Chestnut Empowering Youth

Chestnut Playhouse Empowering Our Youth


The Chestnut Street Playhouse, in collaboration with The Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut, is hosting Act 1, Act Tú, a program aimed at empowering local youth through theatrical performances in both English and Spanish. This initiative seeks to help young individuals from Spanish-speaking backgrounds maintain their language skills and cultural ties while developing their confidence, teamwork, and public speaking abilities.

The event features two captivating plays: Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s classic Spanish play “Life is a Dream” and a contemporary adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” titled “Alicia.” The plays will be performed on Friday and Saturday, August 11th and 12th, at 7 p.m. at the Chestnut Street Playhouse. Admission prices are set at $8 for adults and $5 for students.

Marisabel Huarca Eguizabal, the director of “Life is a Dream,” underscores the significance of Act 1, Act Tú in allowing youth to retain their native language and cultural identity. This unique program offers students the chance to perform in two languages, strengthening their communication skills and connecting with peers beyond virtual interactions.

Gia Denizard, a seventh-grade student at Integrated Day Charter School, stars in both plays, embodying lead roles. Initially hesitant about speaking Spanish, Denizard gradually found her confidence through rehearsals, transitioning from reading lines to fluently speaking the language. Other students also experienced growth, as they overcame shyness, developed camaraderie, and honed acting skills during the program.

Participants in Act 1, Act Tú, such as siblings Jeremy and Jeffery Zapata, have not only improved their acting abilities but also formed lasting friendships. The supportive atmosphere of the program has helped students break out of their comfort zones and overcome shyness, proving invaluable for personal development.

The success of Act 1, Act Tú has led to anticipation for future theatrical opportunities. With a potential Christmas play on the horizon, many students are eager to continue participating and building upon their newfound skills.

Karli Swanson, the director of “Alicia,” expresses hope that Act 1, Act Tú will become an annual tradition, offering various avenues for youth to get involved, whether through acting or other aspects of production. As the performances approach, the theater anticipates a substantial audience turnout, highlighting the positive impact of this program on both the participants and the community at large.