Encuentro STEM: Wilmer Valderrama Introduces Latino Youth to the STEM of Live Theatre

Encuentro STEM: Wilmer Valderrama Introduces Latino Youth to the STEM of Live Theatre

Time Warner Cable & Ovation TV Partner with the Los Angeles Theatre Center

Wilmer Valderrama leads teens in the STEM of theatre

Bresee Foundation teens enjoy Encuentro STEM

Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 10:20am

CAMPAIGN: Connect A Million Minds

CONTENT: Article

By Lizzy Paulson, Events Director, Community Investment and Iris Duran, Community Investment Manager

You may still remember seeing your first theater performance and being completely mesmerized – the costumes, the set, the actors – everything transporting you into another world. Do you realize how many technical elements there are to a live theater performance?

At Time Warner Cable, we are constantly creating new and exciting approaches to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by showcasing the role those subjects play in the things they already love. For us, theater lovers and proud nerds, the opportunity to reveal the wonders of STEM in Theater to a group of young minds seemed like a dream come true so we set to work putting all the pieces in place.

We partnered with the P. F. Bresee Foundation to identify 200 young participants for a STEM of Theater workshop. P. F. Bresee is a local Los Angeles non-profit dedicated to providing comprehensive after-school programs and family services that equip young people to pursue their education, achieve their full potential, and serve others.

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, Time Warner Cable hosted “EncuentroSTEM,” a live theater workshop that connected participants to the STEM in live theater both on stage and behind the scenes. Put on in partnership with the Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC) and Ovation TV, “EncuentroSTEM” exposed the middle schoolers in the audience to the various technical elements of live theater—including sound, lighting, set design, and costume design—as well as all the STEM- enabled career opportunities in this “artistic” space.

The incredible actor and activist Wilmer Valderrama played a special part in this workshop as our host – speaking from the heart about what it was like growing up Latino and how the theater helped him to learn English and gave him the confidence he needed in order to be successful. “If you have the courage to stand on stage, there is absolutely nothing that you cannot do off that stage,” Mr. Valderrama said while introducing the workshop.

The program began with presentations and demonstrations by technical theater artists, who each explained their craft. Through these presentations, Bresee youth came to see that there was more to theater than acting as they learned about lighting, sound, costume, and set design. Afterwards, they were treated to 20 minutes of an actual stage performance, Premeditation, during which they could see all the elements previously discussed come together in a coherent production.

Additionally, “EncuentroSTEM” was available for viewing as a live webcast, and audiences around the world logged in to learn about the STEM behind live theater. Individuals from Brazil and other South American countries tuned in and watched the webcast live, participating with the 200 Bresee youth in the discussions and asking questions of the presenters.

Following the "EncuentroSTEM," workshop, students at the Bresee Foundation will take a deeper dive in the STEM behind live theatre through an after school theatre program starting in January 2015. Over the course of six weeks, participants will study elements of costume, lighting, set and sound design and will be able to put what they learned into practice by writing and presenting their own play at a culminating event in March 2015.

Judging by the video made by one of the P. F. Bresee members of the audience, we think some of them may also be hooked for life now. Standing ovation for STEM!  To see the entire program, click here.

Learn more on TWC's corporate blog, Untangled

To enjoy the full webcast, please click here.


Lizzy Paulson
+1 (310) 563-5891
Time Warner Cable
Iris Duran
+1 (310) 765-2160
Time Warner Cable
CATEGORY: Education