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3/5/2019 Member News
The Play Oyeme, The Beautiful Highlights The Plight of Unaccompanied Minors, Refugees, And Immigrants

The Play Óyeme, the Beautiful Highlights the plight of unaccompanied minors, refugees, and immigrants

Three Special Performances Around Washington, D.C. Seek to Build Empathy, Advocacy, and Policy Solutions

 BETHESDA, MD (February 26, 2019) This March, Imagination Stage hosts three special performances of Óyeme, the beautiful – a powerful and timely play about the spiritual, emotional, and physical journey of unaccompanied minors, refugees, and other immigrants. Óyeme, the beautiful was inspired by the stories of students from around the D.C. area who fled violence in Central America. The professional production tours annually – including the 2019 tour from March 11, 2019 to April 2 – to inspire empathy among students, teachers, and community members. A complete list of the 2019 tour dates and locations– including public schools, universities, and community organizations– can be found online at imaginationstage.org.

“The ¡Óyeme! experience -- for all of us involved -- was a deeply humbling and inspiring one,” said Miriam Gonzales, playwright of Óyeme, the beautiful. “We had the privilege of meeting and working with courageous, beautiful souls – from ages eleven to sixteen – and to see the power of art, imagination, and play in action. We witnessed how story-sharing and art heals, saves, forges connection, and reveals truth.” 

Upcoming Performances

The performances are free and open to the media (RSVP to Jessica Pettit at jpettit@imaginationstage.org).

¡Óyeme! at Lutheran Church of the Reformation
March 13, 2019
Reception at 6 p.m., performance and panel discussion at 7 p.m. 

Lutheran Church of the Reformation – 212 East Capitol St, Washington, DC
Presented by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Imagination Stage, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and the Lutheran Church of the Reformation.

Featuring the full production of Óyeme, the beautiful and a panel of leaders and experts on immigration moderated by Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of Hispanic Heritage Foundation, this event is an exploration of the unaccompanied minor crisis for legislative, religious, and nonprofit leaders. Panelists include: Luis Cardona, Administrator for HHS Positive Youth Development, Health and Human Services; Abel Nunez, Executive Director, CARECEN DC; and Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. 

¡Óyeme! at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
March 22, 2019
Exhibition tour at 4:45 p.m., performance and discussion at 6:15 p.m. 
8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC
Free registration is required.
Presented by the Smithson American Art Museum and Imagination Stage

This presentation explores the power of the arts to navigate identity and the refugee experience. Visit SAAM’s new exhibition Tiffany Chung: Vietnam, Past Is Prologue to consider how one contemporary artist draws on her own South Vietnamese family’s experience of the Vietnam War to amplify refugees’ voices today. Then, experience a full performance of Óyeme, the beautiful followed by remarks from playwright Miriam Gonzales and Elizabeth Dale-Deines, teacher programs coordinator at SAAM.

iÓyeme! at The Catholic University of America
March 25, 2019
6:30 p.m.
Caldwell Hall – Catholic University, Washington DC
Presented by The Catholic University of America’s Center of Cultural Engagement  

Featuring a full production of Óyeme, the beautiful followed by panel discussion with Jennifer Podkul, Director of Policy, Kids in Need of Defense, as well as  faculty and leaders from The Catholic University of America, this performance will be an exploration of the experience of refugees for religious, education, and policy leaders. 

About ¡Óyeme

Written by playwright Miriam Gonzales and directed by Elena Velasco, Óyeme, the beautiful is performed by professional actors and inspired by the stories of students who Imagination Stage worked with beginning in the fall 2014. For more than a year, a cohort of student refugees fleeing violence from Central America living in the Greater Washington, DC area were convened by Imagination Stage to share their stories to facilitate emotional recovery and aid in the assimilation process.  Developmentally appropriate theatre exercises and dramatic process provides the young people a way to express their emotions, build relationships with fellow group members, share their journeys, and realize they are not alone.  For the past two years, the play has been touring to 20 sites -impacting 6,000 youth and teachers in the Greater DC Area.  Please visit http://imaginationstage.org/in-your-community/oyeme/ for more information on Imagination Stage and ¡Óyeme!

¡Óyeme! is a collaborative project including Imagination Stage, The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (www.HispanicHeritage.org), Montgomery County Department of Recreation, Councilmember Nancy Navarro, and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Street Outreach Network (SON). 

About the play Óyeme, the beautiful
Laura and Valentina are teenagers just trying to make it through another day in middle school.  But, unlike many of their peers, they are refugees from Central America who have fled brutal violence in their home countries to find shelter and pursue their dreams in the United States. Step inside their shoes, hear their stories, see their struggle, and feel their strength as we move through their day. Óyeme, the beautiful brings to light the undaunted courage and beautiful spirit that fuels these young people and teaches us the power of friendship, family, and hope.

ABOUT IMAGINATION STAGE

Founded in 1979, Imagination Stage is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to inspire creativity through theatre and arts education programs that nurture, challenge, and empower young people of all abilities. It offers year-round professional theatre for young audiences and classes in creative drama/acting, musical theatre, dance, and filmmaking for ages 1-18.  Visit imaginationstage.org.

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