Storycatchers Theatre in Chicago Pays At-Risk Youth to Write, Produce and Perform Original Musicals

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GBN volunteer Becky Schonbrun recently informed us about an inspiring program out of Chicago for at-risk youth called Storycatchers Theatre, which, according to their website, has been “preparing young people to make thoughtful life choices through the process of writing, producing and performing original musical theatre inspired by personal stories” for over 30 years.

While participating in storytelling, scriptwriting, and performance-skills residencies with Storycatchers artists, the youth participants not only get a chance to write songs, poems, stories and scenes inspired by personal experiences, they get paid to do so. The process reinforces their recognition of choices and consequences, enhancing the ability and desire of participants to make choices that lead to positive outcomes.

NAHYPA photoIn November of 2013, Storycatchers received a NATIONAL ARTS & HUMANITIES YOUTH PROGRAM AWARD in recognition of its work with detained and incarcerated youth. Founder and Artistic Director Meade Palidofsky traveled to Washington DC to accept the award from First Lady Michelle Obama. The National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Awards are an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The President’s Committee partners with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to administer the program.

To see video of this inspiring program and to hear from the participants in their own words, click here.

“Flip For Your Fate?”, a staged reading of works in progress by Storycatchers Theatre at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, will be held on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. Admission is free. Reservations are required.

To learn about other upcoming Storycatchers performances, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

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