"No More Secrets" : Using performing arts to encourage elementary school children to prevent and/or disclose sexual abuse.
Street Theatre Company is a non-profit, professional arts organization dedicated to fostering theatre, music and arts education in Nashville by producing the highest quality professional theatre performances and educational workshops, and providing artistic opportunities for young people. Street Theatre Company bases its philosophy on the elements of street theatre: to make the arts accessible and affordable to all in the community, and select thought-provoking productions that can leave an audience enlightened.
As part of its youth programming and community outreach, STC produces the social service play, No More Secrets. 1 out of 6 girls and 1 out of 8 boys will be sexually abused each year. Statistics show that over 89% of child sexual assault and abuse comes from someone a family knows, and only 16% of children who suffer from abuse disclose. More than ever, children need the opportunity to learn more about the prevention of sexual abuse.
No More Secrets is a musical that tells the tale of a pre-teen girl named Jenny who, for years, has been sexually abused by a trusted neighbor, and her subsequent disclosure. The play entertains while at the same time providing children with information about abuse and how they can protect themselves and others from abuse. This show addresses many of the concerns children may have about disclosing and truly connects with students. All characters are portrayed by professional actors who have been trained by counselors. The play is followed by a question and answer period where the students are invited to ask questions, and a professional counselor and school guidance counselors are available to provide additional support in the event of disclosure.
No More Secrets previously toured Nashville area disadvantaged schools, performing at 15 schools in 2009 and 10 schools in 2011, as well as offering two free public performances at a local community center. The show has a proven track record of success with disclosures well into the double digits at the end of each tour.
The most powerful feedback came in an email from a counselor:
“I want you to know that we had 9 disclosures with 3 of them resulting in DCS calls. One resulted in the arrest of a family member that evening. Had you not visited our school, this student would have entered her summer break with the abuse likely happening on a daily basis. The student had been exposed to Safe At Last through my classroom guidance, Kids on the Block abuse program, and finally “No More Secrets”. She really related to the play and disclosed that afternoon. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for your program and hope that many more of our students in Metro Schools will be able to benefit from the play. Well done!”
STC’s long term goal is to tour approximately 25 schools each year, and to continue on a rotating basis every three years to each given school, ensuring that all students see the program at least once. If this goal is met, over 6,000 students can be reached each year. The goal for us on Indiegogo is to reach 7 schools in the fall of 2013 with enough funding so that schools will not have to pay for the program. The objective of this program is that students will leave the performance with tools to prevent sexual abuse from happening to them, or if they are already being abused, that they will disclose the abuse to a trusted adult.
The No More Secrets tour costs $675 to bring to each school. As school budgets are perpetually diminishing, the goal is to offer this program at absolutely NO COST to schools to remove barriers that may prevent children from seeing this important social play, especially those in undeserved populations.