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Performing for change

Born from the curtains of theater and the desire for social change, The Walking Theater Project (WTP) brings a new kind of performance to Miami. Founded at Miami and originally created as a tool to advocate for same-sex marriage in the state of Ohio, the organization connects with communities through a variety of activities such as a stage reading last semester, which tackled the issue of mental health.

This year, WTP is looking to engage with the Miami community again. They're putting on a cabaret event with fifteen different student talents who will be featured in a variety-style show. The acts, ranging from pianists and singers to a playwright, all originated on Miami's campus.

Senior arts management and marketing major Austin Lamewona, freshman theatre major Jordan Myers, sophomore music education major Avery Pinta and junior theatre major Kyle Carson are a part of WTP's cabaret committee leading the initiative for the upcoming event. They recently organized the auditions with one goal in mind: inclusion.

"We don't turn down anyone, because we always want to celebrate people of diversity and strive to promote a safe and welcoming environment," Myers said.

The committee witnessed an unprecedented volume of eager individuals looking to make a name for themselves or simply to have fun.

Candidates performed a variety of acts, ranging from singing to reciting poetry. Interested performers simply signed up for a slot, performed their acts and received feedback from the floor.

Lamewona said there was a interesting variety of auditions.

"There was a comic from Not Very Funny, a comedy club on campus, who did one of his sets, there was a song from a girl who sings with a band called Chromatic Crew and one person who had written and performed two songs from his very own original musical," Lamewona said. "It was fantastic, all of it."

WTP is committed to piquing curiosity from the student body on campus. The group seeks to provide the oppressed with the means to do art, giving a voice to the disadvantaged a means of expression and a place to show their talents.

"We will be having a medium for people to showcase their expressions," Pinta said. "There's piano, there's singing, there's comedy. Everything will be set up to be very elegant -- black tie. We want to make the acts special, and for the audience to feel special coming there."

Throughout the process of putting on the cabaret, they've sought to reinvent the creativity needed to put on such a production and to transform the art into a social cause.

WTP will collaborate with Falcon Theater, an organization from Kentucky, to raise awareness around the HIV/AIDS community this year. They plan to do so with a dedicated set from the Falcon Theater and charitable donations from the event goers.

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The Walking Theater Project Black Tie Cabaret is set to happen at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 6 and the committee hopes to perform in the Shade Family Room in the Armstrong Student Center.