Educational Theater Programs

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.

Pasadena, CA

Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Corporation

Oakland, CA4

Kaiser Permanente's educational theater programs use live theater in an innovative approach to community health promotion for children and adolescents. Kaiser Permanente supports five programs promoting communication and healthy decision-making: ''Secrets," "Nightmare on Puberty Street," "Intersections," "R.A.V.E.S.," and "Professor Bodywise's Traveling Menagerie." Respectively, these address sexual health and HIV/STD issues; peer pressure, emotions, and sexuality; communication and conflict resolution; "real alternatives to violence for every student"; and health, hygiene, and resistance to peer pressure.

These prevention programs are intended mainly for young audiences. They are shown to high school students ("Secrets" and "Intersections"), middle school students ("Nightmare on Puberty Street," "Intersections," and "Secrets") and elementary school students ("Professor Bodywise" and "R.A.V.E.S."). All of the programs are available for adult and community audiences. In order to encourage participation in the process of health promotion, Kaiser Permanente distributes educational and other materials to parents. In addition, children receive supplemental materials in school, and supportive classroom resources are provided to educators.

All five productions are funded as a nonprofit community service of Kaiser Permanente. The plays were created with the assistance of an advisory committee of health care practitioners, community leaders, school officials, teachers, parents, students, and a team of theater professionals. When a play is launched, both Kaiser enrollees and the general community are sent promotional information and are invited to free screenings. Subsequently, HMO and community members are welcome to attend program showings, but specific invitations are not tendered. Each Kaiser Permanente region selects those productions it wishes to support; hence, not every production is shown in every region.

"Secrets," "Nightmare on Puberty Street," and "Intersections" all touch on issues related to STDs, but "Secrets" is particularly relevant. It addresses the issues of self-control, self-esteem, and prevention as they pertain to sexuality and sexual health, and it advocates both abstinence and safer sex. The program focuses on HIV/STD transmission, symptoms, and treatment, and it emphasizes adolescent susceptibility to infection. Each performance is followed by a question-and-answer


Other Kaiser Permanente regions may also produce some or all of these educational theater programs. The support materials that accompany performances are designed to meet each community's needs and may vary from region to region.

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