Tag Archives: mental illness

Well Arts: Playwriting and Oral History Theatre Workshops

I had the great pleasure to meet Ann Singer from Well Arts at last week’s Oregon Arts Summit conference.

In describing our respective projects, some incredible intersections revealed themselves immediately:


oral and written literacy

youth at risk

Well Arts partners with “local organizations to bring professional artists to facilitate playwriting and oral history theatre workshops for people facing physical illness, mental illness, or social trauma. Our process begins with writing workshops. Facilitators guide participants as they write their stories. Then, a director and the participating writers cast professional actors to perform the stories for the general public in stage readings.” (text from their website)

Ann specifically works with the Girls At Risk program, whose participants  have recently come out of detention and are working on creating plays about their own experiences.


At-risk youth, girls on the margins …these are not the proper terms for 14 year old young ladies.  Strong.  Smart.  Wild. Hopeful.  These are better monikers.

Resident artists Ann Singer and Anet Ris-Kelman team up to work with strong, smart, wild, hopeful girls who have survived destructive childhoods and are building their futures in the community that the rest of us share.  It’s not a bad idea to listen to their stories.

The location is confidential but the performance is not, and stay tuned to hear more about the performances they’re creating together!  Our goal is to have the girls perform their stories during the Fertile Ground Festival, an annual new-plays festival here in Portland that literally crams 70-90 premiers into the space of a week.  Every playwright in town has something going up that week, and our girls will be right there among them!

In the meantime, learn a little more about how creativity and the arts empower girls who have been silent for too long!” (source)

We are hoping to have some these girls share their stories at the opening of our gallery show.

In the meantime, definitely check out Well Arts’ upcoming show opening November 1st:I Wander, it Calls” from their NAMI workshop for people with mental illness. Buy tickets HERE.  Also: LIKE them on Facebook and sign up for their newsletter here www.wellarts.org. We want to support our like-minded community partners!