Theatrical performances are commonly used tools in many sexual violence prevention efforts. Each theater project varies greatly in scope and format. Some focus on building awareness of intimate partner violence, while others focus on such topics as signs of an unhealthy dating relationship, bullying, or how participants can avoid being bystanders to an act of violence.
Deana’s Educational Theatre
Deana’s Educational Theatre (formerly Deana’s Fund) develops and produces high impact programs to promote healthy relationships. The professional actors are specially trained to lead dynamic discussions following each performance. Some of Deana’s Educational Theatre programs include:
The Yellow Dress
The Yellow Dress is a dramatic one-woman play based on the stories of young women who were victims of dating violence. The carefully constructed program stimulates thought-provoking discussion about relationships.
Remote Control is a program that educates male and female students about what they can do as bystanders to dating violence. Remote Control is a highly interactive program that captures the attention of middle and high school audiences. The performance explores issues, attitudes, and beliefs about dating relationships, and incorporates skill-building exercises designed to encourage healthy decision-making.
- Doin’ The Right Thing: Is a three-person play for middle and upper-elementary school students that addresses bullying, respect, and constructive bystander behaviors.
- Girl Chat: Geared toward middle school female audiences and addresses bullying.
- Step Up: A three-person play for middle school male audiences that addresses bullying.
- All Starz: Geared toward grades 1-3 that identifies bullying behaviors among other topics.
- The Lesson: Explores cyberbullying and identifies cyberbullying behaviors, and addresses the importance of bystanders.
Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre
Kaiser Permanente created Educational Theatre Programs to inspire children, teens, and adults to make informed decisions about their health and to build stronger, healthier neighborhoods. Some of their productions, such as PEACE Signs, include domestic violence prevention.
Catharsis Productions produces “Sex Signals,” a program that is a combination of improvisational comedy, education, and audience participation. The two-person show explores how mixed messages, gender role stereotypes, and unrealistic fantasies contribute to issues such as dating, sex, and ultimately, acquaintance rape on college campuses.
Rutgers University SCREAM Theatre
The Rutgers University SCREAM Theatre combines peer education and theater to address a variety of issues, including sexual assault, dating violence, sexual harassment, and bullying.
Theater Peace is a program of Peace Over Violence (Los Angeles, CA). In this peer-to-peer education program, high school students teach middle school youth about teen dating violence and provide violence prevention education using skits.
University of Colorado at Boulder The Interactive Theater Project
The Interactive Theater Project provides professionally scripted and improvisational performances designed to educate the community, faculty, staff, and students about social justice. The performance then becomes a springboard for dialogue among the characters, facilitator and the audience. This conversation often allows groups to explore difficult, complex issues and contributes to greater community strength, creativity and competence.
University of Texas at Austin’s Voices Against Violence Peer Theatre Group
The Voices Against Violence peer theatre group delivers interactive performances that depict realistic scenarios around such issues as relationship violence, sexual violence, and stalking.
Voices of Men
Voices of Men is an educational comedy written and performed by Ben Atherton-Zeman. “Voices of Men” has been performed in many high schools. The play uses humor and celebrity male voice impressions to address dating violence, sexual assault, and other forms of men’s violence against women. The play is supplemented by educational messages projected on a screen behind the actor. In between characters, video clips depicting violence prevention efforts are shown. Because some of the videos contain representations of violence (including 911 tapes, PSAs, still photos and fictional representations of violence), care should be shown and warnings given to audience members before viewing “Voices of Men.”
‘You the Man’ by Add Verb Productions at the University of New England’s InterProfessional Education Collaborative
An actor leads this results-based program that encourages participants to move beyond the bystander role and to recognize signs of an unhealthy relationship. He embodies several high school male characters during the performance and addresses gender role socialization and teen dating violence.