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Oakland theater gets $5K grant

Friday, March 14, 2014

Staff report


The Oakland Center for the Arts has received a $5,000 grant by the MUKTI Fund for the upcoming season of YOUnify Theatre Company, the Oakland’s queer youth empowerment theater.

YOUnify, part of the National Pride Youth Theatre Alliance, was founded in 2012 by Kris Harrington and Daniel Nadon under the mentorship of Susan Haugh, artistic director of Dreams of Hope in Pittsburgh. Its goal is to empower the area’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered, and underprivileged youths through the arts.

Last year, YOUnify had a series of workshops that led to the conception of “Closet Space,” a collection of coming out stories based on the youth participants’ personal experiences.

“The next step for YOUnify is outreach, and ensuring that the Valley’s queer youth are aware of the safe space we offer,” states Kristopher Ray North, YOUnify’s artistic director and the Oakland’s director of LGBTQ outreach.

“For me, the most rewarding part of this program is the opportunity to watch the youth come out of their shells, finding their voice, and realizing that they are not alone,” he said.

Upcoming YOUnify performances include Kent-Trumbull Theater, April 18; and the Oakland, June 6-7.

The troupe also will perform excerpts of “Closet Space” at the Youngstown Pride Festival in June.

For more information or to join, go to