Stage the Change is the Tower Theatre’s 2-day conference, open to high school students throughout the Pacific Northwest. Stage the Change’s goal is to inspire, teach, and help attendees employ the performing arts to find their social voice to become responsible global citizens and catalysts for change. The conference offered two keynote speakers, twelve workshops, a student performance showcase, and opportunities to connect with other students interested in using the performing arts as a platform for deep social justice engagement.
Their four focus issues for the 2022 conference were Art and Racism; LGBTQ+ Equality, Art & Environmentalism; and Innovation Meets Adversity. The Friday night keynote speaker was author, Broadway, TV and film star Anthony Rapp who also performed in concert after delivering the address. The Saturday morning keynote speaker was Elizabeth Woody, former Oregon Poet Laureate and current Executive Director at the Museum of Warm Springs. They both gave inspiring speeches that focused on how they used Innovation to overcome Adversity.
The Stage the Change Conference is a new and exciting initiative for the Tower Theatre. Thanks to the BCTF’s support, we could launch this event in May 2022, inviting high school students from throughout the pacific northwest to gather in Bend to explore how to use the performing arts to find their social voice and be catalysts for change. Students enjoy hands-on workshops, networking opportunities, and wonderful keynote speakers. While this conference has been held in New York since 2013, our Bend conference is the first time it’s offered in any other location. We are thrilled to hold our second annual event April 21-22, 2023, again made possible thanks to BCTF funding. —Sharon Maier-Kennelly, Manager of Corporate Giving, Tower Theatre