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Thursday, November 1, 2018

LYNWOOD—Lynwood Unified will expand its theater program to include Firebaugh High School students through a master class that will give students the opportunity to pursue their theatrical passions.

The Building Relationships and Inspiring Dialogue through Global Exchange (BRIDGE) Theatre Project was previously limited to Lynwood Unified students in grades four through eight. The expansion will give high school students access to a more immersive theater experience, covering topics like scene study, vocal technique, playwriting, improvisation, and world theater traditions.

The BRIDGE master class offers students with a more in-depth experience in the world of theater arts and is meant to introduce students to how theater is performed in other parts of the world while teaching new and unique techniques.

“Offering the program to high school students truly allows us to bridge the development of young writers and performers from elementary school until graduation,” BRIDGE Theatre cofounder Joe Quintero said. “We’re excited about helping more students explore their creativity and reach their potential.”

BRIDGE has partnered with Lynwood Unified for four years, teaching students to write and perform plays, and how to use theater as a means to study other cultures. BRIDGE has also offered mentorship opportunities to Lynwood and Firebaugh high school students, allowing them to earn up to 40 community service hours through stage management and backstage assistance, while helping to lead younger student members.

This addition of the master class is meant to complement the theater arts education that high school students already receive, and to give them the same opportunity as the elementary and middle school students to become a part of the BRIDGE community.

“The District is heavily invested in providing programs like this to stimulate student participation and creativity, which we know supports academic achievement,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said.

In July, former middle school students Zion Bennett and Jose Laguna were the first Lynwood Unified students to travel outside the U.S. as members of the BRIDGE Theatre Project. They were accompanied to Rwanda by Joe Quintero and BRIDGE co-founder Adam Kalesperis, along with two teaching artists and parent chaperone Brisa Laguna.

“By partnering with the BRIDGE Theatre Project we are giving our students an opportunity to express themselves and harness the best parts of who they are and who they will become,” Board of Education President Alfonso Morales said. “I’m pleased to know that even more students will now have access to this inspiring program.”