Founder of Firefly Tunnels, Tavia La Follette, worked with Founder and Director of Hope Academy, Linda Addlespurger, to find an appropriate connection for the young urban students. They both agreed that working with teenagers who could grasp the complexity of the project and be able to apply it to their own lives would be the most rewarding partnership. HAT Co, the all-teen theatre company, seemed a perfect fit.
According to Hope Academy’s website: HAT Co is an intensive training program that requires a high level of commitment, not necessarily experience. Selected members take courses, participate in ensembles and receive private coaching and lessons in acting, movement, singing, dance and music (guitar, bass, keyboard, drums). This program is uniquely suited to multi-talented teens who are motivated to study and perform across a range of disciplines; and who have an interest in being part of an inclusive, supportive, non-competitive group.
In October 2011, Tavia went to HAT Co to conduct a small workshop about The Firefly Tunnel project’s exchange with Egypt. She shared with the students the philosophy of the work, how autobiographical reflection combined with current affairs guided the workshop experience, and how this commonality is what bonded all the artists together.
The teens got a tour of the exhibit, as well as an introduction to the Mattress Factory Museum and installation art. By working with Hope Academy’s teaching artists, the students presented their own work at the museum later in December. A collage of this performance can be viewed below: