Amanda Palmer, co-founder of the legendary Dresden Dolls and known for a wide variety of solo work, is a damn-proud alumna of the Lexington High School drama program. She credits it for granting her the opportunity to work with avant-garde material and forms that continue to influence her as a performer and artist. Naturally, then, she felt particularly outraged by her alma mater shutting down a student theater production of Columbinus, a play based on the Columbine High School shooting. It also happens that Emma Feinberg, the student behind the production, has performed in one of Palmer’s collaborations with Lexington High.

Palmer has posted a response on her blog, calling for stories of how theater programs provided life-changing opportunities by allowing students to work with challenging, difficult material:

i want to ask you guys to do something.

writing complaint letters to the school at this point won’t help, it will probably only irritate them.

BUT i’d love for you, in the blog comments below, to share your own experiences of high school art/theater/music departments, especially if you had a good, cutting-edge teacher, program or opportunity that encouraged boundary-pushing and real art-exploring. tell how those experiences changed your life, opened your mind, made you braver, helped you see things.

i’d love to compile THOSE stories and send them along to the principal and superintendent all in one package.

Since Sunday night, her post has racked up 121 comments. Add your story now and help challenge assumptions about what books, theater, or art that young people may or may not be capable of “handling”. And for more on this issue, check out the NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Project!

(photo by Michelle Matheny on Flickr)