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With the generous support of the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund, FUSION Theatre Company has launched an active youth and education component. Each summer, FUSION company members have produced and toured special presentations and workshops for youth. Stay tuned for future developments next summer!

In June, 2009, FUSION Theatre Company, with the support of the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund and The City of Albuquerque, toured The Invention, a fun, fantastical tale by Brad Gromelski, throughout the metropolitan area. As a gift to the community, these performances were free of charge! Playing before as many as 500 children at a sitting, these performances provided a terrific opportunity for interactive family immersion in live theatre. The production, directed by Jacqueline Reid, featured actors Ross Kelly, Jared Herholtz, Kate Costello, Bruce Holmes and Scott Bryan and were presented at Albuquerque Academy and outdoors at Robinson Park during the Downtown Growers Market, and Kit Carson Park, near Tingley Beach. Here are some fun shots of the production.

Back: Bruce Holmes, Scott Bryan, Kate Costello, Ross Kelly
Front: Jared Herholtz

"The Invention" at various locations in 2009. The play is
highly interactive and was a wonderful vehicle to engage
the imaginations of children and adults alike.

FUSION Theatre Company’s Young Artists Exchange launched a two-week intensive workshop and rehearsal of Alexander F. Smith’s original play, Blow by Blow. The process culminated with a performance at the Ronald Gardenswartz Jewish Community Center on Friday, July 30th and was followed by a tour throughout Albuquerque schools during the fall of the academic year. Directed by Smith and Derek Brown, the piece centered on Stanley, a boy struggling with being bullied in school. Traveling through Stanley’s waking hours as well as his dreams and nightmares, ten Albuquerque high school students brought to life the serious nature of Stanley’s trial. Funded in part by the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund, Blow by Blow featured a diverse group of Albuquerque teens from both public and private high schools.

Bullying has often been considered a natural social occurrence in childhood. From Mark Twain to J.K. Rowling, the class bully has been a subject of interest and plot development. However, as life has become increasingly challenging for children and their world has become more violent, bullying has led to extremely serious consequences including fatal violence and teen suicide. It is the serious nature of bullying that has compelled playwright Smith and educator Brown to tackle the issue within a dramatic structure that can speak to young teens. “Our focus is on middle schoolers. We want to address the problem early enough so kids are aware and don’t fear reaching out for help,” says Smith. Brown adds, “You ask any parent what their number one priority is for their child in school and they will say safety. This makes sense as very little educational development can happen when a child is fearful of the school environment and peers. In England, we have adopted a national anti-bullying policy within schools that also incorporates teacher training. We are seeing positive results.”

Included in the tour of Albuquerque schools, Brown provided supplemental materials for teachers that gave clear and tested suggestions for addressing the issue of bullying within the classroom and school as a whole. “We feel the play and the materials provided can launch positive action,” says Brown.

Derek Brown is the Artistic Director of Actorshop Ltd, a Forum Theatre based training company in London, England which provides training to private companies such as Ford as well as in-service educational training for schools. Additionally, Mr. Brown is a visiting lecturer to the Central School of Speech and Drama, the Institute of Education, and University of North London. Playwright Smith is currently attending Ithaca College in New York and has performed throughout the United States and London.

Workshop Activities of the
Young Artists Exchange, 2004






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