viBe Theater Experience (viBe) provides girls (ages 13-19) and young women (ages 18-24) in New York City with free, high quality artistic, leadership and academic opportunities. viBe works to empower underserved teenage girls to write and perform original theater, video and music about the real-life issues they face daily. viBe's performing arts and training programs provide the platform for participants to amplify their voices and "speak truth to power", by creating an artistic response to the world around them
viBe began in 2002 with a group of eight girls wrote and performed a play about the issues important to them: misogynoir, domestic violence, homophobia, social and economic justice, police brutality, mourning and loss, violence, teenage pregnancy, and more. Almost 15 years later, viBe is now experienced at delivering a unique pedagogy that is grounded in devised theater, centered in racial and gender justice frameworks and dedicated to placing girls at the helm of the decision-making process. In the last fiscal year, viBe directly served 325 girls and young women; in addition viBe impacted 600 NYC public school students and 1,500 audience members through invited workshops and performances.
Our pedagogical process encourages girls to:
Express their voices, uncensored, first in a small, nurturing setting and then before a public audience
Develop literacy and communication skills through writing and revising plays, lyrics, and poetry
Problem-solve through role-playing
Build trust, responsibility and leadership skills by working in a collaborative environment
Cultivate respect in a multicultural setting
Learn life skills including promptness, completing assignments and honoring commitments
Experience the power of the written and spoken word and the importance of crafting a message to communicate their ideas. Gaining these fundamental interpersonal and academic skills leads to quantifiable outcomes.
While NYS public high schools have a 80% overall graduation rate and 70% graduation rate for Black and Latinx students, viBe maintains a 100% graduation rate from all its participants. Over 90% of viBe girls continue on to enroll in college attending universities such as: Syracuse, Temple, Hunter, St. John’s, SUNY Purchase, and Simmons. Over 50% of our alumnae since 2002 remain engaged with us via social media and email, attend viBe performances and return as volunteers, interns and lecturers for current viBe girls. Our audiences range in age, gender and ethnicity, mirroring our participants demographics but many lack access to relatable, accessible theater. With suggested donations, we create an environment where our audiences can experience high-quality theater without financial barriers.