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Intro


Drama Club is an innovative non-profit organization that provides theatre programming and positive mentorship to incarcerated and court-involved young people in New York City.

 

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Intro


Drama Club is an innovative non-profit organization that provides theatre programming and positive mentorship to incarcerated and court-involved young people in New York City.

 

DONATE

OUR MISSION

It is Drama Club’s mission to provide theater training and positive mentor relationships to New York City youth throughout each step of their journey through the criminal justice system: detention, placement and aftercare.

ABOUT DRAMA CLUB

Founded in 2013 in New York City, Drama Club is an organization that provides theatre programming to incarcerated and court-involved young people. We are like a mobile drama club, bringing our classes into juvenile detention centers, jails and community centers throughout the city. It started as a rehearsal process of a play at Crossroads Juvenile Center, which was presented as a staged reading for staff, fellow residents and family members. The success of this project blossomed into a consistent year-round program.  

Currently, Drama Club is offered at five different sites:

  • Crossroads Juvenile Center in Brooklyn
  • Horizon Juvenile Center in the South Bronx
  • The Robert N. Davoren Center (RNDC) on Rikers Island for adolescent boys
  • The Rose M. Singer Center (RMSC) on Rikers Island for adolescent girls and young women
  • The Door for systems involved youth in lower Manhattan

Each year, we work with approximately 500 individual students between the ages of 10-21, developing theatre and positive mentor relationships throughout each step of their journey in the criminal justice system: detention, placement, and aftercare. Drama Club is committed to providing New York City's most vulnerable youth the opportunity to laugh, play, and cultivate life skills through improvisational theatre.

We use improvisational theatre as our core curriculum, because improv is play which involves healthy risk-taking and empowers young people to tell the stories they want to tell, in the ways in which they want to tell them. Students learn to cultivate focus and practice impulse control in a safe environment. Kids with various literacy rates and even different languages can participate in improv, exploring boundaries in a world they have created. In stark contrast to their school environments where they were often disciplined, our classes become positive, transformative spaces where they can learn and grow. Drama Club kids say "Yes, and..." and keep coming back to our classes over and over again. Some have even become peer mentors for other youth after they are released.

The curriculum includes a strong Youth Leadership component. Theatre classes and performance opportunities build leadership skills in young people by teaching collaborative problem solving, working as a team, flexibility, resilience, communication and group decision-making. All of the games, improvisation, listening and responding, and story building that happens in Drama Club classes develops leadership skills that change these young people in profound ways.

Drama Club is committed to providing New York City’s most vulnerable youth the opportunity to laugh, play, and cultivate life skills through improvisational theatre.


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Listen to NPR's coverage of our
program at Rikers Island,
"Bringing Theater Behind Bars".


Feedback from Drama Club participants:


Organizational Partners

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