The Manoa Project is a partnership between the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Tricklock Theatre Company
The National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is dedicated to the study, advancement, and presentation of Hispanic culture -- arts, and humanities. Founded in 1983, the NHCC offers year-round public programming in the visual arts, performing arts, history, literary arts, and media arts. The NHCC is a division of New Mexico's Department of Cultural Affairs.

The NHCC recruits students and instructors from varied racial, ethnic, geographic and socio-economic backgrounds to create a diverse community that believes in the study of the arts as both an individual and group exploration into a community's potential.  It offers two intensive summer institutes for 14 to 18 year olds: Voces Writing Institute and the Manoa Project (Playwriting Competition and Ensemble Apprenticeship). These programs provide challenging and tuition-free arts instruction and mentorship.

The Voces curriculum is designed to develop and refine students' writing skills and motivate them to share their distinctive voices on the printed page and in public performances.  Students receive instruction in poetry, fiction, spoken word and journalism.  Through assigned readings, workshops, group critiques, journaling and movement exercises, students learn the craft of fiction and poetry in a supportive community of writers and readers. Voces is led by one full-time writing mentor and three core artists.  Visiting authors also are invited to teach poetry and fiction sessions, as well as to read their work and discuss their lives as artists. Voces culminates in a public performance at NHCC and an annual publication of student work.

The Manoa Project is conducted in partnership with the Tricklock Theatre Company, an Albuquerque-based professional ensemble troupe and Theatre-in-Residence at the University of New Mexico.  In the playwriting competition phase, the Project invites teens each spring to submit an original one-act play with six or more characters.  A panel of theatre professionals selects one winning play and alternate plays.  The young playwrights do rewrites with a professional playwriting mentor from the University of New Mexico to prepare their work for staging by the Manoa Training Ensemble. Tricklock artists and Manoa mentors students in basic acting skills, ensemble building, vocal training, acrobatics, clowning, circus skills, improvisation, solo work creation, and a variety of physical theatre styles.  The summer program culminates in a weekend performance at NHCC of the winning play and staged readings of the alternate plays, as well as demonstrations of original pieces developed by the Training Ensemble.

Both programs combine rigorous arts training and strong mentoring components. Teens who participate in these programs have access to NHCC's impressive arts programming and state-of-the-art facilities.

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