Explore theatre and meet new friends in an affirming group for LGBTQIA+ teens.
Theatre Connect was created in the Summer of 2017 as a unique theatrical adventure for LGBTQIA+ teens in partnership with the UF Health Youth Gender Program. This program has grown and evolved over 15 seasons to what it is today: an after-school LGBTQIA+ affirming theatre group that combines games and exercises with storytelling and discussion to build a safe, friendly, and creative community!
The Theatre Connect crew are trained theatre professionals and are background checked by the University of Florida Office of Youth Compliance Services to preserve our participants’ wellbeing and safety. While Theatre Connect is not a therapy or support group, we do everything we can to protect the wellbeing of our cast during rehearsals.That’s why we partner with the UF College of Education Mental Health Counselor Training program to ensure every activity is co-facilitated by a mental health counselor who can provide free mental health first-aid, confidential on-demand counseling, and referrals as needed.
No previous theatre experience is required to join our cast and all abilities are welcome.
All participants must attend the first Tuesday of the season to secure their spot in the cast. We cannot allow participants to join without online registration, a signed liability form, and first-day attendance.
Every season of Theatre Connect begins with the cast members (participants) “making the rules” for our group. These group agreements give each teen a voice in building our safe and supportive environment. The cast also develops individual goals to help guide the crew in selecting the activities for weekly rehearsals. Theatre Connect emphasizes voluntary participation, self-care, and fun. Activities may include:
- Improvisational theatre
- Story-telling and world-building
- Character development
- Costume and prop design
- Confidence-building and stage presence
- Playwriting and dialogue
- Directing and team-building
At the end of each eight-week season, we produce an invite-only Showcase where the cast share what they’ve learned and direct their friends and family members through their favorite games and scenes. We look forward to having you join our cast!
Please complete the following steps to register for Theatre Connect
- Complete the online registration form.
- Sign liability waiver and photo release; check participant and first emergency contact email(s) one week before the first Tuesday of the season.
- Attend the first night of Theatre Connect to secure your spot in the cast. There’s no audition or theatre experience needed, simply show up to secure your spot!
NOTE: We cannot admit participants who do not complete all three steps above.
Time & Location
- Time/Day: 6:30-8:15 pm EST | Tuesday Nights for 8-week sessions
- We will meet in the lower level of the Hippodrome Theatre.
- The address is 25 SE 2nd Pl, Gainesville, FL 32601 lower level rehearsal space is accessible from the outside of the theatre, on the left (east) side facing Maude’s cafe. Free parking is available around downtown Gainesville. Paid parking is also available nearby, please read parking signs carefully. Occasionally, we may change locations to meet. As such parents/guardians should check their email every week for location changes. We will also announce this to our teens during rehearsal the week before any location change.
- The program is FREE of charge.
Theatre Connect Crew
- Camilo Reina Munoz – Facilitator, MA Arts in Medicine
- Savannah Simmerly – Facilitator, Theatre
- Cai Husband – Peer Mentor
- Dr. Hannah Bayne – Mental Health Supervisor
This FREE program is made possible thanks to the Bradley S. and Marta E. Pollitt Family and the generous contributions of the Marta & Bradley Pollitt Fund! We are also pleased to thank the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and Satchel’s Pizza for providing the program funding and resources which make this program possible.
This program is in compliance with the UF Office of Youth Compliance Services guidelines for youth protection and privacy: https://oycs.ufsa.ufl.edu/