WIT’s Top 10 Highlights in 2019 Community Outreach
All over DC, WIT’s Community Fund shares the craft of improv through free workshops, performances, and scholarships, and here are just a few of the wonderful things that happened in 2019 in our community outreach. Now through the end of the year, all donations to the WIT Community Fund, which supports activities like these, will be doubled up to $7,000.
Donate today: witdc.org/fund
10. ESL Improv for All workshops help share the joy of improv with people who speak English as a second language.
Argentina native Analía Gómez Vidal began teaching free two-hour Improv for All workshops using her experience as a player speaking English as a second language to encourage others to join in on the fun.
9. Armed Services Arts Partnership students perform in their first Operation Improv class showcase.
In a partnership with ASAP, WIT teaches improv workshops to veterans, aiming to provide catharsis and a creative outlet to veterans who are reintegrating into civilian life. 2019 is our first year working with ASAP, an organization which gives veterans and military families access to the arts and supportive community.
8. Improv students from Kingman Boys and Girls Club take the stage in their class showcase.
At Kingman, right around the corner from WIT’s home at Source Theater, we work with teens on improv basics and how they can help foster teamwork, listening, and creativity in and out of the classroom. Following the class, students showcased their new skills at Source. Teacher Cara Popecki says, “To see them tap into improv helped them remember that growing up can also mean saying ‘yes, and’ to lots of great experiences.”
7. After school improv classes at Marie Reed Elementary
All over the District, WIT provides improv classes for younger students after school, helping them with everything from building listening skills to empowering them with self-confidence. Marie Reed Elementary is our longest-standing partnership, where instructor Jack Novak works with fourth and fifth grade students. “Mr. Novak has made a connection with our students beyond our expectations. Marie Reed Elementary school’s 4th and 5th grade are not an easy group to build rapport, Mr. Novak did it wonderfully.” – Walter Castillo, after-school coordinator at Marie Reed ES
6. The Feminine Experience show
This year, “Vagina! An Improvised Monologue” reformed under the more inclusive moniker “The Feminine Experience.” Comprised of improvised true monologues, the shows benefited House of Ruth, a local organization that provides comprehensive services to the victims of intimate partner violence and their children. This is a community-wide effort, and in 2020 the show will be supported by the WIT Community Fund.
5. The NitWITs – our troupe for young audiences – debuts!
In each NitWITs show, audience members guide the cast in making up spontaneous stories and playing fun theater games in a family-friendly, relaxed atmosphere. The NitWITs allows WIT to extend our mission to make DC a more joyous and connected city to the city’s youngest citizens.
4. ASL Improv for All workshops help share improv with people in DC’s deaf community.
Improviser and ASL interpreter Erin Murray not only interprets improv shows in ASL, but she also expands access to the craft by teaching free improv workshops to deaf students.
3. Diversity scholarship recipients take the stage.
WIT’s diversity scholarship increases the diversity of voices and talent on stage in DC with six scholarship recipients perform in the Harold program; one recipient joins house ensemble Hellcat; and fan favorite Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament team I Don’t Know Her includes three scholarship recipients.
2. WIT partners with Calvary Women’s Services to provide improv workshops for their clients.
WIT improviser and teacher Krystal Ramseur leads improv workshops at Calvary for women experiencing homelessness, lifting spirits and boosting confidence in her students.
1. WIT served 120 furloughed federal employees over the course of four daytime Improv for All workshops.
During January 2019’s federal government shutdown, WIT delivered catharsis and connection for furloughed federal employees in a time of anxiety. One workshop included a performance by a group of seven furloughed improv artists. The workshops received widespread media attention including a video feature in USA Today, a nationally-syndicated piece on NPR, as well as coverage from Voice of America and online news channel Newsy. Participant Ryan Baugh told USA Today, “[This workshop] is such a release from the stressful situation many of the people in this room are going through right now.”
Pretty great, right? You can make 2020 even brighter and fun-filled for DC with your donation to the WIT Community Fund. Did we mention that all donations before year end will be matched? It’s true.