we can show either the whole one-hour program, or we can present its short segments
separately, according to the needs of our audience.
- Judith A.
CenterSource Systems, LLC
The one-hour program may be presented in its entirety without interruption; one segment flows into the next. Or individual short segments (16 different scenes, songs and monologues ranging from one to six minutes) can be shown according to the preference of the instructor.
Includes Study Guide
The 75-page study guide which accompanies the video employs diverse
approaches to assist educators in presenting the material. It includes
art-based activities, individual and group creative writing and
song writing exercises, role playing and discussion ideas. The study
guide also includes a cross referenced subject guide and an annotated
bibliography of further readings. Turn Loose the Voices takes a
creative approach. It is not a documentary or a narrated step-by-step
instructional video. Instead, it uses the performing arts as a teaching
tool to stimulate discussion. By having the academically-oriented
exercises and activities presented apart from the video itself (as
compared to being worked into the format of the show), educators
have the freedom to use them at their discretion according to their
As a community development and education professional,
I see many uses for the video; in classrooms, in churches, youth
groups, staff trainings and community meetings...[Turn Loose the
Voices] focuses the tremendous power of youth peer pressure toward
the development of cross-cultural respect and understanding. It
is a strong and fresh theatrical description of the issues as experienced
and demonstrated by young people. I have spoken to people from ages
7 to 70 and from several cultures who were moved to new thoughts
and feelings by the performance.
Video explores prejudice, conflict
23 youths help create 'Turn Loose
By JANET FILIPS
of the Oregonian staff
one of the teenage cast members began during a group
discussion, "my opinion is..." "No, you're
wrong!" another student interrupted. The 21 other
members of Young Actors' Forum burst into laughter.
The topic of discussion? Differences among people. And
the exchange within the diverse group made its way into
the script of "Turn Loose the Voices," a stage
show-turned-video about prejudices, conflict and getting
Guided by an adult creative staff, 23 students
from the Portland metro area, ages 8 to 17, brainstormed
topics such as individualism, superficial judgements,
fear of violence. In helping the young people shape
the script, artistic director Will Weigler says he tried
to avoid pressing politically correct messages upon
Young Actors' Forum works to seize adults'
attention through knock-'em-dead productions. Putting
on shows that adults want to attend, the director's
theory goes, is a way young people can be heard.
The video mixes song, dance, monologue
and short scenes - some with surprise twists - to "show
you the way things are," says performer Jonah Willbach,
14, a freshman at grant High School. "Then you
decide for yourself."
"It is trying to bring out what people feel and
have you think about it," says Hoben Spalding,
16, a freshman at Portland Community College. "It
doesn't preach what you should or shouldn't do."
"Turn Loose the Voices" played
to full houses two years ago in a four-week run at the
Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. A number of teachers
told Weigler they wished they could share the show with
youth and adult groups. That's the job of the new video,
which Weigler hopes to distribute nationally.
Kathleen Herron of Tools for Diversity,
a cross-cultural consulting business in Portland, says
"Voices" is an unusually creative approach
to exploring issues such as power differences and racism.
She likes that it involved young people from the start
and that it provokes thinking. "It seems very real,"
she says, "and very human."
Loose the Voices' is bold, fresh, creative and thought provoking.
It challenges the viewer to re-think long held and unexamined beliefs
regarding prejudice. This is a show that would work well as a teaching
tool in any classroom. It is lively enough to keep the attention
of any student.
'Turn Loose the Voices'...was developed by kids with
a strong message for all people. The play not only "tells it
like it is,' it shows it, dances it and sings it like it is. I am
an educational consultant who works with kids and adults in areas
of cross-cultural communication and racism...if all people could
see this play, I would be out of work. I say that because the message
is clear. It poses a problem and asks a question, "What you
gonna do?' in the first act and goes on to give suggestions and
steps towards solutions in the second act. If you don't hear it
in the words, maybe you get it in the symbols or the dancing or
the songs. You can't help but leave with something.
For information on how to order this exciting video, along with
the 75-page study guide, contact Will Weigler at: