Add Verb Productions was founded with the mission of health and wellness education through provocative theatre performances and became known for using theatre, video, and arts to address difficult issues. Today, Add Verb’s archives are now available as open source here on this website. Scholars and practitioners of theatre and social change, theatre for health and wellness are welcome to explore this history and encouraged to be in touch.
From 1999 to 2014, Cathy Plourde built Add Verb Productions with the support of many donors, foundations, volunteers, and a board of directors, employing staff and contracting actors to fulfill bookings across the US and beyond. In 2011 Add Verb moved to the University of New England’s Westbrook College of Health Professions and was able to elevate the programming to international attention and extensive programming in Australia, due in part to research highlighting the long-term effect of Add Verb’s programs.
As of May 31, 2014, Add Verb went dormant as the founder made a temporary move to the UK, subsequently ceasing touring but making programs available for licensing.
Initially creating work as “theater and social change”, it became clear that Add Verb’s mission ultimately provided health and wellness education to middle schools, high schools, colleges, and communities. Programs were presented at professional conferences and as continuing education for the medical community. Over the years, Add Verb served to be a fiscal sponsor for other artists and community-based social change projects and artists.
Cathy Plourde’s early work as an independent artist facilitating theatre workshops and writing commissioned plays for regional girls’ conferences prompted her to write The Thin Line, a play about understanding eating disorders (2000). Having toured nationally to rave reviews, its success inspired a subsequent play about dating violence prevention, You the Man which has been culturally adapted for use in Australia by Prof. Ann Tacket at Deakin University. Several commissioned works were created over the years, notably the Maine Women’s Fund’s Money Talks, a play about women, girls, and money which is available in two versions (45 minutes, 10 actors, 5 puppets; 20 minutes, 2 actor minimum, 4 puppets) and When Turtles Make Love (Planned Parenthood of Northern New England), a comedic look at how parents educate their children about sex and sexuality. Another project addressing domestic violence, which was funded by The Bingham Program, began as a stage play called Major Medical Breakthrough: the healthcare sector and domestic violence and has been converted to a series of video segments suitable for training medical professions about their role in detecting and addressing violence in the lives of their patients.
The Out & Allied Project, which received funding from a range of sources including the National Recreation Foundation, the Maine Community Foundation’s Equity Fund, and chiefly the Mukti Fund, represents Add Verb’s commitment to not only providing quality performance material but to serving to strengthen communities. Volume 1 (2011) was selected by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance (2012) for Best Anthology and was noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance Magazine. Out & Allied Volume 2 (2014) has been heavily distributed throughout Maine as well as within the Pride Youth Theatre Alliance, whose membership is heavily represented in the volumes.
While in residence at the University of New England, Plourde made many contributions to the university’s Center for Excellence in Interprofessional Education in using arts in core competencies training of health professionals.
To date, Add Verb’s programs have been presented in schools, colleges, conferences, and trainings in 35 US states and internationally, reaching more than 200,000 people.
More about Add Verb from our Archives: