As an actress, KT Curran has appeared onstage in Sarasota and across the globe. But for the past couple of decades she’s turned her focus to writing, directing and producing plays for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida’s SOURCE Productions. She works with local actors, especially high school students, to deliver productions dealing with issues affecting teens and young adults.
Those have run the gamut from safe sex to bullying to pregnancy prevention. Many of Curran’s original plays have been nationally published and performed in the United States, Canada, England and even Australia. In the last few years, she and her crews have branched out into feature films, with two of them, The First Time Club and the most recent, Surviving Lunch, premiering at the Sarasota Film Festival. Another, When the Party Ends, which centers on the rise of HIV among young gay men, even took Curran and some of her colleagues to the Cannes Film Festival.
“I like to do good work as much as I like to help young people,” Curran says. She adds that thousands of young people of different races, genders and sexual orientations have directly participated in SOURCE projects, estimating that with international and web screenings the reach of SOURCE’s films has extended to 1 million viewers. But each piece starts one-on-one, “just asking people what’s the most vital issue affecting young adults today” before moving on to focus groups whose input informs her writing process.
“You have to build up trust,” she says, not only with the students sharing their stories and concerns but with schools, counselors, teachers and, in the case of Surviving Lunch, which includes a school shooting storyline, law enforcement. She’s grateful for Planned Parenthood’s support. “No other group I’m aware of has shown the vision and compassion to do this,” she says.
“I’m really proud of it,” Curran adds. “The work honors the voice of youth. And I strongly believe in the power of youth to make change in the world.”