Improv Comedy Troupe tackles Anti Bully Issues at NYC Schools
Improv 4 Kids & Teens teach community and leadership skills to NYC Students
Monday May 12, 2014 NEW YORK, NY - One of the greatest problems facing schools today is the community of bully behavior on campus, online and in the community. One New York City Comedy troupe is taking their skills to the front line via shows, workshops and residencies.
Since 2002, Eight Is Never Enough Improv Comedy troupe (AKA the original Improv 4 Kids and Improv 4 Teens) has performed over 4000 educational outreach shows at K-12 schools, camp and hosting student groups / field trips at their Times Square Theater. As the Anti-Bully movement has gained momentum in recent years, coupled with far-too-often tragedy reported in the news, the troupe has answered the call.
“The popularity of Improv Comedy on TV currently allows us to connect with students in a unique way” says co-founder, Laurice Fattal. “Then we have their attention as we teach valuable team skills and self-confidence.”
“These skills we teach have been known in the theater community for centuries,” adds Artistic Director, Walt Frasier. “But by calling ours selves ‘Comedy’ we are the cool thing to all students”
The troupe introduces the program via an interactive show similar to “Whose Line IS It Anyway”. Frasier says they includes Anti-Bully themes but avoid sounding preachy. “We get a conversation going” Says Frasier. “Many students are thinking the same thing, but because of insecurities and outright fear, fail to share”. Via Study Guides the shows alone introduce and teach Cultural Arts (Music & Theatre), Language Arts (Story Telling, Creativity), and Character Building (Leadership).
After a show, the troupe will break into smaller groups and teach basic Improv games. “Improv is one of the funnest ways to teach public speaking and team work,” exclaims Fattal.
Overcoming basic fears (such as speaking in public) - and learning to converse in a way that builds connections (“YES! And…” is rule #1 in Improv) - serves two purposes. Students are less likely to be effected by bully behaviors. And students are less likely to take out their insecurities in form of bully behavior.
In a few schools, the troupe has grown to a third stage of the program. “Our residencies create leaders” says Frasier. While the workshops teach leadership, the residency program develops these skills in a few that can help build the entire community.
Similarly the troupe offers professional develop for teachers. These workshops – similar to the corporate team building offered by the troupe – brings the community together as well as show teachers how to continue the work long after the troupe moves on to the next school.