Theatre for Health & Wellness Education

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Cathy Plourde discusses Add Verb Productions focus on domestic violence on WMPG Safe Place

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

On Wednesday, April 18, 2012, Cathy Plourde, director of of UNE’s Add Verb Productions, appeared as a guest on the the WMPG show Safe Space. The interview, which is online, is part of the show’ s current focus on domestic violence. Plourde talked about Add Verb’s new play, “Major Medical Breakthrough.”

“Major Medical Breakthrough” focuses on the role that all health care providers can play in preventing domestic violence.

Plourde tells the story of writing a play to inspire health care providers to screen their patients for domestic violence.  She gave sobering statistics about the high numbers of women and some men, who are being abused who see their doctors during the abuse and are never asked about it.  Indeed only 10-19 percent of doctors report that they screen their patients routinely for domestic violence. Plourde stressed that where there is domestic violence, there is also likely to be sexual assault, something that often goes unasked about. Listen to the half hour interview.

Add Verb was founded in 2000 with a mission of using theatre in health and wellness education, and is currently a program of the University of New England’s Westbrook College of Health Professions.

Add Verb Director is Guest on WMPG’s “Safe Space”

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

This Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Cathy Plourde of UNE’s Add Verb Productions will be a guest on the WMPG (90.9 and 104.1) radio show Safe Space. The interview is part of the show’ s current focus on domestic violence. Cathy will talk about two of Add Verb’s plays: Major Medical Breakthrough, which focuses on the role that all health care providers can play in preventing domestic violence; and You the Man, a play that engages bystanders in addressing unhealthy teen dating and sexual assault for high school, college and community audiences.

Dating violence play and panel discussion coming to Dexter

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
Written by Sheila Grant
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 09:16
web-youtheman Portland-based actor Brian Chamberlain plays five roles in 30 minutes during “You the Man” and, “Within 15 seconds he has got audience in palm of his hand and you’re hooked for the whole ride,” according to Kris Hall, assistant director. (Contributed photo)

DEXTER – “You the Man” (YTM) has been making the rounds of high schools and communities in 35 states, Bermuda and Japan since 2004, but has never been to this region before. A series of small-town connections and grassroots efforts are making it possible for students and faculty at Dexter Regional High School to view the show during the day on March 20, and for the public to attend a free performance at 6 p.m. at the school.
The 30-minute, one-man play is “intended to help people not only recognize if a friend or family member is dealing with abuse or violence, but to know how best to support them,” said Cathy Plourde, who wrote and directed the production. Through the perspectives of five different men, the play “explores how difficult it can be to know what to do, but underscores that we must do something to help each other.”
Kris Hall, assistant director of the play, is a 1987 graduate of DRHS who went on to get a degree in political science at the University of Southern Maine before joining Add Verb Productions. Hall’s brother, Joel Hall, was a classmate of the late Amy Lake, who was killed in her Dexter rental home on July 13, 2011, along with her son Coty, 13, and daughter Monica, 12, by estranged husband Steven Lake, who then killed himself. It was Hall’s mother, Connie Hall, who brought the play to the attention of her fellow members of the Abbott Memorial Library Trustees. That group reached out to Womancare in Dover-Foxcroft, and together, the partners have gathered support from area businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor a free evening showing of YTM.
“In a small town, you know that people have problems,” said Kris Hall. “You know that things go on, and it’s hard to have a constructive conversation about it. It’s hard to name it. And what Add Verb Productions does is to safely name it, safely discuss it, and safely present tools for people to use when forced by circumstances to cope with it. I hope Dexter will take the opportunity from the tragedy of Amy, Coty, and Monica to become known, not as the place where things like this occur, but as the place that took brave and community-changing steps to prevent things like this in the future.”
There is curriculum which accompanies the play for the students, and the presentation is followed by a panel discussion with advocates from Womancare and Rape Response Services, as well as local law enforcement. Members of the University of Maine’s Male Athletes Against Violence group may also sit on the panel.
“If it all works out, there may be some others, but not too big of a panel because the intent is to have a conversation with the community,” said Art Jette, Womancare’s community relations coordinator. And if that community conversation is particularly painful for any audience members, “part of the whole plan is to have an adequate number of trained advocates on hand to debrief and process with individuals, and safe places after both shows, to process individual issues that might arise as part of the experience of the show itself.”
Jette is no stranger to tragedy. His grandson, Treven Cunningham, 21-months, and family friend Mindy Gould, 20, were killed by Gould’s ex-boyfriend on December 3, 1999 in Dexter. Jette’s subsequent work with Womancare, and with Parents of Murdered Children, has helped him form a relationship with Gov. Paul LePage, who was a victim of domestic abuse during his childhood. Jette invited the governor to the Dexter presentation of YTM.
While LePage’s schedule is always subject to change, “The governor does plan to attend the evening showing of the play in Dexter on March 20,” said Adrienne Bennett, press secretary. “The ‘You the Man’ program is a great example of how students are standing up against domestic violence and the governor wholeheartedly supports their efforts.”
Grants from the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Maine Community Foundation are paying for YTM to appear in 20 high schools in Maine, but funds must be raised to cover the community performances. The Abbott Memorial Library Trustees are still collecting donations. Checks made out to the trustees may be mailed to: Abbott Memorial Library Trustees, 1 Church Street, Dexter 04930.
“We wanted to offer this free to the community so students would have the opportunity to bring parents back to see it, and so that other people could see it,” said Connie Hall, noting that sooner or later, everyone knows someone in a domestic violence situation. “We wanted to put those tools out there. This is what you can do so that you do not to stand by powerlessly and say, ‘I should have done something.’”

Gift from the Phineas W. Sprague Memorial Fund = Free Books to Maine Schools

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Through the Sprague Foundation, 60 copies of the Out & Allied Anthology are free to schools and congregations in Maine. Single copies will be mailed at no charge, and additional copies for those groups are available for $10 (includes S&H).

The mission of this book is to help groups raise awareness and open conversation about how to create a safe environment for all people, regardless of their orientation or identity. School personnel or congregation representatives only need to submit a request and a short statement about why the book would be helpful to their community and how it will be used.

All of the 34 performance pieces in the book are royalty-free, meaning that there is no charge to use or present these performances. Accompanying these pieces is a handbook for youth and adults alike who wish to present an educational program for other students, parents, or the community. Bonny Eagle High School recently participated in an Out & Allied Project, and used the book to help create new works presented for parents and students during No Name Calling Week. Said one participant:

“It allowed me to face my past and have sympathy toward my bullies; it gave me a way to express myself through writing, and finally, I have become less judgmental of others because of it. I believe that this process can do all that and much more for others, both on stage and in the audience.” Another student said, “For me, I was finally able to open up to the bullying I went through my freshman year of high school and it was so relieving to finally be able to get that off my chest and feel like I wasn’t alone and it wasn’t okay.”

Participants in the Out & Allied Project are encouraged to use the book to create audio files or short videos that can be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo, and more importantly, young people are encouraged to create and submit new pieces to Add Verb for other youth groups to present, in Maine or around the country.

To receive a free book for your Maine school or congregation, please go to!

For more information contact Add Verb at or 221-4491.

Cathy Plourde Honored with Hardy Girls Healthy Women’s Annual Activist Award

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Cathy Plourde will be awarded with Hardy Girls Healthy Women’s annual Co-Creator Award as part of Girls Rock Weekend this year.

The Co-Creator award is given annually to a Maine woman whose work is advancing the Hardy Girls’ vision that all girls and women experience equality, independence, and safety in their everyday lives.

Plourde is the founder and Program Director of Add Verb Productions at the Westbrook College of Health Professions, University of New England.  Add Verb promotes health and wellness education through theater.  Add Verb was founded in 2004 and in 2011 the program was added to University of New England’s InterProfessional Education Collaborative.  Add Verb programs have reached more than 150,000 people in 35 states and internationally.

Hardy Girls co-creator and professor at Colby College, Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown said the co-creators chose Cathy for her passionate commitment to youth activism and social justice. “Cathy Plourde is a singular talent, with a keen sense of how to develop safe spaces for youth and open people’s hearts and minds. As a writer, director, and producer, she has devoted her life to creating more inclusive communities and scaffolding youth activism.  Lynn, Karen, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of our Co-Creator Award.”

An additional five Maine girls will be honored for their advocacy work to promote equality in sports, health, business, and communities during the weekend, which is scheduled for March 30th-April 1st, 2012.  More information on Girls Rock Weekend can be found on Hardy Girls’ website:

Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW) is a nonprofit organization located in Waterville, ME dedicated to the health and well-being of girls and women. HGHW is striving to create a world where women experience equality, independence, and safety in their everyday lives.

Proceeds from new book to benefit Add Verb Productions

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

What Method?: The Different Ways an Actor can Train

Author and friend of Add Verb Jessie Fahay has written a book enumerating the different methodologies by which actors train.  This short and practical guidebook gives you the nuts and bolts of four pinnacle training methods, sample exercises for each method, examples of actors who have used these methods, the places where you can find these methods being taught, and further in-depth literature on each method.

Jessie has generously donated a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book to Add Verb!  To all you aspiring actors, grab a copy in support of your career, and of Add Verb.

What Method on Amazon

Thank you Jessie!

Add Verb receives a gift of $1000 to send a message of acceptance and hope to Maine students

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Do you recall a moment when someone spoke up for you?  You received the message “you matter” and “that’s not fair” and “I stand with you” and it helped.

Recently Add Verb received a gift in the mail in the amount of $1000 from the Phineas W. Sprague Memorial Fund for the distribution of our performance anthology Out & Allied. This is a message to all of the youth who worked so hard to create this anthology of performance pieces, and it says to them “your work matters” and “your performance is inspiring” and “we support what you are doing.”  The anthology features monologues, short plays and poems written by youth, and the book trailer created by interns is truly inspiring!

Thank you, Sprague Memorial Foundation for standing with Add Verb again this year, and thanks to all of you who have also stood with us since 2000.  A charitable gift, no matter what time of year, does matter to us.  A quick click here “Donate Now” will help either send  a book to a youth organization ($15), pay for an intern for a day ($150), cover the costs of a playwriting workshop ($300), send a performance of The Thin Line or You the Man into a school ($1500), or seed the next play ($5000–and it’s in the works!), it will matter and it will help.

Thank you!

The Add Verb Team


Friday, December 9th, 2011

The Bingham Program, a charitable endowment established in 1932 to promote health and advance medicine in Maine, has awarded the University of New England’s Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) a $20,000 grant to create an online learning tool designed to introduce all incoming graduate students and new faculty to interprofessional competencies and practices. The modules will be collaboratively designed in conjunction with Add Verb Productions and interdisciplinary faculty teams. The Bingham Program grant funds the first two of six modules, each of which addresses IPE core competencies as outlined by the 2011 IPEC expert panel made up of representatives from American Associations of Colleges of Nursing, the American Dental Education Association, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Association of Schools of Public Health, and the Association of American Medical Colleges. The online modules will expose students to tenets of the four core competencies identified by the panel:  knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of other health professions; interprofessional and interpersonal communication; teamwork; and ethics.
The Bingham Program grant was co-submitted by Dr. Shelley Cohen Konrad, Director of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) and Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, and Karen Pardue, the Associate Dean of the Westbrook College of Health Professions.
IPEC is pleased to be working with Add Verb Productions, a program of the University of New England, to create a bold and innovative teaching and learning opportunity that will be easily accessible to all UNE students and faculty.  Add Verb’s role is instrumental in developing multi-media illustrations of critical health scenarios that will be both true to life and pedagogically sound.
IPEC is delighted by this award and hopes to have modules up and running by fall of 2012.

Add Verb Productions and UNE Faculty invited to present at Public Health and Family Medicine Conferences

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Add Verb Productions, a program of the University of New England (UNE), and colleagues from the UNE graduate program in Public Health, Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) and Maine Medical Center (MMC) will present content from the play Major Medical Breakthrough: The healthcare sector’s role in preventing violence at three conferences this fall. The Maine and American Public Health Association (MPHA/APHA) and the northeast region of the Family Medicine Education Consortium (FMEC) have all invited Add Verb to attend to demonstrate the power of theatre in health education.

Cathy Plourde M.A., Director of Add Verb Productions, and Denise Bisaillon, Ed.D., Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Programs in Public Health co-present the play which addresses the health care provider’s role in preventing interpersonal violence and sexual assault. The play was performed in full at the MPHA meeting on October 18th in Portland, ME and will be presented on Friday at the FMEC in Danvers, Massachusetts.  The play will be the subject of a panel presentation at the APHA in Washington, D.C. later in the month.

At both the MPHA and APHA annual meetings, Plourde and Bisaillon will facilitate a discussion on how theatre can be used in pedagogy, to inform policy, and to help practitioners with their own professional responses to issues of interpersonal violence and sexual assault.

MPHA’s mission is to provide Maine public health professionals with an opportunity to promote and assist with public health training, education, and recognition of model programs.  The APHA annual meeting, a national health event, will take place October 29 through November 2. With more than 1,000 scientific sessions, 700 booths of information, and innovative public health products and services, this is an extremely important and notable meeting in the public health field.

At the FMEC conference in Danvers, Add Verb’s actors will be joined by Dr. Eric Brown from Eastern Maine Medical Center, a long time advocate of the physician’s role in preventing and detecting domestic violence.  Both Add Verb and Dr. Brown will present two different theatre-based strategies that can be utilized in medical education. Philip Heywood, Executive Director of the Northeast Osteopathic Medical Education Network and Julie Schirmer, LCSW, Director of Behavioral Health at the Family Medicine Residency Program of Maine Medical Center will lead a discussion on theatre’s role in cultivating empathy, and its value in medical education programs.


Add Verb Writing Workshops for Youth in Faith Based Communities

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

In collaboration with the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination (RCAD), Add Verb Productions, a program of The University of New England, will host two writing workshops in Southern Maine. These workshops are opened to youth of faith-based communities and will take place November 6th & 13th from 12:00pm-4:00pm. Add Verb Production’s recent publication of Out & Allied will be used as inspiration and a resource to create new written works.

Add Verb is funded in part by MUKTI, a small private foundation dedicated to supporting theatre by queer youth and allies that deals with LGBTQ bullying and safety. This funding has made it possible for Add Verb to reach out to faith-based communities. Reception has been positive. Marvin M. Ellison, President of the RCAD Board of Directors recently called the Out & Allied anthology “a highly imaginative and very constructive way to engage the community, especially congregations and their faith leaders, in dialogue about LGBT issues and particularly youth safety.”

According to a recent Center for Disease Control Morbidity and Mortality report, 85% of LGBTQ youth have been verbally assaulted due to their sexual orientation.  A climate like this makes safe and constructive community conversations about LGBTQ issues and tolerance difficult -  Add Verb has successfully used theatre to conduct conversations like these since 2000.  The Out and Allied anthology is their first publication, which seeks to enable youth to do their own community outreach. The anthology contains youth-written monologues, plays, and poems that help communities understand the importance of allies for LGBTQ youth and to celebrate tolerance, as well as an activists handbook for social change.  Out and Allied Performance Anthology

Please join us at any of the workshops if you have thoughts or ideas to share, a desire to write, or simply want to show your support. For your safety and others’ you must register to attend the workshop. The location of the workshop will be shared with you at that time.  To register, call Glen Ellen Roth at 207-221-4264 or email

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