If a girl can change her own life, she can change the lives of girls everywhere. We envision a world in which every girl is valued and encouraged to be a leader and change maker.
girl be heard is needed
These statistics demonstrate that on top of the obstacles girls already face (including teen pregnancy, sexual violence, bullying, and negative body image), NYC girls also navigate the complex intersection of race, class, and gender inequality—all during their most formative years.
A fear of speaking out feeds the cycle of more violence against girls.
The Girl Be Heard curriculum aims to foster an ensemble of healthy, confident, self-aware, socially conscious young women, activists, artists, engaged and encouraged to be positive agents of change in their schools and communities.
Through theatre exercises, writing prompts, the art of play, and researching social justice issues impacting girls, GBH members actively question themselves and their role in society. We use critical reflection and creative expression to connect and perform about various social issues. Through these acts our participants gain the ability and confidence to create art that has the power to put local and global issues impacting our communities center stage.
Through the Girl Be Heard curriculum, we aim to:
- Strengthen young peoples' voices and self-expression through ensemble-based theatre, spoken word, writing, and other artistic forms
- Develop girls’ critical thinking skills, individual creative talents, artistry, teamwork
capabilities, self-awareness, and knowledge of the movements for women’s liberation
- Foster the development of activist artists by connecting individual struggles to larger systemic problems
- Provide tools to both think globally and take action locally
- Develop socially conscious young people who are able to digest and dissect social issues through art
- Create a safe community where participants can connect with one another and with themselves
- Examine systems of oppression
The Girl Be Heard Curriculum aims to foster an ensemble of healthy, confident, self-aware, socially conscious young women as activist artists, engaged and encouraged to be positive agents of change in their schools and communities. The key component of this process is curriculum development that centers our youth and is adaptable to their passions, interests, and experiences. As such, the session structure for GBH lesson plans (like the entire curriculum) is designed to be flexible, consisting of moving parts that still create a cohesive whole.
Key Areas of Development
GBH curriculum will have a positive impact in the development of different skills:
Framing Topics are the “big picture” concepts that the GBH curriculum is built on, inspired by an intersectional women’s liberation awareness. These topics are required. Each framing topic may be covered in one or multiple sessions, depending on class flow, group dynamics, current events, and the interests of the participants. It is the job of the Teaching Artists (facilitators) to gauge the collective, listen, trust their participants, trust their instincts, and figure out how to make the curriculum work best for the group being served. These topics open the unit and close the unit.
Floating Topics are more specific concepts and themes that we’ve frequently seen surface when exploring social justice issues. These floating topic lesson guides are for topics that organically come up in the session depending on the unique circumstances of the group, time, and space. The Teaching Artists will listen to the group and make the appropriate decision in choosing which topics are most aligned with that specific collective’s interests and passions. The floating topic lessons will fill in the space between the framing topic bookends.
We engage participants through a series of writing prompts, readings, theatre exercises and discussions. Through our foundational curriculum, participants develop awareness of themselves and the importance of gender-equity in three units.
The program culminates with an original performance that raises awareness of domestic and global issues affecting youth.
Some topics we’ve addressed include:
- Identity (race, class, sexual orientation, ability, etc.)
- Body Image, Suicide, Teen Pregnancy, Substance Abuse
- Gun Violence, Sex Trafficking, Forced Child Marriage
- Violence Against Women and Girls
- Civil and Human Rights
For information about the curriculum, contact Tiff Roma at Tiff@girlbeheard.org.
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What we do...
Girl Be Heard creates a world for young women to find strength, realize their potential, and rise above their circumstances and society’s expectations of them.
Girl Be Heard uses theater as our vehicle to empower young women to become brave, confident, socially conscious leaders and explore their own challenging circumstances.
6 out of 10 girls growing up in the U.S. will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime. 34% of girls become pregnant before age 20. For too many girls in this country, the threat of being trafficked is all too real. It’s important for girls to tell their stories and encourage others to do the same. Girl Be Heard uses theater to lead young girls to find their strength and realize their potential by helping them express their anger, fears, hopes, and dreams so that they can channel those emotions into maturity and empowerment.
These stories are developed into ensemble performances to raise awareness about domestic and global issues affecting women and girls.
Girl Be Heard has performed at the White House, State Department, United Nations, TED Conferences, off Broadway, and on national tours.
Girl Be Heard shows, workshops and education curriculum are also brought to public schools, universities, community centers and conferences to raise awareness about human rights issues affecting women and girls.
Areas of Practice
Girl Be Heard was founded in 2008 under the name Project Girl Performance Collective. Director Ashley Marinaccio, Co-Founder and Founding Artistic Director of Girl Be Heard, was asked to write a play for the Estrogenius Theatre Festival, and gave birth to the first Girl Be Heard workshop by teaching the cast of twelve young women from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds to write their own show and tell their own stories.
The result was transformative. This collective soon formalized a girl-empowerment workshop and curriculum to deliver a unique mentoring experience. Since its inception, the theatre company has grown from twelve to nearly 200 members, and has gone on to tour the country and raise the visibility of issues affecting girls. The collective is based in New York City and serves thousands of youth via school performances, workshops, and nonprofit partnerships in the five boroughs and Tri-State area.
Demystifying art law is in itself a creative practice. It requires finesse, strategic structuring, and in many ways, empathy. At the end of the day, art and its worth are profoundly personal. That’s why we advise mediation or arbitration before stepping into litigation.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE...
Girl Be Heard is uniquely positioned to engage at-risk youth and open up dialogue about social justice issues affecting their communities—from gun violence to sex trafficking. We run both afterschool and weekend education programs in underserved areas of New York City, where all of our girls’ theatrical work is generated. Building self-esteem, growing individual talents (step dancing, singing, rapping, and acting), and empowering girls to become leaders in and advocates for their communities is Girl Be Heard’s unique model and why Girl Be Heard has been so successful.
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WHAT OUR YOUTH HAVE DONE...
Girl Be Heard has written and performed countless award-winning shows including: Girl Power: Survival of the Fittest, which debuted in the NYC Fringe Festival and the New Jersey State Theatre in 2009; Project Girl Congo, commissioned by Panzi Hospital USA and performed in the White House in 2010; Child Bride, commissioned by the United Nations Girl Up Foundation in 2011; Trafficked, about girls in New York City enslaved in the $38 billion-a-year sex trafficking industry; Embodi(ED), illuminating girls’ struggles with body image, eating disorders, and the multi-billion-dollar diet industry; and its upcoming mainstage show, Blurred Lines, exposing the normalization of rape culture in contemporary society and asking for a shift in cultural awareness.
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