BreakOUT! will be hitting the road again in March to perform “Say My Name, Say My Name,” our theater production with Ping Chong + Company, in New York and Philadelphia.  If you remember, we used this project to kick off our Healing Justice Program back in October, when we were invited by the Arcus Foundation to develop and perform the piece for the Neighborhood Funders Group Convening in Jackson, Mississippi.

The performance, written and directed by Sara Zatz and Mieke Dee, is based on interviews, writings and conversations with the cast and members of BreakOUT!   The 45 minute theatrical performance features the true stories and life experiences of five Black transgender young women who are members of BreakOUT!  It explores the dynamics of growing up transgender against the backdrop of New Orleans, the incarceration capital of the world, and the fierce power of self-identification.

“Say My Name, Say My Name” is part of an ongoing series of community-specific oral history theater works known as the Undesirable Elements series. Begun in 1992 by Ping Chong + Company, each production is made in a specific community, with local participants testifying to their real lives and experiences. The script is based on interviews with the participants who then share their own stories in the final production. Since 1992, over 40 productions have been made across the United States and abroad. Recent productions have explored themes as far ranging as disability, Native American identity, Asian American identity, and the experiences of refugees in the U.S.

“Say My Name, Say My Name” received such a great response both locally in New Orleans and in Mississippi, that we were invited to take the show on the road to New York and then to Philadelphia for the Funding Forward Conference in March!

Through performing “Say My Name,” BreakOUT! hopes to convey not only the struggle of LGBTQ youth of color in New Orleans and the ways our communities are impacted by criminalization, but also the resistance, resilience, and beauty of our youth members.

Stay tuned as we report back from the road next month!

Unfortunately, both performances have extremely limited seats available and have been reserved for our closest supporters and organizational allies, but please stay tuned for more opportunities to watch the performance locally in New Orleans and online!  In the meantime, check out this sneak peek: