Ever since the foundation of Stairway in the early ’90s, theatre has been one of our key advocacy vehicles. Not only a powerful form of communication, theatre also serves as an effective healing device for youth who have been a part of this organization.
Cracked Mirrors is a bold attempt at understanding the deep pain and suffering children go through as a result of sexual abuse. Through a series of poignant and gripping vignettes, woven together by rap and son, we get a glimpse into the lives of 4 victims.
The play is performed with striking conviction by 3 members of Stairway’s homegrown theater group, TASK (Talented Ambitious Street Kids), who themselves used to live and work on the streets. The authenticity they manage to emote throughout their monologues stems from their personal relation to the issue of abuse that they confront. Performances are generally followed by the 3 performers coming back on stage to share with the audience some of their personal stories in relation to the issue.
Cracked Mirrors has been shown to hundreds of groups of government organizations (GOs) and non-government organizations (NGOs), students, teachers, social workers, and church groups as part of ongoing information and training workshops on Children’s Rights and Child Sexual Abuse Prevention. Aside from being a creative and extremely effective tool in all trainings facilitated within Stairway’s Learning and Resource Center, the play has also toured and reached thousands of audiences in Thailand, Singapore, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, and Australia. Wherever it goes, it has the same effect of stirring up emotions and challenging spectators’ views and perceptions regarding the issue of child sexual abuse.
Theatre for Environmental Awareness
Stairway has a long tradition of communicating issues of high urgency through theatre, starting with the production of “Goldtooth, A Street Children’s Musical” back in 1999. Since then, theatre has played a significant role in 2 aspects of our work, namely the therapeutic process of rehabilitation, as well as the more outward aspect of creative advocacy.
After nearly a year of planning, preparations, and practice, Stairway’s theatre rendition of The Lorax premiered on April 22nd, Earth Day, 2014. The play is based on the environmental classic by renowned children’s book author, Dr. Seuss, and it is performed by the Stairway children under the direction of Monica Ray.
In 2014, the Lorax played for hundreds of children, youth, and adults from Puerto Galera, and a large number of tourists visiting the area. The director had created a backdrop very true to the illustrations of the book with bright colors and wonderful imaginary creatures, and the Stairway children put in enormous effort to deliver a performance of high quality, which resulted in a unique theater experience provoking smiles and laughter, as well as deeper reflections upon the serious message the play conveys. Performances are always followed by a talk with the young audiences on their interpretation of the play and how they see the message relate to their own immediate situation.
Our challenge running the Lorax is that the actors change with every new batch of children graduating from Stairway’s Family Home Program. It enhances the therapeutic value of the play, but it puts a limit to the number of performances we can set up in a year.