Explore theatre & meet new friends in an affirming group for LGBTQIA+ teens (13 - 18)
The UF Center for Arts in Medicine created Theatre Connect™ in the Summer of 2017 as a unique theatrical adventure for LGBTQIA+ teens in partnership with the UF Health Youth Gender Program. This program has grown and evolved over the years to what it is today: an after-school LGBTQIA+ affirming theatre group (a.k.a troupe) that combines games and exercises with storytelling and discussion to build a safe, friendly, and creative community!
Now administered by the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine program, our collaborative applied theatre in health model aims to create a fun, engaging, and friendly theatrical troupe that prioritizes the process of theatre-making rather than the product. As such we do not provide unsolicited critiques or negative feedback. We engage in positive feedback, and gratuitous applause, and put participant well-being first. All of our Theatre Connect™ crew are trained professionals and are background checked by the University of Florida Office of Youth Compliance Services. We also partner with the UF College of Education to ensure every activity and discussion is safe, uplifting, and developmentally appropriate for our cast.
No audition or previous theatre experience is required to join our cast and all abilities are welcome. Please click here to register!
All cast members must attend the first Tuesday of the season (in-person or online) to secure their spot in the cast. We reserve the right to admit late registrants on a case-by-case basis.
Every season of Theatre Connect™ begins with the cast members (teens) developing a set of behavioral guidelines or "group agreements" for our group. These group agreements give each teen a voice in building our safe and supportive environment. We encourage teens to share their needs and experiences responsibly and deemphasize oversharing or inappropriate disclosures during this discussion. The cast also develops goals and themes to help guide the crew in selecting activities and exercises for weekly rehearsals. Theatre Connect™ emphasizes voluntary participation, self-care, and fun. Areas of focus include:
- Acting and improv skills
- Story-telling and world-building
- Character development
- Confidence-building and stage presence
- Costume/prop/set design
- Theatrical conventions and stage direction
- Playwriting and dialogue
- Directing and team-building
Depending on availability and parent/guardian permission, we may also take a free field trip to watch a theatrical production together (tickets are paid for by the program). Additionally, our cast may choose to produce an invite-only Showcase where the cast puts on a final performance and/or directs their friends and family members through their favorite games and exercises. Finally, we end each season with a cast party to honor our time together and celebrate our creativity. We look forward to having you join our cast!
Please visit Theatre Connect for more information.
All program staff members undergo level-2 background screening through the University of Florida and are considered Florida mandated reporters.
Sponsors & Partners
This FREE program is made possible thanks to the Bradley S. and Marta E. Pollitt Family and the generous contributions of the Marta & Bradley Pollitt Fund! We are also pleased to thank the Hippodrome, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Satchel's Pizza, and the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine program for providing the program funding and resources which make this program possible.