The experience with Handful Players was remarkable. my Children absolutely enjoyed being apart of such a wonderful program & Judith Cohen is great. Handful Players has had such a positive influence on my children...they've met new friends, learned stage presence, acting, self expressions, & learned how to over come shyness. I'd recommend Handful Players to all parents, so that they can give their children the oppotunity to experience such a close net social environment for youth. Handul Players is the place to be!
I love Handful Players! They help kids find their creative voice, build self-esteem and learn skills for getting ahead in life. Kids just want to have fun and express themselves. They also learn team work, focus and personal responsibility. What a great opportunity! Every kid loves to be a part of this. It really shows when they get on the stage. Great job Judith! Great program! Well deserving of every kudo!
I have worked as a teaching artist with Handful Players, and I wholeheartedly support this organization's mission. Handful Players brings high quality musical theater workshops to kids in the inner city, and the workshops are absolutely free to the participants. Working with Handful Players last summer was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I got to know many talented kids that would have probably never had the opportunity to engage in a program like this outside of Handful Players. Some of the kids come in, and are already stars...they just don't know it! Some of them are there to learn life lessons...cooperation, team work, self confidence, responsibility. I really saw the kids grow in these areas over the summer. They all took such pride in their final performance which was performed before an audience of about 300 people! This was definitely an experience these kids will never forget. I know it affected them in a very positive way, and I was proud to be part of it. I have just started working as an Artist in Residence for Handful Players at an elementary school in San Francisco and will be working with them again this summer. This is more than a job for me. It is a heart project. Teaching for Handful Players really makes me feel I am giving something back to my community.
I have been involved with Handful Players as a volunteer, helping photograph the young actors and musicians that have passed through this wonderful program. But it wasn't until I saw the packed house at Yoshi's that I truly understood how valuable Handful Players is to the community. Not only does the program take young kids off the street and on to the stage, but its an event and a cause the entire community can rally around and applaud.
I went to the Handful Players annual performance at Yoshi's last year. It was a liberating experience to watch the collection of children perform on such a lovely stage. Their excitement and enthusiasm was infectious. I felt as if I watched self-esteem bloom in front of me.
The youth participating in Handful Players have opportunities to learn "universal" understanding that comes through theater and music. There is not only a musical play that impacts audiences across San Francisco...but the opportunity for children and families to discover talents, creativity, skill building and problem solving! The family and volunteer participation is remarkable...adding mentors and lifelong connections in the community! Handful Players finds new ways to engage children and families, particularly from neighborhoods that need support, and move them along a path to educational and social success.
In my experience, children have their lives changed in two ways: meeting extraordinary people and seeing that they can do something extraordinary themselves. Handful Players offers both. Kids who are in need of a great experience get to work with mentors and coaches who truly inspire. And they get to learn they CAN do amazing things through theatre, whether the hook for them is movement, voice, dance, acting, or just plain being on a stage with an audience clapping for them. It's an invaluable program.
With our every contact with Handful, we have been deeply impressed by the creative and constructive purpose -- not to mention pure joy! -- that its productions give to kids whose lives are challenged by all sorts of "derailing" influences. Through theater, through community, Handful offers them a huge helping handful of love.
We have seen a several shows by the Handful Players and we're totally wowed by the talent of the kids and the committment and creativity of Judith Cohen and her crew. They have built fabulous place to give the children an opportunity to be a part of something that they would never have a chance to experience. Four thumbs up!
Handful Players is an inspiration to all. It offers inner city kids the opportunity to spend after school time creatively and constructively, and to discover something about themselves they otherwise would never have the chance to discover. It's founder, Judith Cohen, tirelessly works to keep this program going, She has provided a safe place for the kids to practice and perform, the creative staff to make it fun, and the funding to keep it going. Hats off to Judith - she and Handful Players is a great asset to our city!
As someone who works with children who are in Handful Players, I have been very impressed with how much the kids enjoy the program and learn about theater. Handful Players is a wonderful program and we are lucky to have it in our great city.
I had a wonderful experience volunteering for Handful Players. I was asked to supervise the editing of a video that provides an overview of what Handful Players does for kids. The video, which is now hosted on their website, is viewed by the actors, their families and friends, the community, and potential grant donors. It gives me great satisfaction knowing that my small contribution is helping spread the word about this great organization.
Handful Players has found a way to engage and energize a group of youngsters, and create much more than just entertainment. The personal growth the children make during each production is truly amazing. This experience impacts their lives in many ways, including giving them a sense of purpose, teaching them team skills, and building their confidence. The involvement of nationally recognized playwrights and musicians is a testimonial to the reputation that Handful Players has built, thanks to the vision and hard work of its founder, Judith Cohen, who has made this program her life's work.
Our high school has had several students involved in productions, and I have seen first-hand the confidence and joy this rich experience brings to these young people. The production I attended was located in the Fillmore and centered around the history and music of the Fillmore neighborhood. Children of various ages in the musical learned while performing and having fun, and their talent was encouraged and highlighted through this experience. It was a fantastic night to see these young performers come into their own - thanks to the dedication of Handful Players.
I have followed the progression of Handful Players under the leadership of Judith Cohen since its inception. I have been involved in the Non-Profit sector for over forty years and have never met an individual with the ingenuity, dedication and passion for a mission like Ms. Cohen has for the Handful Players. She has performed miracles with a very high risk group of adolescents each year. She has found a very valuable niche in the providing of services to these adolescents which will positively influence their lives as they mature.
I was fortunate enough to meet Judith Cohen at the annual Theatre Bay Area Conference, in October 2008. A few months later, I moved to the Bay Area, and looked her up. She called on me to do some late-stage work with the students, who had a performance coming up soon. My interaction with these hungry, spongelike young artists, and watching the love Judith and they have for each other, made a strong impression. Not trained in the theatre herself, but a lifelong devotee and audience member, Judith drew on her business acumen and her many personal and interpersonal resources, poured in a large helping of her generous spirit and commitment to the notion of giving back, and founded Handful Players. I count myself honored and changed by my friendship with her, and I sit in awe of the altruistic work she and her staff are doing in the community.
Handful Players is a gift to everyone blessed to come into contact with this delightful and growing ensemble. I was honored to be invited to write an original play to be premiered by Handful's youth actors. I found Judith Cohen to be both open to my story and character ideas and creativity, and clear and helpful in her feedback and artistic direction. Handful Players is devoted to youth education, expression, and agency in both vision and practice. The workshops, rehearsals and commissioned plays are all centered around encouraging the actors' exploration, growth as artists, and development of confidence both onstage and off. Also, I felt entirely respected and valued as a playwright and creative partner in the play development process. And that level of appreciation has certainly continued well after the culmination of my duties.
Handful Players starts with ordinary young people living in sometimes difficult situations. Once I attended a rehearsal and then a final stage performance by them, the energy and excitement coming from the stage created special moments. Some of these young people came to the stage with some fine musical skills which added to the experience. What was on display was an opportunity for these "players" to be a part of something special, operate as a team of actors, and most importantly, to grow. It is a feel good group.
I have attended several performances of the Handful Players. I can unequivocally state that this is a great project. It is a perfect example of the use of the arts/theater to teach self confidence, develop hidden talents, teach youngsters to get along with one another, function as a team, to work with adult supervision without confrontation, and to have a good time safely. I look forward to their next performance
I had the opportunity to direct the kids in the very first performance - it was a wonderful experience. Together, with the kids, we took their stories from being a kid at school and made a great play. Handful has always been able to reach out to undeserved kid's of the community and provide rich and fulfilling experiences. It gives kid's a chance to really shine!