Far From The Heart
Through interactive theatre and film, Far From the Heart engages and educates teens to prevent dating violence and sexual assault and create safe relationships.
About Your Organization
Canada, ON, Kemble
Country where this project is creating social impact
Is your organization a
Non‐profit / NGO / Citizen sector organization
Your role in Education
The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with
How long has your organization been operating?
More than 5 years
Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Scaling (the next step will be growing impact on a regional or even global scale)
How long has your solution been in operation?
Operating for more than 5 years
The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
Sexual Assault and dating violence are serious issues for today’s youth, with long-term consequences including risk of re-victimization and intergenerational impact.
➢ 51% of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of sexual or physical violence. Close to 60% of these women have survived more than one incident of violence. (Statistics Canada 1993)
➢ 86% percent of all sexual offences reported to the police in 2004 involved girls under the age of 18 (OWD; up from 63% in 1996)
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Far From The Heart (FFTH) engages and educates teens to prevent sexual assault and dating violence. This dating violence prevention program helps our youth create environments that nurture safe relationships. Created in collaboration with teens for teens, the project explores tough issues, giving audiences the knowledge needed to resolve conflict, negotiate relationships and avoid risk. The interactive forum-theatre style production creates a meaningful learning space which catalyzes critical conversations. Using the arts to engage teens in problem solving, safety planning, and community awareness, FFTH works to stimulate discussion and understanding. FFTH is delivered through forum-style theatre in schools (grades 7 -12), an interactive film online, and dialogue in partnership with a broad community network of schools, social services, health care and justice providers.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
Our project activities actively engage youth through experiential processes and discussions using the following components. The project is also delivered through an interactive online film and workshops.
Step One: Preparation
Teacher and facilitator training - review the show, activities and the Educational Guidebook filled with resources and engaging lesson plans and learn what to do if a student reports an assault.
In-class preparation and interactive discussions led by teachers in the days before the show.
Distribution of resource materials to students in class, including agency contact cards and stickers.
Step Two: Presentation
• Theatre forum presentation (about 75 minutes):
• 5 minute introduction by the Joker: includes the “rules of engagement”
• 20 min scripted play performance layered with problems
• 45-min forum with “interventions” or audience improvisation and interactions to solve the problems presented in the scripted play performance. This is facilitated by the Joker
• 5 min final wrap by the Joker
• Post-show discussions with social service and health workers from community agencies, police officers and peer group youth leaders (30 mins) connect students with local resources as they process the play and express ideas
Step Three: Integration
• Vital in-class post-show activities, led by teachers in the days following the show, set the students in motion to create and organize their own anti-violence endeavours, integrating, applying and extending their learning, and helping to build a safe, healthy, and compassionate environment
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
Our model, founded in multi-sectoral collaboration and experiential learning, is unique. We bring together educators, artists, youth, and organizations, each with specific expertise/understanding, to engage students in this essential conversation. Partners provide resources/information and time because we share the stakes and benefits; through FFTH, they often enter schools and touch students directly for the first time. We compete with other school-touring programs. Buyers often have limited resources for which we are competing. High-profile organizations with more substantial marketing and operating resources may offer services at a lower cost. However, no other company offers FFTH’s extensive community support and exciting interactivity.
Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
Using interactive theatre/film, FFTH engages & educates teens to prevent dating violence & sexual assault and create safe relationships.
Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
FFTH uses innovative, interactive theatre & film so youth can create change in a safe space, supported by community resources and peers.
This Entry is about (Issues)
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Far From The Heart has reached about 15,000 people in Ontario and Saskatchewan with its touring production and the film has been used as far away as Trinidad and Tobago. Its effectiveness is currently being studied by the University of Regina. Anecdotal evidence suggests increased reporting and referrals, attitude and behaviour changes, and increased awareness.
Forum Theatre is recognized as an effective tool for change, and in applying this method for FFTH, Sheatre increases the knowledge and awareness of youth about the impact of sexual violence and the risks associated with this issue. At the same time, the implementation of our successful community partnership model promotes capacity building and collaboration between governmental and non-governmental organizations that provide services and support to victims.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
We have translated the play into French. We plan to reach an additional 15,000 youth directly through bilingual theatre presentations across Canada. We plan to attend select European and US festivals to seed the project there. We will publish our research document online that speaks to the real impact of this kind of theatre and community education model; there is not much research available currently. We will continue to serve youth through our online presence (website, Facebook, Twitter), giving youth and outlet for speaking to these issues.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
competition for limited revenues; plan - broad range of requests to traditional and innovative funding sources
limited purchasing power of schools: plan - keep price low
Increasing costs for gas and touring: plan - budget carefully
Increased costs of a bilingual production: plan - budget well and fundraise
Challenges of promoting, booking and scheduling a bilingual production across a large region: plan - hire coordinator
Challenges of promoting an online film; plan - contract expert marketers and develop partnerships to continue product exposure and growth
Satisfying demand (we've had increased demand, and haven't been able to go everywhere that FFTH has been requested); plan - create a business plan regarding extended self-production and licensing options to others.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Produce live presentations bilingually in French and English speaking communities in Canada, and support them with resources.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Collaborate with our partners/peers to continue enhancing our educational resources for new francophone audiences.
Hire bilingual artists and a production coordinator to promote productions.
Translate all resource, outreach and educational/training materials into French, including website
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
We will have produced 40 bilingual shows with to between 6000-8000 students.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Secure bookings for the bilingual production in Northern Ontario and Quebec.
Contract marketing and communications firm to ensure and boost online audiences
Update and expand online resources.
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]
10. The seed project of FFTH (2006) was created in response to concerns expressed to Artistic Director Joan Chandler by Public Health and social service workers. Staff at agencies noted increased levels of dating violence against young women and the prevalence of second-generation women entering the shelters. Public Health Nurses were alarmed at the number of young girls and teens that were involved in unhealthy relationships or couldn't distinguish between acceptable behaviour patterns and abuse.
It was this coupled with a general community climate of denial and hesitancy, and Joan's long-term relationship within the violence against women sector, that sparked this project. With Sheatre’s theatrical expertise and networks, we can reach and educate youth and get them talking with a proven tool: theatre.
Tell us about your partnerships
We have achieved unprecedented partnerships with a broad community network of schools, social services, health care and justice providers. We have also received substantial in-kind donations from a variety of businesses, agencies, and organizations. Each partnership is different in the varying communities: one size does not fit all. We’re sensitive to their needs and rely on their knowledge of their community. This increases our efficacy and efficiency in utilizing resources. We aim to continue to streamline our information to allow internal community partnerships without our micromanagement.
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]
Artistic Director, Co-Producer, Production Coordinator (bilingual), Volunteer Coordinators, Online Communications Officer, Marketing and promotions Director, Fund Development Coordinator, Bookkeeper, Auditor
Post-show discussion volunteers, educational consultants, community support teams (ie. pre-existing community networks/organizations)
Business Consultants re: effective growth of the model, licensing, franchising
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
As leaders in forum theatre and pioneers of this community engaged method, we would advise others as to how to adapt their work; also our research document will throw light on the effectiveness of FFTh and how that might inspire others to adapt our ideas to their projects.) As well as the research document, we have proposed hosting a think tank event in June to discuss research in the field.