BU Today

Arts & Entertainment

Raising Their Voices

Olivia Laroche (COM’09) and Vanessa Porter (CAS’08) are bringing middle school students to BU to perform plays.

Olivia Laroche (COM’09) and Vanessa Porter (CAS’08) are working hard to make sure that 40 East Boston eighth-graders have a campus experience to remember when they visit Boston University next week.

On April 5, the students from the Donald McKay School will come to campus and perform two topical plays they have produced and written through the BU Community Service Center’s Voices from the Middle program. In the program, a yearlong collaborative theater project, BU student volunteers help middle school students identify the challenges in their lives and then write and perform plays about them.
“Some of my best memories from high school were about theater,” says Laroche, Voices from the Middle program manager. “It’s not something everyone is lucky enough to be exposed to.” The students will perform their plays The Triangle, about peer pressure, and Rewind, about domestic abuse.

But before they take the stage, Porter, vice president for philanthropy for BU’s Panhellenic Council, and members of the council will treat the actors to a tour of the campus, a basketball game at FitRec, student performances, and lunch.

“I think Vanessa is probably the type of person who takes on a lot, and she balances it really well,” says Laroche. “It’s really nice to feel that someone is on your side.”

Laroche says that Voices from the Middle is an empowering artistic outlet for students, even for those who aren’t necessarily theater buffs. “It’s still good for them to get out what’s on their mind and think about the world they’re living in,” she says. “I think that’s one of the best things you can do for somebody.”

Brittany Jasnoff can be reached at bjasnoff@bu.edu.