Voices of Now
Voices of Now is a unique program that gives young people the opportunity to discover the artist within themselves. Together with Arena Stage teaching artists they devise and perform an autobiographical play that poses challenging questions about social, cultural and emotional issues. Now in its tenth year, Voices of Now has impacted the lives of thousands of children and tens of thousands of engaged theatergoers.
Daring to be Different
Voices of Now shows are not just another high school play. They are collaboratively written, fast-paced, highly choreographed, physical theater pieces, usually just 20 - 40 minutes long, which combine poetry, movement, music, dialogue, pantomime and storytelling. All artists are onstage for the entire performance and everyone participates in telling the original, personal stories. Ensemble members learn the value of full participation, discipline and, most importantly, collaboration.
Becoming an Artist
Actors' Tools Workshops
Artists participate in four workshops which introduce actors to their tools: movement, vocal expression, teamwork, and creativity, focusing on the artists’ writing processes and skills. Upon completion, artists are eligible to attend a special audition workshop in order to be cast in a
Voices of Now ensemble.
Creating an Ensemble
An exclusive group of 8-20 young artists creates an original play to be performed within their own community and at Arena Stage. Rehearsals may be held at school, an organization’s private space and/or at Arena Stage.
Taking the Stage
Voices of Now is an internationally recognized program. Past ensembles have performed at Arena Stage; DC’s Seventh Street Landing; Imagination Stage in Bethesda; Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Intersections Festival; DC’s Theater In Our Schools; the Alliance for Theater in Higher Education’s National Conference; Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage; and AIDS 2012: the International AIDS Conference. In 2012 the US Department of State brought Arena Stage teaching artists to India in a groundbreaking partnership called Voices of India.
Voices of Now is available throughout the DC Metro area for middle, high school and community groups of eight or more. Interested group leaders and individual performers can learn more by contacting Community Engagement Partnerships Manager Raymond Caldwell at
Current partners include Jefferson Middle School (DCPS), Fairfax County Public Schools, KIPP DC, Children’s National Medical Center, Metro Teen AIDS, SMYAL, Wendt Center for Loss and Healing, First Star and the DC Child and Family Services Agency’s Office of Youth Empowerment.
Voices of Now is made possible by MetLife Foundation, our Lead Sponsor, and a generous grant from the Howard & Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation. Additional support provided by the Toni R. Ritzenberg and the Share Fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.
Voices of Now: Behind the scenes
Voices of Now: Meet the Artists