ACT Out Ensemble
A featured part of Claude McNeal Productions (the nationally-acclaimed performance/theatre education company headquartered in Indianapolis), ACT Out is a social-issues improvisational theatre education program that centrally helps students of various ages learn to better face the difficult conflicts that are pervading and damaging societal issues in their everyday lives, encouraging students to embrace individualized solutions. Topics such as bullying, diversity, social anxiety, or anywhere from up to twenty-four other serious issues are acted out by professional actors in intense dramatic scenes, followed by frank, research-based and to the point analysis by both audience and presenters.
Founded in 1995, the ACT Out Ensemble has already helped transform the lives of more than 500,000 through the unique power of live social-issues theatre, and has been recognized by The Washington Post, CNN and Teen People Magazine for its excellence in original work.
All shows are original and researched in meetings with respected health professionals and educators, and then presented through the use of improvisation by four to six actors. ACT Out structures performances to meet the organization’s needs and provides each audience with an entertaining and educational experience. When combined with classroom-based learning, ACT Out programs are an essential element of reinforcing lessons and retention through active discussion. Our data shows that 85% of students who participated in our programs felt it assisted them with their real-life situations and daily encounters. In contrast, data shows that only 5-10% retain information in non-dramatized presentations.
ACT Out has a number of issues we can provide programming on, but specialize in the following topics for 4th through 12th graders, and meet the Indiana State Standards per the Indiana Department of Education (under the standards adjacent to each of
Bullying, including cyber- bullying- Follows Indiana Code 20-34-6-1 (under the anti-bullying and health and wellness standards)
Social Anxiety/Character Development (including self-esteem building) – Follows Indiana Code 20-30-5-5 (under family /consumer science category)
Diversity & Inclusion: Follows Indiana Code 20-30-5-7
Preventing Dating Violence (which includes choosing healthy relationships) Follows Indiana Code 20-30-5-17 and 20-30-5-6 (under the family and consumer science category)
Substance Abuse: Follows Indiana Code (under Health & Wellness) Standard 20-30-5-11
Every ACT Out performance (length, topic and format) is uniquely tailored to suit the intended grade level. Students come away from ACT Out programs with an improved self image, a feeling that they belong to a larger community, a stronger sense of character and an increased spirit of cooperation. We are dedicated to crafting programs that are meaningful to the communities we serve and committed to bringing significant change to the lives of students.
Performances generally last 45 minutes to one hour and feature a number of scenes highlighting selected topics. Scenes are immediately followed by an audience discussion, facilitated by an ACT Out director (also involving the cast), with the goals of empowering students to actively explore ideas presented in the performance, and engaging them in conversations that create continued awareness of the topics. While these discussions embrace personal responsibility and individual solutions, students are encouraged to connect their thoughts during the performance to real-life situations and emotions after the performance. That is the power of live theatre!