Impact of Yemin Orde Asper Theatre Program (January 2022)

The Asper Theatre Program, Yemin Orde Youth Village

Yemin Orde Youth Village, a residential educational village established in 1953, serves some 420 disadvantaged, at-risk youth – 85% of whom are new immigrants. These youth are dealing with challenges such as cultural and language barriers, learning difficulties and for some, separation from family in their native land. As new immigrants, they must become proficient in Hebrew to successfully complete their high school matriculation exams, better integrate into society, take advantage of higher education opportunities and become contributing members to society.

In 2019, The Asper Foundation provided support to Yemin Orde to develop an innovative method for improving language skills among new immigrants and minorities for whom Hebrew is their second or even third language. Through theatrical dialogue and artistic narrating the youth learn how to freely express themselves while gaining confidence in their ability to speak before an audience. Those participating in this program benefit on two levels: the opportunity to express themselves and to be heard in addition to developing and strengthening their Hebrew verbal skills.

The youth are exposed to the world of acting and theatre, learning skills such as character development, diction, mimicry, improvisation, play-writing and comprehension, masking, creating fictional space and technical skills in the areas of acting, voice, and movement.

One of the most powerful aspects of the program is that each youth works with a mentor to write a monologue about their life.  Often, these touch upon issues such as racism, abuse and other hardships. These opportunities are seized upon to provide a platform to discuss and explore these challenges in a supportive and empowering way.

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