Shattered Silence: High school students create theatrical production for charity

4:11 PM, May 24, 2012   |    comments
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Clearwater, Florida -- Imagine taking your most secret fears or struggles and sharing them out loud at a sold out show.

That's the goal that a brave group of teenagers has been working on for nine months. Their show, "Project: Shattered Silence" premieres at Ruth Eckerd Hall on May 31, and continues through June 2. All the proceeds from ticket sales go to charity.

"The most powerful stories we can tell are our own," says Jared O'Roark, who teaches and helps lead the 40 student actors in "Project: Shattered Silence."

Experiences shared in the show run the gamut, from coming out to being black. The latter topic is what Everton Foster has crafted a script for. 

"I'm hoping to get across that, stereotypes aside, people are people. We're unique, we're different, we have our own problems and our own struggles," says Foster, who's a junior in high school.

O'Roark helps them bring those struggles to the stage.

"You and I and anybody knows that being a teenager, we really do think we're the only one," he says. "A lot of these kids bring up things that they're going through, and then they find out through others that they're not the only one."

They hope the courage of sharing their experiences can make a difference for their audience.

"All I want is for people to see themselves in one of the kids," O'Roark says.

And "Project: Shattered Silence" is already setting the stage for its actors, including Foster, who has never performed in a theatrical production before.

"Getting up on stage and performing for an audience, it's definitely something I'd love to do again and again and again and again," Foster says with a smile.

You can buy tickets for the show here.

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