Build Empathy, Empower Youth Voice

Bullying issues are real, they often stem from a lack of confidence, self-awareness, and empathy. The programming offered by Mirror Image Arts directly addresses these critical needs, and it's offered in a performance arts format, which allows youth to practice skills in a safe environment with trusted adults.  --Jacklyn Noden, Chief Program Officer, Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver

What We Do:

Our programs are designed to focus on and strengthen positive rather than negative behaviors, and our techniques are rooted in the best practices and proven methods of renowned theatre directors, authors, and activists Augusto Boal, and Michael Rohd. Boal successfully used theatre to empower impoverished communities in Latin America. He believed that, “[t]heatre is a language through which human beings can engage in active dialogue on what is important to them. It allows individuals to create a safe space that they may inhabit in groups and use to explore the interactions which make up their lives. It is a lab for problem solving, for seeking options, and for practicing solutions.”

The benefits of our approach:

  • It allows participants to engage in scenarios, dramas and conflict that are familiar and disturbing from a safe distance.
  • It stimulates discovery and draws participants into rich dialogue that encourages empathy, changes in perspective, and elicits self-recognition and self-confidence.
  • Participants are exposed to critical thinking and problem solving skills they can use in their daily lives.
  • Participants learn experientially and “rehearse” for real life.

Support our Your Voice: Bullying Prevention program series.

We focus on young people (aged 8-22), and employ three applied theatre programs:

  • "Your Voice Matters" (90 min single-day workshop)
  • "Finding Your Voice" (6-8 wk residency program)
  • "Shaping Your Voice" (6 wk residency program)

These programs take place during school and out of school and focus on establishing empathy for the person(s) involved in a bullying situation, through drama young people can build skills and confidence in their ability to move from bystanders into the new role of upstander. We define upstander as someone who has the empathetic skills to recognize a bullying situation, the knowledge of how to be a first responder, and the ability to identify different choices a person can make when facing a bullying situation. 

It has been proven that “when bystanders  intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds, 57% of the time”.

Since our program launch in 2013, we have served 2,145 youth.

You, too, can Build Empathy and support Youth Voice.

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