#ClaimingMyRole: New Social Media Campaign

This year ENACT decided social media would be the best way to connect the Show UP! audience and the greater community to the students’ lived experiences. But where to start? Darci Burch, teaching artist and drama therapist, and Barbara Kaynan, event planner and drama therapist, were charged with fleshing out the campaign.  Through the course of planning meetings, it became apparent that it would be critical to place students at the center of the campaign. Darci and Barbara latched on to the students’ exploration of roles they desired to play versus roles they felt others made them play. Combining the theme of labels with role theory, a theory and method founded by Dr. Robert  Landy, the campaign evolved to provide individuals the opportunity to identify labels they were assigned and to claim ownership over a label, or role, to which they felt a deeper association.For this social media campaign, Darci and Barbara decided to create multiple role cards that would serve two distinct purposes. First, the students in the show and audience members chose a card with a word on it. This word would describe a role or label the person had been called in the past by others, which didn’t accurately describe who they feel they are or how they identify. The participant then chose another role, which described how they felt about themselves or how they wanted to be represented. The roles were vast with over 50 to choose from as well as an opportunity to write a role on a blank card if none of those supplied fit. Two columns on the wall read “People think I am…” and “But really I am…”.  Participants physically placed a role in each column thus claiming which role they wanted for themselves. Pictures were taken with the role cards and a chalkboard displaying the hashtag: #ClaimingMyRole.

The hope for this campaign was for the audience, and greater ENACT community, to identify with the students’ experiences of being labeled and how these labels aren’t always an accurate representation of who they truly are. It also allowed the audience to reflect on their own experience with assigned labels. This campaign aims to remind everyone that each person can choose the role they play to positively affect how they feel on the inside and are seen on the outside. The community was galvanized around supporting the students as they entered the process of claiming their roles together for Show UP! 2016.

Be on the lookout for more of #ClaimingMyRole in the future as well as new hashtags that continue to stay relevant to the central themes of the students’ work. The goal is to deepen the connections between the greater community and ENACT students, so everyone can stay involved in the facilitation of healing and creating change.


2015-16 Year in Review: New Directions

15-16 Year in Review_Shortened The 2015-2016 program year was marked by change, challenge and growth for the ENACT team. With an eager set of newly hired administrators, the team decided to focus their priorities around increasing its program partners, ensuring for increased quality control, launching ideas that had never gotten off the ground and employing a strategic marketing plan.

Program staff worked diligently to broaden and enhance organizational communications and to share ENACT’s unique program offering with potential partners in support of expansion goals. This included an updated newsletter and a newly developed company blog to reflect various perspectives of the organization. Founder, Diana Feldman, created From The Founder to share her experiences as leader of ENACT. Staff also set the goal of making a social media plan that would create thoughtful and meaningful content, while cultivating a larger and more engaged following. Finally, staff arranged program demonstrations with city agencies, nonprofits and schools as way to illustrate the engaging nature and effectiveness of ENACT’s methodology.

New developments this year included piloting a short-term program in Los Angeles, additional funding through the Anti-Gun Violence initiative through The New York City Council and the launch of Young Friends of ENACT: the young professional’s network with Credit Suisse.

As a result of their collective efforts, ENACT worked in all five boroughs serving an increased number of schools and alternate learning centers with more than 2,500 students, school staff, parents and caregivers. Teaching artists led 1,244 student workshops, 130 professional development trainings and 78 parent and family workshops. At long-term sites where students participated in programming for a full academic year through in-school and after-school workshops, student attendance improved by almost 80 percent, with eleven students achieving perfect attendance.

From the Founder: Students Impact the Work

From the Founder 1st postWe are pleased to announce, we have a new addition to our website. From time to time, our President Diana will be sharing her words of wisdom and insight on various topics. Our mission always relates to our students so of course our first post is focused on how our students impact our work.

Haven’t we all heard classroom students utter words like, “This is boring, or this is stupid!” We sometimes hear students say negative statements to us directly or indirectly through their behavior. Never a good feeling to be on the receiving end, but, it simply means they may not be connecting with us or the classroom material. Engagement and relationship building are key to creating a willingness to learn. The ENACT teaching artists are naturally engaging because they are actors, but they must work developmentally; meeting the kids where they are moment to moment, willing to rip up and change the lesson plan as needed.  The good news is that listening to our students is what keeps us on our toes and at the top of our game.” Diana Feldman on how the students we work with impact and enhance the ENACT method.

This week Founder, Diana Feldman, reflected further on the unique, yet significant impact students have had in shaping the ENACT method. By transforming the classroom into a safe container, the ENACT method allows students to explore every day issues like bullying, peer pressure and violence through interactive theater and drama therapy. Through her experience teaching in inner city schools, Diana quickly learned that the kids are the best critics since they can immediately sense one’s motives and whether emotions are genuine. Thus, she placed students at the center of the methodology, empowering them to influence the direction, pace and tone of each workshop. Based on the students’ reactions, teaching artists know if their topic selections and drama games resonate with the students, the key she says to the work. The students’ response not only helps enhance the method, but also shapes it to meet their needs. In order to authentically connect with the students and bring about personal and collective change, it is critical that the method maintain, in essence, this sense of humility and adaptability. Here, the ENACT method offers each school and student the opportunity to identify the issues important to them and what they need rather than the reverse. Therefore communicating that they are respected as contributors, valued for the unique obstacles they face and are partners in the work. In this way, ENACT instructs each teaching artist to listen and maintain flexibility, so that they can meet students where they are and help them overcome the challenges they face in their day-to-day lives.



The Perfect Gift

??????????????????????????Please check out our latest post in “From the Wings.” ENACT Teaching Artist, Emilie Ward, explores opportunities for finding meaning in the holiday season through the many ways in which we are inextricably connected with others.

ENACT Selected as Provider for Art a Catalyst for Change

We are thrilled to report that ENACT has been selected by the New York City Council to engage youth with our signature method through Art a Catalyst for Change. This program, a component of the Council’s Anti-Gun Violence Initiative, selects qualified organizations that use the arts to increase awareness of and combat gun violence. ENACT was selected to participate in this important program because of its record of engaging youth in issues that affect them on a daily basis. In too many classrooms around the country, young people are struggling to process the violence that they encounter in school, in their neighborhoods, and which they witness in the world at large. ENACT artists work with them to give voice to the emotions and trauma that these incidents evoke. Through scene work, facilitated discussions, and role play, students can begin to process and work through the reactions they are experiencing. Most importantly, they can begin to discover concrete and demonstrable ways to become true change agents and ambassadors of peace.gun violencee.

Parent Advisory Committee Is Looking For YOU!

ENACT’s Parent Advisory Committee will be meeting this Saturday, December 5th from noon to 3:00 PM in ENACT’s offices at 630 Ninth Avenue. Come join other ENACT parents and grandparents. You don’t have to be the parent of a current ENACT student – we’re looking for anyone with an interest in improving NYC public education and bringing more programs like ENACT into the schools. If you’re interested, contact darci.burch@enact.org. Here’s a picture of some of our group at a recent United Federation of Teachers Parents’ Conference. Come #ShowUP and get involved!Parent Committee.NYC Conference