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


Founded in 2013, Drama Club started 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

In FY2017 we worked with 431 individual students.

Our curriculum is improvisation-based. Improv is play: it involves healthy risk-taking and empowers youth to tell the stories they want to tell, in the ways in which they want to tell them. 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.


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

Feedback from Drama Club participants: