On Friday, October 11, 2014, Leviathan Lab Applied Theatre Initiative Co-Directors Lydia Gaston and Claro de los Reyes spoke as part of the panel Rainbow Connections: Building & Sharing Theatre Programs for Asian American Youth at the Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists' 2014 National Asian American Theater Conference at the Asian American Arts Initiative in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lydia and Claro, along with Mu Performing Arts Artistic Director Randy Reyes; National Asian Artists Project Board Director Nina Zoie Lam; and playwright, director, and taiko drum artist Rick Shiomi, panel moderator.
The Rainbow Connections panel explored using theater with Asian American youth and their communities to create a new generation of leadership and artistry. The four leaders of successful models from existing youth programs discussed their programs and shared best practices. Through panel member presentations – including slide decks, videos, script readings, and facilitated group discussion – attendees gained insight and inspiration towards the creation of theatre programs for Asian American youth in their home communities. Panel participants learned the challenges and best practices for these programs as they examined different models of bringing art to a community – from traditional hierarchical methods, to the co-intentional, learner-centered approach inherent in Freirean pedagogy. Using theatre conventions to promote an interactive dialogue, the panel and the participants looked at how, when, and why either or any of these methods may be used.