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Chicago Center Student Highlight: Rayvonne Wright

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

2021 UPDATE:

We reached out to Rayvonne again to check in with her and see how she's doing post-Chicago Center. Read her interview below!

Q: What made you decide to do the program even though our country was in the middle of a pandemic? How did you benefit from completing an internship and exploring the city during this time in history? One of the major factors that persuaded my decision to attend CCULC is that I felt I was at a standstill in my productivity and creativity. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was forced home from an overseas program that I was attending for my College and I was stuck in Texas, with no friends, no freedom, and doing online classes (which do not work well with my learning style). I felt that I needed a change of location and a creative outlet to help get me out of a mental and physical standstill. And I can't say enough that it was one of the best decisions. Even with Covid- 19 rearing its ugly head at the world, it was still a valuable learning experience to not only get me out of my home but to get me being creative again. By leaving, it benefited me in not only taking an internship with a lovely Theatre program that focuses on neuro-divergent inclusion in theatre, but it made it really easy to recognize what was necessary to make me happy and get to know a city so infamous for its negative behavior and really understand what made Chicago, well, Chicago. By learning what made the people of Chicago special -- what made Hyde Park, Bronzeville, Skokie, and other communities so interesting -- it gave me a creative outlet, inspiration for theatre, but also I learned that a reputation of a place might not always apply to every part of that location. I learned all of this in the middle of a pandemic. That's both terrifying and fascinating.

Q: What do you want other students to know about Chicago Center and why should they decide to make Chicago their classroom? What I would inform other students is that CCULC is an adventure, a learning environment, and a home. With its hospitable executive directors, welcoming program coordinators, and fellow students that want the same thing you want -- to learn -- it is a unique environment and is unlike anything I have ever experienced. And that speaks of CCULC alone and not how welcoming, spacious, and inclusive Chicago itself is. Chicago is your classroom and you can travel through it, experience its culture, and learn from it in every way and method you see fit. Chicago is your classroom, I advise that you take the chance and use it while you have it.

Q: What was your favorite part of the summertime in the city? My favorite part is just how warm and atmospheric it is. When I went on walks to Target or other local shops from our Hyde Park Apartment, I got to pass all the amazing ivy-covered buildings, the historical and colorful homes (some looking like they came straight out of a Studio Ghibli film), and past all the amazing artwork and graffiti that is notorious in Chicago. And even when I wasn't in Hyde Park, the places I visited within the city were really welcoming and open to the public. I recommend going to the Art museum or even going up to Millennium Park and taking a walk around the Fountain and lakefront.


(Original article. Published July 21, 2020)

This summer, Rayvonne Wright from Hastings College is completing an internship at the EDGE of Orion Theatre. Read on to hear about her experience at her internship and what she has learned so far.

There are a plethora of reasons as to why I decided to apply for an internship at the Chicago Center, but the main one is I wanted to remain in motion and constantly doing creative things with my time during the summer. I wanted to continually put my time and energy into bettering my knowledge and understanding of my field (theatre) and learning about the world I live in from a different point of view that I was not used to. And I believe it is fair to say I would not have achieved that by sitting on my butt back in Texas.

My favorite activity in Chicago is venturing into the city to find different fabric and sewing

shops that are not a “chain” so that I can support shops that are local to the city. The most difficult aspect of my experience has been taking public transit to every location I go and being patient with the inconsistency with public transit.

It hasn't been very difficult to do an internship in Chicago during COVID-19 as long as you follow the guidelines set by not only the Chicago Center, but the state as well. But it has been otherwise very nice. There are limitations to what is open and where we can go because of the quarantine but that makes each place we go even more important and vital . I value what we have been given and the people I have met because of this quarantine.

Since I am working with a theatre program that focuses on theatre productions that

incorporate neurally diverse individuals it is amazing to learn how costumes and theater

productions are being run in a different way from the idea of a neural-typical theatre

environment. I am learning to make Visual Diagrams to give the actors a visual representation

of how the costumes are to be worn and arranged on the body. This is something I have never

had to do and it is super exciting to learn about something that is in my field, that I was

completely unaware was a method of costume design. This is just one of the things I am

learning but I believe it is the most important to speak about since this brings in an entirely new

perspective that I have never had to consciously think about for theatre. The idea that people

who are neurally diverse sometimes need a little extra assistance when it comes to costume

and the arrangement of costumes. It really has made me realize that that is something I wasn't

fully aware of in a theatre environment.

I have learned that theatre is far more than a “show." It is a creative outlet that many people, myself included, need so that they can release this creative energy that otherwise would be left untapped. This is a community that has thrived for thousands of years and they love putting on a production to re-tell a tale in a new light. This community will continue to do what they love no matter what and if that means it is done digitally in a zoom meeting then that is something they will do. They are not going to let these amazing actors let their time be wasted because of Quarantine. They realize this is the perfect time to be even more creative and resourceful so that the show can go on. That theatre is important for not only those who work within it but it is important for those who watch as well.

This experience has definitely helped me grow. To understand that there is more than one community of people in the theatre and that they need a little extra help from time to times. It makes me realize I have to be even more open minded to those who are in my community and to communicate with them so that they can be on the same playing field as the rest of the actors. That is a skill I can take not only into other theater departments but into my everyday life as well.

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