Tuesday, May 28, 2013

No Secrets

No Secrets stands among the most powerful programs in Imagination Theater's history.  Our intuitive ensemble members bring the vital and often neglected issue of sexual abuse directly to Chicago's students.

Initiating a discussion about sexual abuse with K-8th graders is a daunting task, however, our excellent facilitator and passionate actors make it look easy.  The audience eases into the discussion via playful initial scenes where kids accidentally hurt each other, or an aunt pinches their cheeks.  These early scenes provoke laughter and make a serious discussion less intimidating while introducing the ideas of safe versus unsafe touches, personal body safety, and the right of children to tell anyone "no" if they ever receive a touch that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.  The subject matter gets weightier as the scenes progress.  By the time we approach the topic of sexual abuse, the audience is engaged and prepared.

We provide the students with a definition of sexual abuse and the assurance that if it happens it is not their fault and must be stopped.  Audience members create a list of trusted adults that they can report sexual abuse to, learn their rights, and practice saying 'no' to unwanted touches.

Before No Secrets even comes into a school, counselors and social workers receive a 3 hour training from the CCAC, and RVA provides a 90 minute staff/teacher training to prepare the school for the program and stress the proper procedure for student disclosures.

The show can be an emotional experience for some audience members.  Our partners, Rape Victims Advocates, support audience members that are affected by the performance.  There is a safe room where students can anonymously report to social workers and get the help they need.

Imagination Theater is excited to launch a continuing education component this year for K-2 audiences.  As part of this supplemental workshop RVA and Imagination Theater actors reiterate the show's most vital themes to our youngest audiences.  This is an important opportunity to review the difference between safe and unsafe touches.

This immensely powerful program is fully grant supported within the city of Chicago.  It is a resource that we are proud to provide.

As always, you can learn more about Imagination Theater at www.imaginationtheater.org

— Jeremy Schaefer


Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Friday night's Illuminate Benefit was fantastic!

Rape Victim Advocates were celebrated for their amazing work with our No Secrets program.  Their work in the classroom and in the safe room after the show, has a profound impact on children who have survived sexual violence.  RVA and No Secrets truly changes lives.

Over the course of the evening we raised nearly $25,000 for our cause!  This goes a long way toward sharing our powerful programming with eager audiences!  All students deserve theatrical expression and open discussion.  Your support and contributions make it happen!

Thank you!

As always, you can learn more about Imagination Theater at www.imaginationtheater.org.

— Jeremy Schaefer

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Illuminate Benefit

Illuminate Benefit!

When positive collaborations form, great things follow.  As Imagination Theater's annual Illuminate Benefit approaches, we gear up for a celebration of the myriad partnerships that have contributed to our mission this season!

As I type this, a corner of our office is quickly filling up with tempting items for the silent auction.  I've already begun planning my personal bidding strategy for the Kindle Fire.

This morning I finished the final touches on a video highlighting the year's accomplishments.  I look forward to sharing that HD miscellany of participatory theater with all our many partners.

For tickets to the event this Friday May 17 from 7:00 - 10:00 at the Mars Gallery: 1139 W. Fulton Market in Chicago, visit our benefit page.  

We hope to see you there!

As always, you can learn more about our varied programs at www.imaginationtheater.org.

− Jeremy Schaefer