First Wave Touring Ensemble

The First Wave Touring Ensemble is the artistic outgrowth of the First Wave Program. The ensemble was formed out of a response to requests for national performances. To lessen the impact on students’ academic schedules and ensure a manageable number for tours, an audition process was developed for representation at select national and international venues each year in response to demand for outreach, as well as multiple artistic and academic foci among First Wave scholars. We continue to use collaborative tools to unpack the personal narrative as a route to academic engagement, artistic productivity and community engagement. It is our philosophy that the arts are central to the education process. In that regard we collaborate with faculty from various disciplines that represent the broad range of majors in which our scholars are engaged and find creative ways to decode academic theory. By engaging academic theory in creative ways, students are given a platform to provide further spaces for deeper dialogue around difficult to discuss subject matter such as race, gender, religion, justice and politics in the United States.

Jackson Neal (He/They) is currently majoring in Creative Writing / Dance and is the 2019 Houston Youth Poet Laureate.

Azura Mizan Tyabji (She/Her) is currently majoring in Creative Writing / Sociology and is the 2019 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate.

Zachary Lesmeister (They/Them) is currently majoring in Creative Writing and is the 2017 St. Louis Youth Poet Laureate.

Sarah Abbas (They/Them) is currently majoring in Creative Writing and Psych and is the 2020-21 St. Louis Youth Poet Laureate.