This past Friday, 15 girls from Tampa’s Girlstories Leadership Theatre performed a dress rehearsal of their upcoming show “Dreams So Bright” to residents of Ella – the new home to 160 active seniors in Downtown Tampa’s mixed-use development, Encore. The girls, whose ages range from 11 to 13, were excited to perform this compilation of true stories from their lives to the friendly, supportive audience of residents.
“I want you to know how proud I am of you and I hope you all have very successful lives,” one 91-year-old resident stood up to tell the girls after the show.
The girls held a Q&A session with the audience following the performance, asking the residents to share their words of wisdom, favorite memories and who most inspired them in life.
“Listen to your parents; Always follow through; Take your time growing up; Don’t waste your time worrying about things out of your control.” were just a few of the gems shared by the audience.
Heather Clark, manager for Girlstories Theatre, described the positive changes she has observed in the girls during this summer workshop, where the girls have been rehearsing 8 hours a day, 5 days a week since mid June.
“They’ve learned to hold eye contact and gained confidence in dealing with others. Performing helps them build a sense of self and a sense of community with each other,” she said. To quote one girl’s line from the show, “The world’s a happier place when we all share our gifts.” We agree!
Some of the rave reviews heard today from Ella residents…
- “I thought it was beautiful; that was the first time I had ever heard girls express themselves like that.”
- “It was so inspirational to all females. They were so interested in everything that they said; they were focused and I hope their futures are as bright as they were today.”
- “I thought the show was absolutely beautiful. To see all the girls interacting with each other; their personalities were so great. It made me feel like I was back in my school days, having great fun and enjoying life. School days were the best days for me.”
- “I thought it was one of the most important things; to see these young girls — teaching others about the characteristics of life. They sure did a beautiful job. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were more girls doing this!”
Musical performance is at the heart of Encore. The community’s name nods to the area’s rich music history. Located where Tampa’s historic Central Avenue was known as “Harlem South” in its heyday, Encore is where Ray Charles recorded his very first song, the famous dance move and song “The Twist” was born, and many legendary music icons, including Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Cab Calloway, performed in clubs.
Watch the video captured from the day’s visit to ENCORE!:
Catch the upcoming public performances of Girlstories Leadership Theatre:
“Dreams Do Bright” on Sat., July 27 at 7:30 p.m. or Sun., July 28 at 2:30 p.m.
Hillsborough Community College, Ybor City Campus, 2204 N. 15h Street, Tampa
(Tickets $10.00, children under 6 no charge).
Spanning 12 city blocks and 40+ acres just north of downtown where Cass Street meets Nebraska Avenue, Encore is a master-planned, urban mixed-use redevelopment venture between the Banc of America Community Development Corp. and the Tampa Housing Authority. Encore is the catalyst for continuing redevelopment between Tampa’s Central Business District and Ybor City. Encore, a $425 million project will be under construction for the next 7 – 9 years. Once complete, more than 2,500 people will call Encore home.
Four Encore buildings are already in various stages of development and leasing:
- Ella – already home to 160 active, senior residents. Nearly 100% occupied.
- Trio – designed for families with children, singles, couples, friends, all families, these 141 apartment homes are on schedule and nearly 50% complete. Preleasing begins in 4th quarter 2013 with construction complete in 1st quarter 2014. Choose from 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms.
- Reed – expected to start construction mid-August. Will be home to active, senior residents in 158 one and two-bedroom apartment homes.
- Tempo – designed for families with children, singles, couples, friends, all families; financing for these 203 apartment homes is in the final stages, the design phase is nearing completion, and the architect and development partners will hold a community meeting scheduled for the end of July 2013 to present the proposed plan to the community and to gather community input. The general contractor will be selected by 3rd quarter 2013. Construction is expected to commence 1st quarter 2014. Families can select from 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom units.
The girls held a Q&A session with the audience following the performance, asking the residents to share their words of wisdom, favorite memories and who most inspired them in life. “Listen to your parents; Always follow through; Take your time growing up; Don’t waste your time worrying about things out of your control.” were just a few of the gems shared by the audience.
View photos from the performance: