Bronx en Seine: Connecting Teen Voices for Change

Bronx en Seine is a unique artistic adventure that allows two groups of students, ages 12 to 17, from Nanterre and the Bronx to immerse themselves in the performing arts, experience different cultures, and practice their foreign language skills.

Scenes from last year's production in France

Through artistic expression, the project seeks to expand participants’ horizons and to immerse them in different cultures and communities. We hope this broadening of perspectives inspires our young people to stand up against oppression and discrimination in their societies, encouraging them to use their voices to talk back to the world.

In its second year, teens in Bronx en Seine will participate in a series of theater workshops and perform a piece inspired by Sandra Cisneros’s beloved novel The House on Mango Street. Adapted for our purposes by Tristan Schoumaker, the story centers partially on Esperanza, a young adolescent living in a working-class, predominantly Latino neighborhood in Chicago. Her passion for writing serves not only as an outlet, but as a sort of protection and escape from the harsher realities of growing up in her neighborhood.

Thousands of miles away, on the other side of the continent, a young Vete decides to flee a raging war ravaging his country. His dream? To live in New York: not just anywhere, but in the Bronx. Why there? One night he found an old, dirty book, The House on Mango Street, in a trash can near his house. This was the first time he’d ever been exposed to English and the story, he believes, took place in the Bronx. He identifies with the characters in the book and imagines living their experience.

We believe that theater is a particularly powerful tool for building self-awareness and identity as it helps young people develop a strong voice and point of view on social change within and across different communities. An Attic Full of Hope (Fr. Un grenier plein d’espoir), is a symbolic representation of the adolescent quest for liberty and the struggles faced by immigrant communities.

It’s final New York City performances will take place on July 14th in the Florence Gould Hall at the French Institute: Alliance Française at 2:30pm and 7:30pm. You can RSVP HERE.