Belonging and Bullying Workshops

Kingston High School final Workshop to combat bullying.
Kingston High School final Workshop to combat bullying.




Anti-Bullying in-School Workshops

Belonging, Bullying, the Other…
From 2016 – 2019 Voice Theatre implemented workshops at six Ulster County high schools. These interactive workshops combat bullying and examine the refugee crisis with in-school performances for 10th and 11th grade students. Participating school have been; Kingston High School, Hudson Valley Pathways Academy, Saugerties High School, The Kingston Home for Children, Ulster Boces and Highland High School. 

Once we can meet in-person Voice Theatre will resume the above workshops as well as leading workshops. We will also lead workshops for unaccompanied, undocumented refugee teens awaiting to be united with their families in the United States. Refugee workshops take place at The Kingston Home for Children.

America students explore the theme of home and belonging. Utilizing improvisation and journal writing, students write monologues examining their experiences of what home and belonging means to them. Aligned to Common Core Curriculum Standards students explore their original writing through improvisation, role-playing, mirroring and the Spoken Arts. Refugee students write monologues about why they had to leave their country. Emphasis is  on collaboration, original ideas, teamwork and constructive feedback. In the final workshops both groups come together to meet and share their ideas at local high schools. These are powerful sessions that allow all students to meet and exchange ideas , questions and stories “the other”. In most cases such meetings as these are taking place for the first time and have a lasting impact on young participants outlooks.

Our goal is to reduce bullying and for all students to see each other as individuals rather than just “refugees” or “Americans” or “the other”. We develop the skills of listening, empathy and respect for differing viewpoints as students’ share their monologues.Since much of the material for the workshop is generated from the student’s own experiences we strive to have a lasting impact on all our students and teachers as they navigate the difficult definitions, boundaries and borders of the future and what it will mean to be an American.


Session I

Students meet with Shauna Kanter to explore the themes of bullying: “the role of the other”, “the role of the perpetrator”. Refugee students will share why they had to leave their homes. Both populations will define the importance of community. We will explore the theme of “home” and build conflict resolution skills. An introduction of participating refugee countries will be presented. Teaching artists will work with both populations separately.

Sessions II, III, IV, V, VI

Voice Theatre’s Teaching artists will implement improvisation, role-playing, theatre games and mirroring as students write monologues based on their own experiences of home and bullying.  All students read their monologues out loud. Teaching artists will work in each high school and for sessions V and VI bring both populations together to share and rehearse their experiences and monologues in preparation for presentation to their peers at each high school.

Session VII & VIII

Performances: both refugees and American students present their monologues at in-school presentations. Public performances of the monologues will take place at the Byrdcliffe Theater, August 5th at 2pm presented by students in Voice Theatre’s Summer Youth Workshop.
Students share how this experience has informed and touched their lives’. Students and teachers fill out final questionnaires for the Final Report on the project. Food will be served representing each country.

Outcomes / Results / Impacts

Our goal is for students to learn how to recognize the bullying, intolerance and discrimination and use tools experienced in the workshops to identify and disengage from the stereotype and the bully. It is our hope that the personal experiences shared will have a meaningful impact in shaping the lives of all refugee and US citizen participants.