We at Phoenix Houses of Texas have exciting news! Our West Side Story Project has welcomed two new partners from Teatro Dallas to our team! The West Side Story Project is a program held at our Hill A. Feinberg Academy in Dallas that uses musical theater and improvisation to help our young clients express their feelings through a healthy outlet. The program also strives to break stereotypes and create a dialogue between young people and law enforcement and to explore prejudice, cross-cultural, and gang issues occurring in today’s society.
Cora Cardona, a professional actor and theater director who studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico and the Zachary Scott Theater in Texas, brings over 25 years of experience to our West Side Story Project. She is a distinguished actor of the stage, voiceovers, film, television, and commercials. Cora also translates projects into the three languages she is fluent in—English, Spanish, and Zapoteco. We are also welcoming Cora’s partner and the President of Teatro Dallas, John Fullinwider. On top of his presidential duties, John also serves as a theater activitist for Teatro Dallas. Welcome, Cora and John!
Cora was in attendance at our Youth Summit earlier this month, where we used themes from West Side Story to help young people access their feelings about youth and gang violence, youth-police relations, and cultural conflict. Our young clients performed a skit based on the romance of two young people caught in a violent cross-cultural and opposing gang struggle. They also participated in several improvisational skits to illustrate what gang struggles and cross-cultural clashes would look like in today’s language and behavior. Three plainclothes police officers were also in attendance, as part of our goal with the West Side Story Project is to help law enforcement connect with our youth. Judith L. Campbell, Ph.D (Program Director of the Feinberg Academy) and two members of the organization One True Hope also joined us at the Summit.
It’s an exciting time for Phoenix Houses of Texas’s West Side Story Project. We look forward to seeing how Cora and John will help our young clients learn about violence prevention and how to make positive changes in their lives and their communities through the art of theater. Thank you, Cora and John, and welcome!