BLACK VOICES
05/23/2014 04:33 pm ET Updated May 24, 2014

This Is What Happens When You Introduce 'Troubled' Black Youth To Theater

Upworthy asked the question "what happens when you put a bunch of troubled teens in the same acting class?" The answer to it is every bit inspiring as one would hope.

The Stargate Theater Company was launched by the Manhattan Theater Club in 2013. The program is a six week workshop of writing, team-building exercises and theatrical training that culmininates in a performance written by the seven participants. The youth involved are paid for their creative work -- the mission of Stargate is to in fact expand employment prospects.

A Nation Swell video interviewed one participant, Christopher Thompson about the physical altercation that brought him to Stargate.

"I wish I could take it back... actually I don't wish I could take it back, because what happened to me afterwards is one the best things to happen to me in my entire life."

One of the program's artistic directors, Judy Tate -- a four-time Emmy Award winning playwright who hails from South Side Chicago and has worked with incarcerated youth for a decade -- is passionate about what the theater program provides the teenagers she works with:

I don't know whether these kids will ever take another acting class or another writing class, but somewhere in their life they're going to have to talk about where they came from, what they want and what they aspire to. That's the practice that they get in here... That's what owning your ideas and language can do.

Check out the Stargate Theater Company's inspiring interview segment in the clip above.

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