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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Imagination Theater Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Single Organization Support, Theater

Mission: Imagination Theater provides diverse audiences with original, dynamic, participatory theatrical programming that enhances well being and creates a more civil, safe society.

Target demographics: diverse audiences

Direct beneficiaries per year: approximately 35,000 people by presenting over 250 shows in Illinois and across the US.

Geographic areas served: the Chicago area

Programs: FOR K-8th GRADE STUDENTS: -Ease the Tease -Show Some Respect -No Secrets ...and many other programs that address a variety of social issues. FOR HS STUDENTS: -Aware Individuals: A Dialogue About Sex and HIV/AIDS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS: -College 101: Beyond the Books (appropriate for new student orientation) ADULTS AND CORPORATIONS: -Custom Designed Workshops to meet your organization's needs FOR OLDER ADULTS: -Senior Spotlight: Chicago And All that Jazz (music and theater therapy show for the elderly)

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater brings an element of simplicity to otherwise very complicated issues our school children are facing in their young lives. Their approach to teaching the students with a sense of humor really keeps them engaged and helps them understand at their developmental level. I am a school social worker who works with a very diverse population, and I feel that all of the students I work with can understand and connect with the actors in some way. The presentations are very engaging and fun! We can't wait to have them back to our school!

Comments ( 1 )

Bethany at Imagination Theater Thanks so much! We look forward to working with you all again in the future.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater individualized scripts for our young men and women and approached the themes in their lives in a way that was transformative. We will invite them back every year!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I absolutely love Imagination Theater! I am a School Counselor and have hosted the program for four consecutive years and I intend to continue to bring it to my school. Students greatly benefit from the performance and the followup discussions.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater brings complicated issues and presents them in a manner in which students understand the teaching point of the presentation. The interactions between Imagination Theater and the audience makes it an engaging presentation, child oriented , and age-appropriate. All the actors and narrators carried themselves professionally and we would highly recommend Imagination Theater to support a school's SEL program.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater provides engaging programming on sensitive topics. Our students always learn from the programs and report enjoying it! We look forward to having Imagination Theater work with our students each year.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

It has been a privilege to have worked with Imagination Theater and Rape Victim Advocates at my school for the last three years. The program has always been well-organized and accommodating, and our staff and students look forward to the annual performance for our 5th-8th Grade students. The performances are engaging and educational, and the follow-up classroom visits with counselors from RVA encourage students to self-advocate and seek the support they may need. I cannot thank this program enough for bringing awareness to our staff and students, and for all the students that No Secrets has placed on the path toward healing.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work as a Theatre Teaching Artist in Chicago. I know that some teachers feel that art programs in schools take valuable time away from teaching their core curriculum. I know expectations for test scores are high and that teachers are under a lot of pressure to meet specific guide lines. But I strongly believe that organizations like Imagination Theatre can work in tandem with teaching the core curriculum and can be a valuable aid to teachers. Imagination Theatre teaches students about creative ways to communicate their feelings and issues but it can also be a great tool for teaching core curriculum lessons.

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 10/25/2014

Thanks so much for your great review! And we agree with you completely at Imagination Theater. All of our school programs align with core curriculum, and I'm so happy to see you noticed that too!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been an arts education teaching artist in Chicago for the past ten years, and though I have not had the privilege of working for Imagination Theater, I regard them as one of the top theater companies that promote arts education. Kids in CPS benefit so much from having theater in the schools and Imagination Theater's No Secrets program is not only unique and top notch, but a much needed program for all schools.

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 10/25/2014

Thanks so much for your kind words! Hope we can work together soon.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater came to my school and provided training for myself and staff. A great deal of knowledge and information was provided. Teachers found it to be very effective. We then scheduled the play for our students who also appeared to have enjoyed and benefited from the play.

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 09/24/2013

Thanks for the positive review! Glad both your teachers and students enjoyed and learned from our visits.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater came in conjunction with Rape Victim Advocates to educate our whole school population (K-8) on the prevention of sexual abuse. The presentation was engaging for the students and they liked the live theater aspect. In addition, the follow up provided by Rape Victim Advocates was useful as it enabled the children to speak out in regards to their specific traumatic situations (and should there be need, provide school counselors/school social workers with the opportunity to speak to a student individually who might not have reported the incident had they not seen the presentation).

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 09/24/2013

Thanks for the great review! We'll be sure to share your kind words with RVA.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is for the Arts Awards campaign. . Imagination Theater is absolutely wonderful! The performers create an environment that allows their audience to express freely w/o hesitation or reservation. The actors are able to create a comfortable setting for the seniors to share their own memories, tap into their imaginations, sing out proud and stron,g and experience an afternoon of joy and laughter, all while feeling as if they really are an integral part of the performance themselves. Our audience members are generally struggling w/serious and complex health issues, however when our patients receive a visit from Imagination Theater, it's evident that the benefits are seen a mile away, not only during the program, but also the rest of the day as well as the rest of their stay in the hosptial. Being a part of the experience provides so many advantages - seen and unseen. If permists the healthy part of the patients personality to emerge and continue to function, giving hope and determination to be well again. It helps to improve morale, self-exteem and deviop a feeling of belonging. Even patients w/dementia benefit as it allows them to reminisce and tap into the memories they have, offering stimulatation, personal ejoyment and life satisfaction. IT knows what they are doing. . they truly offer a therapeutic experience! Pam Murphy, RMT, AD

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater has been an amazing programming partners of Communities In Schools of Chicago (CISC) since 2001, providing much-needed sexual assault prevention education to thousands of Chicago Public School (CPS) students each year. Through its No Secrets program, Imagination Theatre teaches students about safe and unsafe touch through vignettes based on contemporary youth experiences – using words and a tone that students can understand and process. Imagination Theater is “real” with students without overburdening or overwhelming them with information. As important, the organization prepares school staff, engages audiences, and coordinates support for students who seek additional care around this challenging issue. CISC knows first-hand how passionate, accessible and fully committed to collaboration the Imagination Theatre staff is in its work. For example, Imagination Theater has teamed up with another organization, Rape Victims Advocates, to provide a safe place for students to talk about their experiences after seeing an Imagination Theatre performance. During the 2010-2011 school year, Imagination Theatre’s No Secrets program reached 7,140 students at 19 schools; more than 90 percent of the students and 85 percent of the schools were connected through CISC. Since Imagination Theater began working with CISC, it has reached more than 33,000 students at CISC partner schools. (Data for the 2011-2012 school year is being tallied now.) CISC so wholeheartedly endorses the work of Imagination Theatre that we honored the organization with our 2010 Al Ward Spirit of Giving Award for outstanding service to students and schools.

Judy F.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In January 2001, Imagination Theater and I had a fateful meeting in cyberspace, which resulted in an amazing collaboration. The very talented and very engaging ensemble brought the guidance of my book, Easing the Teasing – Helping Your Child Cope with Name-Calling, Ridicule, and Verbal Bullying (McGraw-Hill) to life in their outstanding performances of Ease the Tease. Actors present dramatic scenarios and students are invited on stage to “ease the tease” using a variety of new skills, helping to build confidence they can draw upon if teasing occurs in the future. Ease the Tease continues to be one of the most popular shows. It is truly exciting to continue our partnership as the attention to bullying prevention is on the rise.

Judy S. Freedman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
Bullying Prevention Specialist

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater (IT) does amazing work with schools in Chicago talking with youth about safe and unsafe touch, healthy relationships, and sexual abuse. As an educator who works closely with IT, it's clear to me the positive impact the organization has on youth. Prior to the show, many youth were unclear about the difference between harassment and flirting. Others felt empowered to know they had a right to bodily autonomy - something youth are not often told. After the show, a safe room featuring counselors from our organization helps children who have experienced sexual abuse find help, with those who disclose often telling our counselors that they would not have come forward had it not been for Imagination Theater. IT does incredible work in Chicago to help prevent child sexual abuse, as well as gives survivors a way to get services.