See Changing Lives Ensembles’ Final Performance

The Creative Action youth ensemble, Changing Lives, will have its final performance of the school year on May 21 at 7 p.m.

Everyone is welcome but families with teens will relate to the work of these talented young people the most.

If you attended our Big Hair Country Fair in March, then you’ll remember their stirring and enlightening performance. That was just a sliver of the entire performance you’ll see on May 21. Come hear these young artists perform the play they wrote, produced and created.

LEARN MORE about the Changing Lives program.

Finding yourself in the digital age isn’t always easy. Media and pop culture are full of confusing messages that tell us who we should be, how to dress, what to buy and what to think. In a vortex of all this information, how can we discover the person we want to be? How can we navigate these messages and stay true to ourselves? How can we learn how to function in our relationships? How can we take responsibility and do what’s right, for ourselves and our peers?

Young artists will perform work they created and explore issues around the media and pop culture.

Final Performance of the Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble
Tuesday, May 21
7:30 – 9 p.m.
Salvage Vanguard Theatre
2803 Manor Rd, Austin 78722
Tickets are free! RSVP to help us get a count.

Summer Camp Kick Starts Camper’s Confidence

Bella and her dad, Mark Negro

One of the most devoted campers; Bella Negro has been going to Creative Action (formerly Theatre Action Project) Camps for four years to date and attended all eight weeks of camp this past summer.

Asked which week was her favorite, Bella answered: “All of them!” When asked why she liked camps, Bella said with a smile, “It’s because it has acting and filming and I love doing that.”

An avid actress, Bella has come a long way since starting at summer camp four years ago. Her father, Mark Negro told us “She has no intimidation now. This has really added to her confidence. It’s really funny because she likes to be in front of people speaking, singing, or acting. I think the program here helps the creativity, gets them seeing things in a different way, and one of the great things is it develops teamwork and then confidence” When asked about her favorite part of film-making, Bella said “I love everything because I love to be on stage.”

Creative Action has not only given Bella confidence to perform, but she has also learned several new things. During this year’s Lights, Camera, Action week at summer camp, Bella remarked with excitement, “I’ve learned a lot of acting and I learned about the green screen. And one day after I learned about the green screen I took out my toys and wanted to use a green screen and do a play with them.”

Green screening, or chroma keying, is a video effects technique used to superimpose one image onto another, often used for news reporters on TV or in film. During Lights, Camera, Action, Bella acted as a dog named Spot in a group that made the short film The Day it Rained Bowling Balls with the help of Teaching Artist Mitch Bowman.

Bella’s love for acting continues, as she has also participated in talent shows in front of about 100 people, and classes at ZACH Scott Theatre. Mark reflected on that by saying “She did that because of how she really fell in love with acting here. And it was after one of her shorter camps during the school year, and she begged us and so we went ahead and found her a class at ZACH Scott Theatre and she loved it.”

To sum up Bella’s experience at Creative Action Camps, she exclaimed “It’s awesome! It’s the best camp ever.” From a parent’s point of view, Mark said, “The people here are incredibly committed. It’s a real responsibility to trust, when you leave your child with somebody for a whole week. And you want somebody to help develop her, and we feel like we’re part of the family here.”

Watch The Day it Rained Bowling Balls:

To see a video on green screen technique:

2012: A Magical Year for World Tales and Tunes

2012 was an amazing year for us! Theatre Action Project became Creative Action and has continued to grow. Here are some fun facts from our World Tales and Tunes program:

  • It is the 3rd year that I have toured “World Tales and Tunes.”
  • In 2012 alone we had 114 one-hour shows in the Central Texas communities of Austin, Georgetown, Kyle, Lakeway, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander, Del Valle and Westlake with performances at Public Schools, Private Schools, Child Care Centers, Public Libraries, Coffeehouses and Arts Festivals.
  • There have been 16 shows at Austin YMCA centers.
  • There were 44 shows at Stepping Stone Schools last summer.

Despite all these numbers there is the personal impact that this program has on the children. There is always a moment when I am transitioning from a song about “The Wedding of the Hawk” (a folk tale from Africa) where the children have just been dancing with the joy and energy of young puppies at play, to the moment when they are seated and we use our “magic globes” to fly through the air, over mountains, over oceans to China and land in the middle of a rice field.

In that moment it is pure imagination. In that moment there is no child care center or school or library. There is only the gentle landing in a wet field.

As I react to my feet getting wet in the rice field I look to my right and see the majestic mountain that overlooks this quiet Chinese village. I tell the children that I know what story will be told and take a rod puppet from the backdrop. As “Seagirl” (the young girl who is the hero of the story) gently floats to the ground and begins to walk in the rice field her story begins. Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge and I know in that moment that that is true. The children have danced in Africa and stepped onto a wet rice field in China in a matter of 3 minutes. Seagirl may be made of wooden rod, paper mache, paint and cloth, but in that moment she is a real girl on the journey of her life.

When I hear the hush that falls on the audience when Seagirl begins her story I can only think of one word: magic

Teens Create at the 2012 Youth Arts Symposium

Join us for Creative Action’s
Youth Arts Symposium
Saturday, December 1
9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
FREE! Includes lunch!
Open to all Middle and High School students in the Austin area.

Workshops in: Theatre, Dance, and
Visual Art taught by professional artists.

Lamar Middle School
6201 Wynona Avenue Austin, TX 78757

To register, contact Stephanie Noell.  Email:
or call, 512-442-8773 ext. 123.   Register now!

Interested in volunteering at the Youth Arts Symposium?
Needed are 5 adult volunteers to help with this event. That offers workshops for  Middle school and High school students in the Austin area in Theatre, Dance, and Visual Art
Volunteer Duties:
  • Serve as monitors in workshop classrooms
  • Help set up and clean up from lunch
  • Hang out in the classes and just enjoy being a part of the kids creating amazing art, theatre and dance.
To volunteer, contact Mary Alice Carnes.

Art for Charity: Del Valle Students Support St. Jude’s Hospital and Save the Children

by Mary Alice Carnes, Community Relations Director

A 2nd grade class at Del Valle Elementary will be presenting a charity art show of their original work to support St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Save the Children. The class is part of Creative Action’s After School program. Lindsay Palmer, Creative Action Teaching Artist, leads the Del Valle students who want to support charity with the proceeds from their art. The art show is set for November 29th at Tiny Park Gallery. The exhibit will feature collaborative abstract work in wood and fabric assemblage, printmaking, and painting, as well as a variety of art zines featuring hero comics, Dada poetry, scary stories, and texture/print explorations.

When I floated the idea of a charity art show by my students, they were really responsive. They decided to raise money for sick kids and kids with no homes.  They really liked the idea of helping other kids get clean drinking water and go to school.

Palmer’s Del Valle class of second graders recently won a food drive contest through Bennu Coffee benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank. Palmer’s class contributed 51 dry goods winning gift certificates to Hoboken Pies and Russell’s Bakery. The class is looking forward to enjoying pizza and cookies at the end of the semester.

The public is invited to the charity art show Thursday, November 29th from 7-10 p.m. at Tiny Park Gallery, 1101 Navasota Street, Suite 2, Austin, TX 78702 across from Hillside Farmacy at the corner of Rosewood and Navasota. 

In 2011-2012, Creative Action After School served 75 sites in 6 school districts in the greater Austin area, reaching 5,400 students.

“What I like about Creative Action is how we learned to work as a team.” – After School student