“Obie Award-winning actress and solo performer Nilaja Sun [is the creator of] No Child… which ran for an astonishing 311 performances, playing to sold-out audiences for over a year.

No Child… is a tour-de-force exploration of the New York City public school system, in which Sun fearlessly transforms with rapid-fire precision into the teachers, students, parents administrators, janitors and security guards who inhabit our schools and shape the future of America, making this play one of the most acclaimed theatrical events in recent years.”


The following response to Nilaja Sun’s No Child captures well how young people and adults benefit when students participate in the creation of art  about issues that affect them every day:

“We don’t ask young people how to improve their schools because they are too young and, ironically, uneducated. Yet, they are not stupid and might actually be able to provide insight into what we, as adults, seem not to have figured out yet about how best to improve their education.

In this context, the work of Nilaja Sun and only a few others exists as important exceptions to what must be seen as a systematic denial to children of a right to participate in planning, designing, and setting priorities for their own education. Ironically, in preparing our young people for participation in our democracy through their experiences in public schools, we deny them any role in that aspect of civic life in which they most directly participate and have substantive opinions and great investment — their schooling.”

Steve Seidel, Director of the Arts in Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Click here to read Seidel’s comments in their entirety.


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