Ballou Story Project (BSP) took the stage for the first time a few weeks ago and we could not be more proud of the work of these young writers.
The performance, directed and produced by our partners at Young Playwrights’ Theatre and featuring five talented professional actors, tenderly handled sensitive topics of abuse, cancer, and loss. But as much as the performance was about trial, it was also about triumph. Students shared stories about finding a family through the band, getting into college, and earning prestigious scholarships. The overall impact of the performance was one of grit in the face of challenge as well as tremendous hope for these young people and their futures.
After the show, writers took the stage to talk about the writing process and the performance. Four-time author and senior at Ballou, Carl Brown, told the audience, “Seeing my words that were on a page that I used to apply for scholarships being acted out was amazing..... It really opened my eyes.”
Darne’sha Walker, another four-time author and senior, who wrote about her grandmother’s victory over cancer, said watching the show brought back memories, not only of that challenging time in their family history, but also of the first time she wrote about it, in the memoir collection How To Grow Up Like Me. The moving response she received for her work in that first book inspired her to keep writing -- and keep publishing!
The audience was enthusiastic about providing feedback to the writers and actors. Former student and Our Lives Matter author Diantae Roach praised the writers and Ballou for having 100 percent of the senior class apply to college. “All of them applied to college,” he gestured towards the writers. “Not one student didn’t apply to college. I just wanted to say man, this is real, Ballou really go it going on right now.”
Another audience member thanked the writers, “ I thank you as an artist, as an actor, as a resident of this great metropolitan area… The energy of the audience was truly an experience. I just wanted to give my thanks. Thank you very much.”
And a Ballou alumni from decades past told the writers, “I’m really proud to see that our future is still bright. Going through the same experiences as you guys, I can tell you the sky is the limit, nothing can hold us back.”
We want to thank our writers, the audience, our partners, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for making this event possible.