With Conflict Resolution Through Theatre workshops, ShaVonne Davis hopes to ‘flip the script’ on teen violence

One woman’s quest to end youth violence through the arts has taken on a new meaning after a deadly shooting on the west side of Fort Worth. ShaVonne Davis is a Theatre Teaching Artist concerned with the way youth in Fort Worth “act.” This goes well beyond behavior, but the expression of their aspirations as well as frustrations. Davis began her “Conflict Resolution Through Theatre” workshops as a pathway to deter youth from fighting and gun violence that affect both school time and after-school interactions. Following a drive-by shooting on the city’s west side, Davis is again acting with compassion.

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ShaVonne Davis talks about her conflict resolution workshop in the Las Vegas Trail area of Fort Worth.

The surge in peer-to-peer violence has revealed a startling truth: both the victims and the perpetrators are younger than before. The “Conflict Resolution Through Theatre” workshop recognizes the need for intervention and works to prevent future violence by teaching young people conflict-resolution techniques that resolve disputes in safe and non-violent ways. Juvenile deaths from gun violence outnumber those from auto accidents, suicide, and other forms of homicide. No life is expendable and, with a renewed sense of the preciousness of life, students may find themselves working to help preserve life instead of harming each other.

Upon returning from Clark Atlanta University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts, the Fort Worth native taught in the Fort Worth, Dallas, and Grand Prairie School Districts. While teaching, she realized the potency with which she could reach her students through her love of Theatre Arts. Mrs. Davis has led numerous community initiatives that provide citizens with access to food, clothing, toys, life skills, and much more. Maroon 9 Community Enrichment Organization and Acting With Mrs. Davis regularly collaborate to host programs to avert juvenile delinquency and steer youth in the direction of a future replete with possibilities for life beyond high school.

Davis’ youth acting troupe, “Kids Acting with Purpose” is preparing for a production of “Harriet Tubman: Take My Hand and Follow Me” written by Kathryn Schultz-Miller this summer and is still riding high on the heels of four sold-out shows of “Bone Soup: A Kwanzaa Story” at Fort Worth’s historic Jubilee Theater. When asked what drives her passion and desire to reach youth through theatre arts, Davis said, “There are so many life skills to be learned from the study of Theatre. It is not only acting, but public speaking, critical thinking, team building, culture, and self-confidence are all by-products of the academia of Theatre.”

In 2023, Davis held a symposium on teen violence at Southwest High School which gave students a chance to speak with law enforcement and community leaders about the rise in violent crime among teenagers. Davis began this year teaching her conflict resolution workshop at LVT Rise community center in the area where the shooting happened and looks forward to continuing programming throughout the city.

For more information about Kids Acting With Purpose or how to bring the “Conflict Resolution Through Theatre” workshop to your school, community center, or church, contact Mrs. ShaVonne Davis at 682-200-9261

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