While studies show that arts engagement improves educational, social, and emotional outcomes, the same studies show that arts access is limited for those who need it most (Kisida & Bowen, 2019). To bridge this gap, CAT creates spaces with 10,000 pre-k through college students and educators/caregivers annually to facilitate open and transparent conversations where participants recognize their power to problem-solve and try new strategies.
CAT’s work falls under the field of Applied Theatre, which uses forms of dramatic activity as a medium for education and social development that exists outside conventional theatre institutions. In 2008, CAT staff founded the nation’s first Master of Arts in Applied Theatre program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies to share this methodology with facilitators from all backgrounds. Using this pedagogy, all of our programs are participant-centered, meaning that participants are the driving force of all of our programs. In turn, each workshop, residency, or session is tailored to each classroom, site, or group of participants.
CAT's work engages students and adults of all ages in ways that challenge and empower participants to interrogate barriers built around those marginalized due to race, culture, immigration status, disability, gender, and/or sexual identity. The diversity of our participants reflects the diversity of NYC.
FY21 (7/1/20 - 6/30/21) ENGAGEMENT & ACHIEVEMENT:

  • 13,048 Participants: CAT worked with a total of 13,048 (10,769 unique) participants (100% virtually!)
  • 102 Sites: CAT worked with 523 classes or cohorts at 102 schools and community sites
  • 2,630 Sessions: CAT facilitated 2,630 sessions over the course of 1,517 service days
  • Language and Literacy: 100% of responding parents and educators better understood how interactive storytelling can support their 3K through 2nd grade child or students' verbal development
  • Communication: 88% of responding CAT Youth Theatre members feel they are able to use theatre to communicate something to an audience that is important to them
  • Active Listening: 87% of responding middle and high school Social Emotional Supports for Students participants learned how to actively listen and work with others
  • Empathy: 85% of responding college students learned more clearly how their actions can affect others

“We need more spaces to have conversations like this, where no one is pushing an agenda. We are all just here to share ideas.”  College Student (Black Male Initiative)
“During the story time, I noticed how students were engaged, including those who are harder to reach. [CAT staff] provided ample opportunities for engagement and participation. Students were helping tell the story without knowing it, and their responses were included into the story.” — Elementary School Educator (Interactive Storytelling)
“I really enjoyed how you [CAT] engaged the students and had them make connections! I also like the way you used real life scenarios for them to think in depth about. You presented the information very clearly and made it relatable to the kids. Thank you!” — Middle School Educator (Social and Emotional Supports for Students)
“I learned about labels [from CAT]. We can view someone as a victim or a bad person but when we go more into their story, we may see them the other way. I saw this demonstrated by the videos we watched with [the character] Janae, our perspective of her could change so drastically by seeing her in another situation.” — Middle School Student (Crisis Management Systems)
“This has inflicted some sort of change in me, I remember when I joined last March and how withdrawn and shy I was. But over the time I performed in three separate performances it has become easier and I have learned mostly that saying the word ‘yes’ and ‘yes’ alone opens up new opportunities.” — Junior Youth Theatre Participant (CAT Junior Youth Theatre)
View Our FY2021 Final Report


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