Theater helps students work through gun violence

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December 3, 2013 2:37:29 PM PST
They might be actors in a play, but they're tackling a very real subject - gun violence.

Students from Bache-Martin Elementary School in Fairmount are talking about gun violence with the help from Walnut Street Theatre's Outreach Touring Company.

The actors performed the play "Gabby's Song" in the hopes of starting a conversation with students in a safe place about the gun violence they see in their community and in headlines from across the country.

7th grader Zamir Bey tells us, "It helps us, like, feel a little more secure about bringing up the topic. Now that you've seen that, now you know it's OK to bring it up every once in a while."

Dr. Dennis Creedon, Assistant Superintendent at Bache-Martin explains, "In so many urban contexts, trauma and gun violence are something that children live with and for us to ignore that is to not deal with reality."

Bache-Martin is part of the theatre's Adopt-a-School program. The partnership regularly infuses arts into the curriculum. The theater's director of education says these performances create a comfortable forum for students to speak their mind about socially relevant issues.

Walnut Street Theatre's Tom Quinn says, "I decided to write this particular show inspired by both by Newtown and what happened with Gabby Giffords, as a way for kids to really talk about violence and the way they process it and deal with it."

7th grader Andre Gaillard says, "It explains it in a way that children can probably digest it, than the gruesomeness of what really happened that day."

Students agree this play is a unique way to approach this material, adding that it's interactive and a little different from what they normally see in the classroom.

Trinity Stephens, who is also a 7th grader at Bache-Martin, tells us, "I like to visualize stuff. When we're talking in classroom, I just talk to my teacher when we read books. But this way I can actually see, and kind of live through it."

Even though Walnut Street Theatre has a special relationship with this school, they do perform this play throughout the Delaware Valley. To learn more, visit

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