DENVER — The Opening Act is providing a safe space for young girls to write, sing, dance and act during their week-long program.
With children experiencing so much peer pressure, it can make it hard for some of them to truly express themselves. The added challenge of stereotyping can really get in the way of young people living up to their full potential.
That’s part of the reason why the Opening Act Theatre Program was created. It helps African American girls overcome social barriers by learning confidence and communications skills through theater.
“That's what it's all about — to find their voices and to use their voices and to be successful women,” said Sylvia Cordy, a long-time media professional who founded the organization.
Cordy calls the week-long camp a safe space for girls to learn about the obstacles that they will face in the future and learn the skills to overcome them.
“Because young Black girls, we experience a lot of challenges,” Cordy said.
According to the Dove Foundation, African American girls can struggle with issues of low self image due to social conditioning and interactions with family, peers and friends.
Cordy, who grew up in segregated Georgia, said her parents fueled her confidence, and she later went on to achieve her dream of becoming a television news producer.
“That's what we want to emphasize with our young girls,” Cordy said. “You're beautiful, you're talented, and believe in yourself, have your own dreams and believe in them.”
That message is already sinking in for the girls attending the camp.
“It's like, almost normal to go into an environment as a Black girl and not see people who look like you,” said Sade Houston, who has been participating in Opening Act since it started in 2016. “So it's important to feel confident in who you are.”
Jordyn Fulcher, a writer who will soon be going to the 8th grade, said the program has fueled her passion.
“I've noticed that with their encouragement, I've really gotten a lot more confident in my writing,” she said.
The girls leave camp prepared to take what they learned there to the outside world.
The camp concludes Saturday with a showcase performance at Cole Middle School. Denver7’s Jessica Crawford will be a featured speaker at the event.
To participate in future Opening Act camps, call 303-777-2054 or visit openingacttheatre.org.