On Saturday night, the Conciliation Project takes on a hot-button issue. Bullying.
The troop coins itself as Richmond’s Social Justice Theatre Company with performances focused on civil rights issues. This weekend’s performance of Pushed: explorations into bullying tackles the topic head-on.
“There is such a need right now to have an open conversation about why bullying is happening and where it’s coming from,” director of development and community partnerships Trey Hartt says.
To produce this series of performances, the organization partnered with non-profit Virginia Center For Inclusive Communities before the recent wave of highly-publicized teen suicides.
Their goal is to take these plays into schools and see how communities can work together to start a dialogue.
“Now is the time. We’ve had conversations before, but maybe this year was more horrific because of social media, access to information, and privacy,” Hartt says.
According to Hartt, it takes the group about two months to research, write and put these perfomances together. For Saturday’s performance they found real stories of cyber-bullying, violence in schools, and parental response.
“The play is primarily targeted to high school students,” Hartt says. ”We want to make sure we are using the same language in school systems and we don’t want to sugarcoat.”
The organization makes the performances available to schools and other community groups to spread their message. A dialogue follows the play. Guest to Saturday’s event will also be able to see the Conciliation Project’s Unequal Access which explores housing discrimination.
“Pushed” and “Unequal Access” are Saturday, January 29 at Unity of Richmond, 800 Blanton Avenue. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. with performance beginning at 7:30 p.m., $10 for students and seniors, $15 general admission at the door. For more information, visit theconciliationproject.org.
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