Girl Be Heard develops, amplifies, and celebrates the voices of young women through socially conscious theatre-making.
Creating a world for young female identified youth to find strength, realize their potential, rise above their circumstances, and society’s expectations of them.
Using theater as our vehicle young women become brave, confident, socially conscious leaders and explore their own challenging circumstances.
Incorporated in 2011, GBH directly serves over 200 new participants per year through direct, year-long programming, and thousands more through community performances and workshops in schools and public venues across NYC. Co-founder Jessica Greer Morris continues to lead GBH as Executive Director.
Why is girl be heard needed?
Being a girl is risky business...
7 out of 10 girls have or will experience physical or sexual violence in their lives.
It is just one of the ways society keeps girls down.
A fear of speaking out feeds the cycle of more violence against girls. Nearly 75% of NYC’s 800,000 girls are of color, and a significant portion live in poverty. These statistics demonstrate that on top of the obstacles girls already face (including teen pregnancy, sexual violence, bullying, and negative body image).
How we do it...
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.
Our critically acclaimed performances have been seen at the White House, United Nations, Off-Broadway and on national tours throughout the country.
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.
Girl Be Heard’s educational program is designed for middle and high school students and taught by our Girl Be Heard Teaching Artists, senior collective members who have been through our program and received special training in Girl Be Heard pedagogy. The curriculum encourages young women to explore gender, race and class issues through theatre and performance.
Our curriculum develops writing, speaking, critical thinking and analytic skills as participants are encouraged to think about issues close to them and place them in a broader context. This approach makes learning more accessible and leads to better self-esteem and stronger performance in school.
This is a fee-based residency program in middle and high schools offered over 30-week sessions as an in-school course or after school program. For details, see Girl Be Heard Curriculum
GBH company members can audition for paid opportunities to develop and perform original shows, including an annual Mainstage show, based on the social justice issues they care about.
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.
GBH company members devise award-winning shows:
• Girl Power: Survival of the Fittest tackles issues including bullying, body image, self-esteem, race, and LGBTQ identity.
• Trafficked puts a name and face to the countless girls enslaved in the $38-billion-a-year sex trafficking industry.
• 9mm America reveals America’s culture of gun violence through stories of young women living with the daily threat of gang and gun violence in their neighborhoods.
• DISPLACED examines the global refugee crisis, homelessness, and the consequences of conflict in the U.S. and abroad.
• America’s Dirty Secret exposes the hardships of navigating the welfare system, food pantries, shelters, and foster care in the wake of the 2009 recession.
• Embodi(ED) illuminates girls’ struggles with body image, eating disorders, and the $55 billion dollar diet industry.
• Blurred Lines explores the meaning of consent, the normalization of rape culture, and how girls navigate and survive in a world where 1 in 5 college women are sexually assaulted.
Bring Girl Be Heard To Your Community
Girl Be Heard Teaching Artists and Staff are available to come to your school, office, or community-based program to present a customized workshop (or series of workshops) based on the needs of your program. Our workshops can include any of the following:
Community building exercises
A broad introduction to women’s issues
More in depth study of any number of issues affecting women and girls, such as: Identity (race, class, sexual orientation, ability), Body Image, Suicide, Teen Pregnancy, Substance Abuse, Gun Violence, Sex Trafficking, Forced Child Marriage, Violence Against Women and Girls, Civil and Human Rights
Engaging writing and theatre exercises that encourage participants to reflect critically on their own experiences and information gathered from outside sources (news, media, pop culture, etc.)