Human First at Franklin High School

Written by:          Matthew B. Zrebski & Franklin High School students

Date/Time:           May 9, 2017 at 7:00pm

Location:              Franklin High School Auditorium (at Marshall Campus), 3905 SE 91st Avenue, Portland

Tickets:                 FREE!

Other info:           Recommended for ages 12 & up

Run time:             60-70 minutes

What does it mean to shed our labels and be seen as not student, not teacher, not job, gender, or age, but human first? Human First is a theatrical presentation and art showcase created by students from Franklin High School as they examine the complex issues related to mental well-being, identity, and community. Guided by award-winning playwright and director, Matthew B. Zrebski, the show features performances by professional actors as well as Franklin High School 9-12th grade students.

Human First is a high school residency program that focuses on themes of mental health and wellness for students, teachers, counselors, and administrators. Classroom residencies invite students to express their ideas through a variety of artistic media, including music, dance, visual art, and poetry.

These works were created during a 5-week mental/emotional wellness residency conducted by teaching artists from Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program in collaboration with Oregon Children’s Theatre, where they explored how students, teachers, administrators, and parents navigate the pressure of preparing for the future while being human in the present.

Essential Questions

  • Should we be able to speak about and explore mental health issues with the same level of comfort as we do when discussing physical health?

  • Why is mental health so quickly associated with mental illness?
  • Should mental well-being be addressed alongside physical well-being?
  • What issues in schools and in the daily lives of teenagers contribute to mental stress and mental health challenges?

The title Human First comes from a student who said, “I’m told to be a student, a child, a friend, a future employee – all these things…can’t I first just be a human being?”

About Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program

For more than 25 years, Kaiser Permanente has brought health education to our communities through the Educational Theatre Program. Live theater productions and artist-in-residence programs are offered to schools and communities free of charge in each of Kaiser Permanente’s regions. In the northwest, Kaiser Permanente has partnered with Oregon Children’s Theatre for more than ten years to bring this vital work to our community, serving nearly 300,000 students, teachers, and families. Kaiser Permanente is proud to support initiatives like ETP that focus on community and well-being. Themes of past plays include obesity and bullying, healthy eating, mental health and wellness, and peer pressure.

About Oregon Children’s Theatre

Founded in 1988, Oregon Children’s Theatre has served well over two million children, teachers, and families.  Its mission is to create exceptional theater experiences that transform lives. OCT is Oregon’s largest non-profit professional children’s theater company and a resident company of Portland’5 Centers for the Arts.  Performances are held weekdays for school audiences and on weekends for family audiences.  OCT serves more than 120,000 children of all ages each year.  OCT offers numerous school services including study guides, teacher professional development opportunities, in-school workshops, and an extensive outreach program.  In partnership with Kaiser Permanente, the Educational Theatre Program provides free touring productions that promote healthy living. OCT’s year round Acting Academy offers theater classes for children ages 3-18 and Young Professionals Company, a mentoring program for teens.