Add Verb’s founder Cathy Plourde has been practicing theatre for social justice since 1995.
Cathy’s experience is as an editor, publisher, teacher, playwright, social activist, and content developer as well as in non-profit management. Plourde taught high school and began studying theatre as an education and curriculum tool under a National Institute for the Humanities Summer Institute. Her work progressed to creating and directing performance work with various constituencies to address social issues which led to a Master’s Degree in Theatre and Social Change. She focused her efforts on the history of theatre as a social change agent, feminist theory and criticism, and a reflective study of the community-based theatre projects she was involved with across Maine. Prior to developing Add Verb, Plourde provided artist residency programming, curriculum and assessment support, and artist training to the Maine Alliance for Arts Education for over nine years, having licensed and taught in secondary education. Her 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, in 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. Both You The Man and The Thin Line have been evaluated in longitudinal studies measuring efficacy, with research by a UNE Faculty and Student team, extended in Australia in collaboration with Deakin University, Melbourne.
She has been commissioned to write pieces by numerous groups including the Knox County Coalition Against Tobacco (Butt of Course); Mainely Girls (numerous scripts); Where the Girls Are (numerous scripts); Maine Women’s Fund (Money Talks); Planned Parenthood Network of Northern New England (When Turtles Make Love); Boys To Men (numerous scripts).
Cathy Plourde was a founding board member of Boys to Men and the nationally-reaching Pride Youth Theatre Alliance.
Plourde joined the University of New England in January 2011, as Program Director, and in January 2012 was also appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor in Integrated Health Sciences. She provided curriculum support, educational programming, intern mentorships, and participated in other collaborative partnerships across all of UNE’s colleges, including the Centers for Excellence in Interpersonal Education as well as Neurosciences.
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.
Plourde has worked with teams creating innovative approaches to educating health professionals on difficult topics, such as their role in detecting and preventing violence, screening for alcohol use, patients and pain, and–most entertainingly but quite seriously–helping pharmacy personnel prepare to safely deal with robberies.
Plourde has presented about her work and using theatre in social justice and education settings nationally and internationally, including workshops for colleges, community action groups, teachers/youth workers and youth in addition to presenting a Ted Talk at TedxDirigo.