BOSTON—True Colors: Out Youth Theater, a program of The Theater Offensive and the country’s largest and longest-running LGBTQ youth theater program, has been selected as a finalist for the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the country’s highest honor in creative youth development. True Colors: Out Youth Theater is the only LGBTQ organization among the finalists. Should the organization receive this honor, it would be the first LGBTQ organization to do so.
“We are thrilled to be a finalist for this honor a third time after 22 years working with the extraordinary youth who break out of isolation to become creative community leaders in True Colors,” said Abe Rybeck, executive artistic director of The Theater Offensive and founder of True Colors.
“True Colors’ cultural impact over a generation has been instrumental in helping create not only a safe space for LGBTQ youth to express their creativity and tell their stories, but has also contributed to the progress and advances we have seen for the entire LGBTQ community. As we continue to focus on the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth, from family rejection to bullying to homelessness, this nomination is inspirational and a validation of our impact. To have affirmation from the highest levels of the arts and the White House is extraordinary,” concluded Rybeck.
Selected by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and its cultural partners – the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services – True Colors is one of only 50 outstanding programs across the country that are recognized as 2016 finalists for their work in providing excellent arts and humanities learning opportunities to young people.
The True Colors model has been used by other theaters across the country in creating art based on personal stories of LGBTQ youth. In 2009, True Colors inspired The Theater Offensive’s acclaimed OUT in Your Neighborhood (OUT’hood) strategy, an approach that brings the organization’s work deeper into the communities of the youth it serves via shows, workshops and gatherings at local organizations, schools, agencies and on neighborhood streets. The Theater Offensive and True Colors work to ensure that LGBTQ artists of color have a significant presence in local neighborhoods, with the goal of helping people feel at home and safe in their own communities.
About True Colors: Out Youth Theater
True Colors: Out Youth Theater was established in 1994, focused on providing an opportunity for LGBTQ youth and their allies to write and perform plays based on their personal stories. True Colors provides year-round programs in playwriting, production and performance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth and their straight allies, ages 14 and above. For more information on True Colors and The Theater Offensive, visit www.thetheateroffensive.org.
[From a News Release]