The Yellow Dress comes to Robinson


Photo Lillian Martin

Carolina Cassedy (‘18) speaks in front of Robinson students prior to the performance of “The Yellow Dress”, a one-woman show to bring awareness to domestic abuse.

Lillian Martin, News Editor

In an effort to shed light on teen dating violence, Carolina Cassedy (‘18), brought the dramatic one-woman play, “The Yellow Dress”, to Robinson.

Cassedy is the co-chair of the Get Loud! Break the Silence basketball game, an annual event to bring awareness against domestic violence. But now, with “The Yellow Dress”, she’s taken her passion to help bring awareness to the issue to yet another stage.

“The Yellow Dress” is a play based off of stories from young women who experienced dating violence. It’s meant to send a message to teens about dating abuse and warning signs of an abusive relationship.

The play was held during school on Thursday, April 26, in Robinson’s auditorium. While it lasted only about 40 minutes, it took months of effort to get the play fo be performed by the Deana’s Educational Theater, the theatre that works to put this production on nationwide.

“I saw the show in October of 2017 and thought that this is something that every high schooler should see, that it’s really important. From there I decided to start communicating with [the Deana’s Educational Theater] in December to try to get it to Robinson,” Cassedy said. “I couldn’t get any replies from them until the middle of January, so for about a month and a half we went back and forth on things like what it would cost.”

It was no easy feat for Cassedy, who had help from The Spring of Tampa Bay, a non-profit organization whose mission is to prevent domestic violence, and several other sponsors. There were many issues in the process of getting the play to Robinson, the main one being copyright issues. Since the play is owned by Deana’s Educational Theatre, there were costs that went into the show; more precisely, $900.

And that’s not even including the effort Cassedy put into promoting the show.

“I made pamphlets and flyers and went around every single teacher personally and was like, ‘Here’s some information, I’d love if you could bring your class down,’” Cassedy said. She even had to prove to Principal Robert Bhoolai that at least 10 classes were going to attend the show in order to have it approved.

Come the day of the show, the auditorium was filled up with students and teachers, exceeding the expected number of attendees. And it wasn’t for nothing; a good majority of students felt like the topic of the play was extremely relevant, and helped them become more aware of dating violence.

“I think, especially being in high school, we don’t really think about getting abused in a relationship,” Sydney Seelen (‘18) said. “It’s scary to think that there are people my age stuck in an abusive relationship, and I think this play did a really good job in showing students that this is an actual thing that happens.”

Actress Denise Dean, who played the character of Anna, a teenage girl killed by her partner due to dating violence, stayed throughout lunches to answer students’ questions about the performance. Members of The Spring were also in the auditorium, ready to help students who might be suffering from dating violence.

“The involvement was really good,” Haley Hatcher (‘21) said. “I felt comfortable going up and talking to people and asking questions. It was really helpful.”

Regardless of how much effort she had to put in to bring the show to Robinson, Cassedy knew it was for a good cause, which is how she stayed persistent throughout the past few months.

“I think it’s really important to know [about dating violence] now so that later on in life, they won’t be in a situation where it happens,” Cassedy said. “I think it’s very essential for kids to hear this message at a young age.”

The Spring of Tampa Bay offers support for those who are affected by or are domestically abused as well as help to give answers to those who have basic questions on the topic. You can go to their website or use the contact information below to reach out.

24-7 Hotline: 813-247-SAFE (7233)

Tampa Outreach Offices: 813-749-8764

Email: [email protected]