Before there was New Expression, there was Random Acts of Theatre Company (affectionately, RATCo). The story of this program at its flagship location in Selma, Alabama, was artfully told through a documentary called I WILL DANCE. The program lives on today as New Expression and the film can now live on as a household name as online downloads of the film are NOW AVAILABLE!
You can rent or buy, and all proceeds will go to the programs of Something New.
Check out the film trailer and purchase the movie at www.IWILLDANCEMovie.com.
What’s in [the original] name?
Before we had a name for it, we knew we wanted a totally non-traditional theatre program. Where my background in performing was competitive and high-pressure, we wanted something focused way more on developing people than performers. Theatre would take a backseat to the mentoring and coaching at the core of the program and we wanted a name that reflected that. We based Random Acts of Theatre Company (RATCo) on the idea of random acts of kindness.
Theatrical productions were just our mechanism for teaching youth to express themselves freely. As we evolved, we found young people who wanted to be involved but had more diverse interests than just acting and singing. Aspiring writers, videographers, spoken word performers, painters, rappers, photographers, dancers, and musicians all needed a safe place to learn, develop their crafts, and gain confidence. As we began branching into other aspects of the arts, we found that our “theatre” brand was unintentionally limiting. We needed a reboot! “New Expression” represents the heart of our mission beautifully—while being more accessible to all kinds of artists.
One difference going forward will be the artistic diversity of our programming, and of our participants. Our new expanded vision includes our first youth film festival (coming Spring of 2016), a dance team, a children’s choir, and workshops on everything from film editing to acting to digital animation. The sky is the limit!
What’s Staying the Same?
While some things are changing, others will remain the same. RATCo has always represented inclusion, acceptance and unity. That will never change. We will always provide a place where everyone is accepted for exactly who we are. As we’ve said from the beginning: “Every person has a part, and every part is important.”
Contributed by Jill Johnson, Board Member & Community Volunteer
As a long time board member and volunteer, I have seen this organization consistently evolve. When we were first founded back in 2005 we just knew we wanted to help people. Period. No strings attached. It has taken 10 years to get to where we are now – three robust youth programs thriving in several cities, touching thousands of young lives and still growing!
We recently renamed, rebranded and refreshed our organization. The new names allowed us to tie together our programs for a more streamlined brand. Something New is now comprised of three stellar youth programs: New Expression youth arts, New Way conflict reconciliation training, and New Alternative service learning trips. The recent name change from Freedom Foundation to Something New tells the story of some things that needed to change and others that never will.