“A woman’s power manifests itself in her ability to speak out for her beliefs. It shines through fearless eyes, through fly-away passionate sounds, through the fire in an insatiable fight for civil rights. This is my message, this is my Girl Power."
The above lyrics introduced the Project Girl Performance Collective ensemble to the Red Bank Regional (RBR) student audience. The program entitled Girl Power: Survival of the Fittest was brought to RBR courtesy of the SOURCE, RBR’s School Based Youth Services Program as part of RBR’s Week of Respect observances. The theatre troupe is the creation of its artistic director and RBR VPA alumnus Ashley Marinaccio who was thrilled to bring this program to her alma mater.
As a freelance director and playwright, Ashley was hired to write a show about the issues teen girls face. She turned that assignment into a unique theatre troupe stating, “I thought it would be more productive and inspiring for teen girls to write their own show and find their own artistic voice.”
Founded in 2008, Project Girl Collective has performed at the White House, The United Nations, the web program Ted Talks, in regional theatres and school venues.
Female performers, ranging in age from 12 to 22 performed powerful works written by young women on subjects affecting American youth including self identity, bullying, sexuality, social media, eating disorders and relationships. During the performance, the students cheered each vignette. Following the performance, the students interacted with the performers and director in a feedback session that yielded a high level of engagement among the RBR student body.
RBR Principal Risa Clay comments, "Our students’ comments were so insightful,
and I was particularly impressed how our young men stood up and stated how much this affected them."
One gentleman confessed that he had recently handled a relationship situation
poorly, and, upon seeing one act, realized “how much he must have hurt his
Ashley Marinaccio adds, “I am undone by the positive feedback. We have been receiving nonstop e-mails from RBR students who want to be part of Project Girl and students who support what we do.”
During the week, RBR students had an opportunity to create their own performances, as RBR TV each day broadcasted a different video themed on the Week of Respect from dances staged throughout the school campus performed to Aretha Franklin’s classic “R E S P E C T” to Twisted Sisters’ "We’re Not Gonna Take it!" The following link can be accessed to see one of those videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niEplwOMCNE .
For more information on Project Girl Performance Collective, visit their
website at http://www.projectgirlperformancecollective.org/.