Storycatchers Theatre, a recipient of both Changing Narratives Through Art and Promoting Reentry grants from the Art for Justice Fund, was featured in NationSwell for its work supporting justice-involved youth in finding their voices and working through trauma.
Often known as Storycatchers, the nonprofit musical theater group offers two programs: one that works inside three juvenile detention centers in or near Chicago with 13- to 18-year-olds, and Changing Voices, which employs 21 young people between the ages of 17 and 24 who are on parole, probation or post-release. Through Changing Voices, the young people receive wraparound services and work with both case managers and artist educators for 30 hours a week while being paid at Chicago’s minimum wage.
“It’s kind of a dual-purpose program, these young people have a place to tell their story, to be heard, to be validated, to find coping mechanisms in order to move on from their trauma,” Tory Davidson, Storycatchers’ community engagement manager, told NationSwell. “But then also we organizationally find platforms for young people’s voices to be heard and for them to inform people of power.”
In 2018, Storycatchers worked with 228 young people, hosted 178 performances inside and outside of juvenile detention centers and entertained 5,000 audience members.