In From Where I Stand, the Orpheum Theatre Group undergoes deep collaboration with youth from a community or school organization who share their personal stories from their point of view. By collaborating in an artistic process, youth bring their individual perspectives together to create an original performance to share. By providing youth a platform and resources, we seek to elevate stories in our community and encourage dialogue and transformation through the power of the arts.
"From Where I Stand asks everyone (storytellers, teaching artists, and audiences alike) to listen with curiosity and share in what makes us human; both what makes us the same and what makes us beautifully different. When we listen that deeply to the real experiences of young people, we are taking a stand — we are demonstrating that the voices of our youth are essential to who we are as a community." — Taylor St. John, Director of From Where I Stand
Youth refugees perform stories about how they grapple with identity, belief, and displacement from their homelands. Do our differences provide a point of conflict or are they part of a uniquely American experience? What does it mean to discover who you are in a place so different from where you came? This podcast asks us to look beyond the headlines and see the real people behind them. In March 2020, youth from the Refugee Empowerment Program were rehearsing a live storytelling performance with the Orpheum Theatre Group in Memphis, TN. But when the pandemic hit, their performance was postponed…until now. Meet Natasha, Kowsar, Solange, Eunice, Bertrand, Layla, Ache, Hibo, and Nasteho as they share their real-life stories in their own words.
Please note that the From Where I Stand podcast features stories created and shared by the students, in their own words and voices, from their own points of view and the Orpheum embraces all stories. Some material contains mature themes.
And a special thanks to WYXR 91.7 FM for airing all 10 episodes plus live interviews with the Orpheum Theatre Group and the Refugee Empowerment Program!
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“I felt like I had someone who was listening to me. When you are talking to other people and you know they are going to respect what you say, and they’re going to listen to you, and even be honest about what you are talking about. It gives you more motivation and makes you more stronger. Every day that I came here, I didn’t come out the same way I came. It made me feel like I was ready to take on anything in life.” — Bertrand, Youth Participant from the Refugee Empowerment Program (Refugee Portraits, 2021)
“We learned a lot more than we knew about each other…It’s important for people to tell their stories because people really assume who you are and what you stand for, but you need to tell them where you direct your life. Instead of them telling you where you should go and what you are. Because your life is not their life.” — Layla, Youth Participant from the Refugee Empowerment Program (Refugee Portraits, 2021)
"I learned to step out my bubble and tell my story to people who have been in my shoes. I'm so happy I joined From Where I Stand because the story I told had an impact on me. I found the real me." — Klenisha, Youth Participant from Overton High School Partner (Lost and Found, 2020)
"Being a part of From Where I Stand and sharing my story means that I am doing something right. It is a blessing to be able to lift my voice and extend it as far as possible to be able to help someone else who may need to hear what is being said." — Adrian, Youth Participant from Overton High School Partner (Lost and Found, 2020)
"Being in From Where I Stand has showed me there is a greater purpose in others and myself. Every story is connected in all kinds of ways." — Maze, Youth Participant from Overton High School Partner (Lost and Found, 2020)
“The From Where I Stand program undoubtedly changed the way I think and how I see the world.” — Reilly, Youth Participant from Shelby County Schools Partner (From Where I Stand, 2019)
“We need to share what happens to all of us, not keep it from the world.” — Brianna, Youth Participant from Facing History and Ourselves Partner (From Where I Stand, 2019)
“A humbling, vulnerable, exciting, and memorable time shared with people from all over the world telling their stories.” — Chi’conna, Youth Participant from STAX Partner (From Where I Stand, 2019)
2021- Courageous explores stories of courage. How do you keep your dreams alive when faced with obstacles? What does it mean to face your fears to become your most true self? Youth storytellers Jeannelcia, Abdul, and Davida perform real stories of bravery and resilience in the face of adversity.
During Virtual StoryFest 2020, Tyler, Arionna, Monte, Nivea, Adrian, Sheniah, Klenisha, Maze, and Jazsmine told stories in their own words. This filmed storytelling performance (in partnership with Overton High School) explores stories of being lost and found. What does it mean to be lost? What does it mean to lose ourselves, relationships, and ideas as we develop? What does it mean to find your passion, your friends, your sense of identity?
Youth stories of HOME: Where is home? How is home defined by people and geography? How are our identities tied to the places we call home? What does it mean to leave home? How do we treat people who have left their homelands? How do we infuse culture and community into new homelands?