No More Bullying!
Since 1999 Hudson River Playback Theatre’s No More Bullying! program has reached about 30,000 students K-12.
We use interactive theatre based on students’ real-life experiences to build empathy and empowerment. Students learn and practice practical steps that witnesses or bystanders can take to make their school a safer, more respectful place. Young people leave the performance with deepened empathy, a vocabulary to talk about bullying, knowledge about what they can do next time they witness bullying—and, for most children, a resolve to take those actions.
Performance Space and Scheduling
Student and Teacher Comments
No More Bullying! supports the goals of other anti-bullying programs. It strengthens the impact of ongoing programs such as the Olweus program.
No More Bullying! Leadership residencies for middle school and high school students:
HRPT members train a group of students in basic Playback Theatre techniques and the topic of bullying. After training, students perform alongside professional company members in a series of shows in their school.
Performances series for elementary schools:
A team of five performers (including musician) comes to your school, carrying out up to three hour-long shows per day.
Performances for parents and/or staff:
If you’re hosting a residency or performance series, we recommend an evening performance for parents. And a show for staff will help everyone work together effectively in dealing with bullying.
Hudson River Playback Theatre school shows and workshops address NYS Learning Standards in Social Studies, ELA, and the Arts.
See “Our audiences” for a list of schools where we’ve worked!
Downloadable PDF of “Using Theater to Address Bullying” by Jo Salas, published in Educational Leadership
[Playback Theatre] helps students realize the other things they can do to help people in bullying situations.
I LOVED participating in playback. I loved being able to express myself freely without being judged.
Playback theatre can help students be more confident with their memories.
I enjoyed this group very much. I liked being funny and serious with kids I knew and kids I now know.
I learned that bullying is everywhere you go and there is a way to stop it.
I learned that by re-enacting other people’s stories it gives them an image about what they could have done to prevent the situation.
I learned not to be shy, and what to do in a bullying situation.
I learned that you should always try to do something when someone’s being bullied.
I learned that even if you aren’t the one being bullied you could still help.
I learned that even if a person is different they could be cool.
I think it’s helped me realize what other people go through.
[Playback Theatre] can help by making everything safer and make people realize that bullying is bad.
Sometimes keeping stuff to yourself is bad so they got to say how they feel.
I really liked how people can come together and work together.
[I learned] that a lot of times people were feeling different than [how] they acted. [Playback theatre] helps you understand people’s feelings.
I learned that being yourself is not a crime.
It helped me stop being a bully.
I learned a lot. It helped me because my brother gets picked on a lot.
I know I’m not the only one getting bullied.
I think other students and I have learned [that] with more people on your side sometimes you can help.
We might stop bullying and stand up for what is right.
Comments from teachers and administrators:
Following a multiple-show series on bullying:
“With ingenuity, energy, and knowledge of the task at hand, you created an interactive learning environment where students felt safe enough to take risks in regard to a difficult social issue. You were very sensitive to the needs of our students, and I think your ability to ‘read’ them and to connect to the topic in an inviting way is commendable.”– Dr. Hasna Muhammad, Assistant Principal, Monroe-Woodbury Middle School, Monroe, NY
Following a school-wide series of shows on bullying and sexual harassment:
“…The scenarios were timely, quite relevant, and portrayed incidents that affect our pupils. What is unique about Hudson River Playback Theatre is its ability to elicit stories from the children and to immediately enact them. Equally meaningful are the strategies for resolving conflict. The troupe members elicit the strategies from the pupils and demonstrate how they could be used. Quite powerful!
[The school] was also privileged to have Playback Theatre make a presentation to parents. The parents were most appreciative of this opportunity.” – Dr. Edward Sullivan,Principal, Chancellor Livingston Elementary School, Rhinebeck, NY
Following four performances for 3rd to 5th graders and an evening show for families:
“The Immigrant Stories performances gave many recent immigrants the opportunity to have their often-silenced voices heard. You and your talented troupe of actors approached this topic with such compassion and skill, enabling the participants to feel both comfortable sharing their stories and affirmed by their life-experiences….The teachers were deeply moved by the richness and value of these performances and shared their desire for future performances. – Felipa Gaudet, Kindergarten teacher, Violet Avenue Elementary School, Hyde Park, NY
After a day of performances for 2nd to 5th graders on bullying:
“We noticed how the process of telling stories and seeing them enacted promoted both empathy and empowerment. These performances enhanced the impact of the Olweus program.” — Barbara Schnell, Principal, Woodstock Elementary School, Woodstock, NY.