Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New and Customized Performances!

We are only a few weeks into our 50th season and we've already premiered three brand new works of interactive theater!

Ellen Cribbs, Imagination Theater's CSAPP Program Facilitator, worked closely all summer with artistic staff and our partners at RVA to craft brand new No Secrets scripts for grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8.  These new scenes provide returning audiences with different scenarios through which to understand sexual abuse prevention.  We've also taken this opportunity to address some of the ways technology has impacted this vital conversation in recent years.

Earlier this month, we premiered the K-2 and 6-8 versions of the new scripts for audiences that had previously experienced No Secrets.  The response was both positive and immediate.  Students were instantly engaged by the overhauled scenarios and eager to jump on stage to articulate their understanding.  One student, on what was only his second day at a new school, bravely came on stage to demonstrate how he would support a friend in need.  It is humbling to work on such an important program and then watch it highlight the courage and compassion in our audience.

We also customized a program specifically for a high school that wanted to bring more civility and understanding into the political debates waged by students.  Debates are essential to a healthy democracy, but when passions are whipped up by the excitement of an election year, it can be hard for citizens of all ages and persuasions to represent their opinions respectfully.  This customized show intentionally opened up discussion around controversial topics.  Our actors and facilitators, however, never took a side.  Instead we put the tenor of the dialogue under the microscope and encouraged the audience to transform each scene from unhelpful vitriol into civil discourse.

All of our shows spark discussion, so it was a particularly rewarding experience to watch a show ignite a conversation about the manor in which we as concerned citizens can effectively communicate in both private and public forums.

To learn more about Imagination Theater and our participatory programs, please visit our new website at www.imaginationtheater.org.

—Jeremy Schaefer, Artistic Director

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

50 Seasons!

This week launches Imagination Theater's 50th season of original, dynamic, participatory theatrical programming that enhances well-being and creates a more civil, safe society!

Our 49th season delivered 264 unique programs to a total of 42,077 audience members and expanded the reach of our Erin's Law program, No Secrets, making it our most popular performance.

So what's new this year?

  • We've welcomed four fantastic actors into our ensemble.

  • We've overhauled No Secrets for all grade levels, ensuring that this program can maximize impact as we return to schools year after year.

  • We've updated scenes in popular assemblies including Ease the Tease and Show Some Respect.

  • We've re-examined our facilitation style and made adjustments to bolster audience discussion and highlight important skill sets.

  • We've partnered with Judy Freedman, our Ease the Tease collaborator, to create a brand new show that fosters empathy skills for K-5 audiences.

  • We've workshopped our forum scenes to most effectively address issues of immediate concern to audience members.

  • We've brought on Braden Cleary as Imagination Theater's awesome new Sales and Marketing Manager.

  • We've unveiled a brand new website as well as a new actor uniform.

We're incredibly excited to launch this milestone season.  We hope to celebrate by sharing a performance with you!

As always, you can find more information about all our programs by visiting www.imaginationtheater.org.

- Jeremy Schaefer, Artistic Director