“Wicked” is back in Nashville, but it’s bringing something new with it: a connection to an anti-bully campaign.
For the past four years, the production has partnered with BullyBust, a program that not only tries to combat bullying, but promotes active intervening.
The website proudly proclaims the building of Upstanders, “people who stand up against bullying or mean/cruel behavior, and mobilize the entire community to end harmful harassment, teasing, and violence in our nation’s schools.”
More than 1800 schools across the country are participating in this Upstander Alliance, “which provides free resources to help student teams, in collaboration with adult moderators at the school, create targeted community-wide engagement projects focused on preventing bullying and raising awareness.”
The actors in “Wicked” have embraced the partnership fully, helping to create videos for the website and promoting the anti-bullying campaign through the musical, whose main character, Elphaba, is a target of bullying.
Due to the fact that she is green and extremely powerful, when Elphaba goes to school, she is bullied from the beginning. She is called out for having opposing views from the other students and being visibly different.
The pairing of Glinda and Elphaba helps to create the image of what happens when you are able to stand up for someone, or even just befriend someone who is being bullied.
There is a lesson to be learned, especially when many only know the post-”Wicked” story, where the Wicked Witch is known as the bully, not the bullied.
Through this, the pairing with BullyBust was born.
The campaign is “working with Wicked to provide students and adults with curricula, classroom activities and exciting ways to reduce bullying and promote upstander behavior,” according to its website.
BullyBust provides free toolkits and materials for schools to use in their own encouragement of bully prevention and uses “Wicked” as examples for students to relate to.
The partnership also creates a “For Good” video contest in which the winner receives a $500 grant as a prize to help further their efforts.
The video was supposed to illustrate students who were “people who stand up and become part of the solution to end harmful harassment, teasing, and violence in our nation’s schools,” according to a press release.
“Wicked” is not only helping promote the cause through the musical, but also raising money for the cause, selling a pin in their Ozdust Boutique store online in which a fifth of the proceeds go to BullyBust.
“Wicked” will be at TPAC for four weeks with matinee and evening performances, from March 26 to April 20.