Arts and Entertainment

Callng first-time voters to rock UMO performance piece

Natalie Hoyt (right), a Vashon High School senior, worked with students from a Seattle alternative high school on UMO’s “First Vote” project. - Courtesy photo
Natalie Hoyt (right), a Vashon High School senior, worked with students from a Seattle alternative high school on UMO’s “First Vote” project.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Calling all student thespians: UMO Ensemble is creating a new feature work called “First Vote” that combines inner city students from an alternative high school in South Seattle with Vashon students.

Under the direction of Amy Rider, UMO’s Youth Program leader, young adults from diverse backgrounds will create a “performance intensive” that utilizes the thoughts, dreams and concerns of first-time voters finding their voices in a democratic society in this year’s election.

Using songs, scenes and debate, students will create a unique performance based on their concerns about this year’s presidential election. This will culminate in a performance on Nov. 2 at Ober Park and at various impromptu locations in Seattle.

The program began this summer with an initial class that immersed students in the political process and established the first round of relationships with two Vashon students, Natalie Hoyt and Calen Winn.

“Working with UMO on ‘First Vote’ was a great experience,” said Hoyt. “I feel like I really connected with the students as an assistant, but even more as a friend.

“At first I thought that there would be some sort of bridge to gap, but when I met them, any fears I had of discomfort or awkwardness disappeared completely,” she added. “When it came right down to it, we were all there to learn and have fun.”

Funded in part by a grant awarded by the Vashon Park District, the project will be brought to fruition this fall when Rider selects four students from Vashon who will rehearse Monday and Wednesday evenings and two Saturdays during the month of October.

UMO is looking for interested students who are 18 (or close to it), have acting experience, have an interest in politics and are available for all rehearsals and performances.

E-mail or call 408-8059 for more information.

Any community members interested in supporting “First Vote” should e-mail

Stay tuned for performance dates and times.

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