September 30 7:00 pm

The Other Side of the Hallway follows a group of LGBTQIA+ students of color in a job placement community college program trying to navigate how to better their lives. They have become stagnant- and comfortable- in toxic relationships, violent family structures, and unaddressed mental and physical health. Although these young people want different and healthier options in their lives, they are terrified to take the leap. They fear if they attempt to make change, they will fail with no safeguards in place. It is better to stay with what they know best, no matter how unhealthy. Whether facing terrifying mental health diagnoses, abusive relationships, housing insecurity, or sexual abuse from their past, these young people try their hardest to find the courage for a better life on The Other Side of the Hallway.
Breaking Ground is a 2015 Obama White House award-winning Summer theatre program in partnership with SMYAL for LGBTQIA+ youth of color. The cast endures intensive group-level conversations, support, and exercises addressing the unique, beautiful, challenging, and dynamic experiences of LGBTQIA+ youth of color. The cast then develops a full-length musical theatre production based on the real-life stories of the cast. The performance touches on topics such as coming out, HIV/AIDS, relationships, eating disorders and body image, transphobia, homelessness, substance abuse, mental health, immigration, and a wide range of other topics and issues the cast faces.
Since the program’s inception in 2014, we have had sold-out performances at Arena Stage, Atlas Performing Arts Center, Gallaudet University, and Anacostia Arts Center. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we created a feature film that had a sold-out audience at the SW DC Wharf pier.
Over 150 LGBTQIA+ youth of color have participated in the Breaking Ground program. Results from pre and post-assessments of the program have shown the program led to an increase in housing stability, an increase in linkage to mental health resources, a decrease in high-risk sexual activity and HIV risk, an increased sense of community and comfort in one’s gender and sexual identity, and a decrease in substance use.