Audience-driven adventure teaches young adults to question whether arts institutions are inclusive enough
Brooklyn, NY–The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a $20,000 Arts Project Grant to the partnership of Brooklyn’s Off The Page, Houston’s Brave Little Company, Wisconsin’s Dare to Dream Theatre, and Northwest Arkansas’ Trike Theatre. The funding will support a second season of the partnership’s innovative young adult series Missing from the Museum. With a storyline driven by audience voting, MFTM combines gripping, participatory adventure with art history to highlight issues of representation in arts institutions. The 2021-22 season will include seven online episodes performed live, plus in-person events and online activities held at partner museums around the country. Read more about Missing from the Museum at www.MissingFromTheMuseum.org.
“The image of the world’s empty museums was a powerful one at the beginning of the pandemic. Like many theatre artists, we want our field to go through a reckoning and rebirth during this time, and confront ways theatre has perpetrated and supported injustice. In developing Missing from the Museum, we wanted to help our audience members develop the skill of looking for who isn’t included in the stories arts institutions construct,” said Troy Scheid, director of Brave Little Company.
As in-person performances closed, the four theatres joined forces to explore the innovative possibilities of the new online “space.” The result was the first season of Missing from the Museum, in which a mysterious mentor recruits the audience to rescue lost artwork by women artists throughout history and around the world. Using the power of “Clear Sight,” an ability that is strongest in young people, the audience encounters the artists Edmonia “Wildfire” Lewis, Hildegard of Bingen, Harriet Powers, Josefa and Juliana Sanromán, Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Anna Waser, and Xue Susu. Pursued by a shadowy agency known as the Restoration Department, the audience gathers clues to their anonymous mentor’s identity and begins to question who is actually in the right.
Missing from the Museum: Season 2 is titled Chamber of Wonders. As the season begins, the Restoration Department is in turmoil. Recruited again to develop the power of their Clear Sight, audience members aged 9-14 must find ways to counter the historic erasure of female artists – while finding themselves in the middle of a power struggle between factions determined to define what art is and who can make it. With over 20 possible variations, the audience’s input determines the path of the scripted episodes.
This year, audience members will also be able to participate in online and in-person events and activities offered by museum partners across the country. The full list of museum partners will be made available soon.
In preparation for Season 2, the partnership is planning a rebroadcast of Season 1, open to the public, using a pay-what-you-can ticket model. For more information about the Season 1 rebroadcast or to register, visit www.MissingFromTheMuseum.org.
Through Young Audiences of Houston, a version of Season 1 has been made available to elementary and middle schools in the Houston area as an eight-week virtual residency focused on critical thinking, art-making, and art history.
The returning creative team for Missing from the Museum includes Troy Scheid, director of Brave Little Company, and Brittny Bush, a Houston actor and director, and BLC’s consulting director; Rachel Thuermer, Founder and Artistic Director of Dare to Dream Theatre; Jody Drezner Alperin, co-founder of Off the Page; Chris Tennison, Head of Academy at Trike Theatre; and teaching artist Amber-Nicole Wolfe.
About the Theatres
Off the Page Education (Brooklyn, New York) inspires young people – to connect to the past, take action in the present, and change the future. Using the arts and creative learning, we take history out of the textbook and into the hands of young people. Off the Page is more than an arts education program – we are a movement, cultivating a generation of social changemakers. Learn more at www.offthepageeducation.org.
Brave Little Company is Theatre for Everyone. We create works about, with, and for kids and their grown-ups, reflecting Houston’s diversity through the stories we tell and the artists who tell them. Our ongoing initiative THE BIG “US” PROJECT is a community-driven theatre piece created annually by 100 members of Houston’s refugee communities and funded in part by the City of Houston/Houston Arts Alliance. Brave Little Company is part of the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster for 2020 – 2022, and is proud to offer touring productions statewide through Young Audiences of Houston. Learn more at www.brave-little.com.
Dare to Dream Theatre, founded in 2001, is a non-profit process-based youth theatre company rooted in education and dedicated to bringing joy to children while helping them find and share their voices with the world. We serve the community through multi-generational theatrical experiences, highlighting growth and learning at all levels of development. Learn more at www.daretodreamtheatre.com.
Trike Theatre is Northwest Arkansas’ only Professional Theatre for Young Audiences, located in Bentonville, AR, where young artists and their families SEE, LEARN and DO Theatre. Trike Theatre’s mission is to Cultivate Creativity, Build Character and Strengthen Communities so that the lives of young people can be transformed by exceptional theatre experiences through our Productions, Academy and our Outreach programming . Trike Theatre proudly focuses its service on Northwest Arkansas but has a growing reach throughout the state, region, and united states. To learn more about ways to enroll, purchase tickets or donate, please visit https://triketheatre.org/.