Out & Allied Webinar: 28 Oct 2014 (EDST)

I’m thrilled to have been asked by CenterLink, the 20-year old organisation of US LGBTQ centers, to present a webinar about Out & Allied Oct 28, 2PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time (that is the same as New York, for those from further away using a meeting planner!).

Participation requires registration but is free–the description is below and you can follow this link to register:  http://bit.ly/RegisterOutAndAllied


(This is us, having a chat.)

I’m hoping that people who have been involved with the Out & Allied project may wish to sign up as well, with the opportunity to share their experience–there’ll be a short presentation and then it will be open to dialogue and questions. If you are one of those folks with first-hand experience please let me know so I can work you into the chat. Thanks for helping pass this around! I’m hoping it will be the first of many workshop and webinars to come, if you are interested in having me in.


Out & Allied: Building LGBTQ & Allied Youth Activism Through Theatre.  Webinar with Cathy Plourde, Add Verb’s founder and playwright. Using theatre–youth written, acted, directed–to support youth leadership, cultivation of allies, and community action. A project which began in Maine in 2008, now has international reach and new relevance in faith-based communities where youth-driven activism in churches working to be open and affirming parallels civic action in schools. Cathy will share an overview of the Out & Allied Youth Project, discuss youth leadership strategies, and answer questions about perfomance as activism.  www.addverbproductions.org

Waterville’s Challenge: received and met.

The amazing group in Waterville, Maine, the Waterville Inclusive Community Project launched their very first full-on production this June under the name of the Out & Allied Youth Theater.



They stitched a number of plays, monologues and performance pieces from the Out & Allied Project two volumes, a number from their own team’s works and created their very own production called “The Gays of Our Lives”–it was an ingenious mash up of a number of pieces, adapted and reworked to fit these pieces into a fabulous whole.

You can see video excerpts on their website or directly on Youtube here.

You can read a lovely write up by the Maine Humanities Council here


Out & Allied Anthology Vol. 2 Coming Soon!

Add Verb Production is thrilled to announce that they are in the midst of putting the finishing touches on Out & Allied Anthology Vol. 2, the successor to the award-winning Out & Allied Anthology.

Out & Allied Anthology Volume 2 will take a different and in-depth approach and focus on faith-based communities and allies. Out & Allied Anthology Volume 2 will feature youth LGBTQ and allied written monologues, short plays, and poems focusing on the experiences of LGBTQ youth and the importance of allies in faith-based communities. Out & Allied Anthology Vol. 2 is made possible with generous funding from the Mukti Fund.

Stay tuned for more information regarding Out & Allied Vol. 2.

Out & Allied Anthology Vol. 2 Coming Soon!

Add Verb Production is thrilled to announce that they are in the midst of putting the finishing touches on Out & Allied Anthology Vol. 2, the successor to the award-winning Out & Allied Anthology.

Out & Allied Anthology Volume 2 will take a different and in-depth approach and focus on faith-based communities and allies. Out & Allied Anthology Volume 2 will feature youth LGBTQ and allied written monologues, short plays, and poems focusing on the experiences of LGBTQ youth and the importance of allies in faith-based communities. Out & Allied Anthology Vol. 2 is made possible with generous funding from the Mukti Fund.

Stay tuned for more information regarding Out & Allied Vol. 2.

Introducing the Pride Youth Theater Alliance!

Add Verb Productions is proud to be a founding member of PYTA: The Pride Youth Theater Alliance which connects and supports queer youth theater organizations, programs, and professionals committed to empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied (LGBTQA) youth in North America.

Founded in 2012, PYTA was formed to provide and promote successful models for LGBTQ youth theater programming, both nationally and internationally. Many youth development theater programs do not address the serious issues that LGBTQ youth face, such as bullying, rejection by families, homelessness, discrimination, violence, depression, and suicide. Most importantly, PYTA is an opportunity to support the insight and resilience of LGBTQ youth and provide them with safe spaces for creative expression to tell their own stories.

PYTA receives generous funding from the Mukti Fund, and long standing queer and allied youth theatre programs such as The Theatre Offensive’s True Colors (Boston), Fringe Benefits (Los Angeles), The Rose Theater’s Pride Players (Omaha), About Face Theate (Chicago), Dreams of Hope (Pittsburgh), Proud Theater (Madison and Milwalkee), the Neutral Zone’s Gayrilla Theater Troupe (Ann Arbor), Theatre Askew’s Youth Performanc Experience (NYC) and Buddies in Bad Times (Toronto).

These organziations are welcoming and mentoring new groups theatre programs around the US:  Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance (San Bernadino, CA) the New Orleans Queer Youth Theatre Project, Creative Action’s Outside the Lines (Austin, TX), the Gay and Lesbian Service Organization’s Company Q (Lexington, KY), New Conservatory Theatre Center’s Youth Aware Out & United (San Francisco, Oakland Center for the Arts Youth program (Youngstown, OH), Rainbow Ally Youth Theater (Denver), the Coterie Theatre Project’s queer and allied program (Kansas City), and in Maine, our very own Out & Allied Youth Theatre through the Waterville Inclusive Community Project.

Add Verb’s Out & Allied Youth Writing Project has supplied many of these groups with Maine youth performance pieces in the Vo1. 1 Anthology.  A second volume is being prepared for publication with more youth-written works, with a deeper look at how performance can be used to support youth leadership for dialogue within faith-based communities.



You the Man: Engaging bystanders in domestic violence and sexual assault prevention from Maine to Melbourne

On November 7, 2013, members of the You the Man longitudinal study research team presented information from three years of data, and how this intervention has met and exceeded expectations. An outgrowth of the initial research is a partnership in Australia with Deakin University, and Professor Ann Taket of Melbourne will present the initiative in the State of Victoria.

Back in November 2012, Ann Taket, a professor and researcher from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia was taken by the early findings being presented at the American Public Health Assn.’s conference in San Francisco on the longer term effects of You the Man. Subsequently, Ann found funding to explore what it would take to have an Australian version of the program and the centerpiece performance. A pilot is scheduled to begin in March 2014, where the program will be presented in schools, tertiary education settings, community groups, and workplace settings. The American research team will join the Deakin faculty in this research.

The Power of Art: A student’s view

Lilia Bottino, SSW ’14 says “As a writer and a musician, I have seen firsthand.”  A core tenet of the training in the School of Social Work focuses on challenging structures and relationships that foster the inequities that undermine the promotion of health.  Lily and other students have been taking advantage of their on-campus program’s opportunity to work directly with Add Verb—UNE’s unique and dynamic program that uses the arts for health and wellness promotion and in the curriculum.

With funding from The Bingham Program and the Van Otterloo Family Charitable Foundation, a behavioral research team has conducted three years of a longitudinal study looking at the impacts of two of Add Verb’s programs, The Thin Line (on coping with eating disorders) and You the Man (bystander engagement in dating violence/sexual assault prevention).  Research team members include Nancy Shore, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Social Work; Peter Herrick, MSEd, Adjunct Research Professor, College of Graduate Studies; Allison Morrill, JD, PhD, Research Associate Professor; Gary Cattabriga, director of Analytics, and Cathy Plourde, MA, director of Add Verb.

Other students who have participated in the research process are Carin Stromgren SSW ‘13; Elisa Orme, SSW ‘13, and Claire Schroeder, SSW ’14.  They are applying knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to work in the field: writing literature reviews, conducting focus groups, developing posters with preliminary findings, transcription, data management, and collaborating on articles to be submitted to peer reviewed journals.  All of the students indicate how the opportunity to be a part of the research process has been a positive in their academics.  For Lily, “It has even inspired my educational track, as I am taking the course Practice with Children, Adolescents and Parents to gain more knowledge about clinical work with youth, schools and communities.”

Elisa noted that her work on this project has helped with her abilities in other programs: “I watched [Professor Nancy Shore] do it, got instructions, then went to do it myself. It’s a lot more than just following instructions! It gave me the confidence to do things in my internship, and made me more confident to be able to go into the jail support group.

Carin, who has recently begun her first job as a social worker with teens, appreciated the chance to study an issue in depth, finding, in the process of a literature review and focus groups, a better sense of the issues and a better sense of their application within interventions.  “The insight the high school students offered was striking and incredible for youth just starting to learn. The kids are really knowledgeable. If the problem of dating violence is already happening it is hard to stop.  By reaching kids, the hope is that we are preventing the problem.”

Elisa added, “This research was valuable for me. I wouldn’t have engaged in any one topic to this level.” Having presented some of the preliminary findings to the Board of Trustees, Elisa was excited to have talked to Robert McAfee [M.D., Trustee Emeritus] and learn about his efforts in domestic violence and the American Medical Association over 30 years ago.  “He was super excited about the research, and that we are dong prevention on this level.  It’s great to see how this has progressed.”

Reflecting on her involvement in these longitudinal studies during her first year of the MSW program, Lily shared with Interim School of Social Work Director Clay Graybeal that “it has had a powerful impact on me, and I am so grateful. It has complemented my classroom experience, particularly in the Research I and II courses. I hope that other students and faculty from UNE will have the chance to get to work with or learn more about Add Verb, because it has been a truly meaningful experience to me, and has impacted me as a future social worker.”

Findings from the first three years of the studies indicate that the research subjects have an increased knowledge, are more appreciative of how serious the issues are, and an increased likelihood of taking an action either for themselves or on behalf of another person, and that these findings persist over time.  The studies’ early preliminary findings have attracted attention, and more funding:  When presenting at the American Public Health Association in November, 2012, Co-PI and Add Verb Director Cathy Plourde was approached by faculty from Melbourne, Australia’s Deakin University for collaboration.  A cultural adaptation of the play and the education program, as well as a new research study, are now underway in the Australian state of Victoria.


AUGUSTA, ME – University of New England’s Add Verb Productions has partnered with The National Eating Disorders Association and Mainely Girls to present “The Thin Line” to Maine legislators on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. in the Welcome Center of the State House in Augusta. The event aims to create awareness for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 23-March 2), and let policy makers know what they can do to prevent this serious illness that affects many young people.
“The Thin Line,” written by Add Verb Executive Director Cathy Plourde, is a 30-minute one-woman show that breaks the silence surrounding eating disorders. It has toured nationally to colleges, high schools, community centers and conferences since 2000. It weaves together the voices of four characters—a girl who is struggling, her internal negative voice, her mother, and a friend—showing how the disease affects not only the individual struggling, but also how it impacts his or her surrounding family and circle of friends. The Thin Line has received high praise from experts, health care providers, teachers, parents, college students and youth.
In the United States, as many as 10 million women and one million men are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Approximately 25 million more are struggling with other forms of disordered eating. Eating Disorders are the third most common chronic illness among adolescents; they have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and they affect every organ system in the body. Serious, long-term health complications can be avoided, if eating disorders are detected early. Awareness and early intervention are keys to prevention.

UNE is an innovative health sciences university grounded in the liberal arts, with two distinctive coastal Maine campuses and unique study abroad opportunities. UNE has internationally recognized scholars in the sciences, health, medicine and humanities, and offers more than 40 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs.

The Thin Line a cornerstone of ISU ED Awareness Week

This year The Thin Line (and actress Lauran Paten Hughes) is spending ED Awareness week at Iowa State University and with the Maine State Legislature.

ISU has a strong coalition of departments and programs including ISU Student Counseling Services, the Program for Women in Science and Engineering, the ISU Committee on Lectures, Students of Education and Clinical Psychology, and the Division of Student Affairs who have teamed up with the Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa and Waukee High School to bring a week of events highlighting eating disorder awareness and prevention.  They are screening the film Miss Representation, throwing a party to celebrate the body you currently have, and presenting The Thin Line twice! You can download the program for the week here.

Back on the east coast, Add Verb (and actress Emily Dennis) will be presenting The Thin Line to our Maine State Legislators in the State House Welcome Center on Tuesday, February 26th at 4PM. Mainely Girls and the National Eating Disorders Association have worked with Add Verb to highlight this issue as part of our week-long tour of Aroostook County in April.  Please encourage your legislator to attend – follow this link to email them your story about what Add Verb and Eating Disorder Awareness & Prevention mean to you! http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/hbiolist.htm