V  O  I  C  E S   O  F   Y  O  U  T  H

Unlike generations before them, today's youth face a tremendous number of challenges. They are frequently confronted with issues of sex and sexuality, domestic and teen violence, substance abuse, and multiple health threats, including teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. New HIV infections are increasingly occurring among young people. In fact, one-quarter of all new HIV infections in the United States are estimated to occur in young people under the age of 25. Clearly, young people are in tremendous need of access to confidential health services and health education that target these issues.

The NiteStar Program/STAR Theatre provides important and relevant health information to youth using a non-threatening approach. In compelling, unforgettable fashion, The NiteStar Program/STAR Theatre addresses the difficult decisions and situations faced by young people, clarifying issues, changing attitudes and promoting healthy behaviors.


The NiteStar Program/STAR Theatre, founded in 1988 by Executive Director Cydelle Berlin, PhD, offers a range of programs aimed at helping young people confront the realities of HIV infection and AIDS, as well as a host of other sexual and social issues. Programs and services include:

STAR Theatre and post-performance interactive facilitation
NiteStar TOO!
Technical Assistance and Training

The use of theatre in education has been proven to be a powerful tool for social change. It can strengthen the emotional and psychological appeal of the messages and provide a credible and compelling vehicle to explore sensitive issues with young people.

STAR Theatre uses drama and peer education to help guide pre- adolescents, adolescents and young adults as they confront the many challenges of growing up in the age of AIDS. The productions, which are culturally appropriate and age-specific, seek to diffuse myths among young people, provide HIV/AIDS awareness, help youth to make informed decisions, provide options for changing attitudes and prejudices, and create opportunities for behavioral change.

Immediately following each performance, a trained facilitator/health educator hosts a question-and-answer session between audience members and the actors, who remain in character. This critical component of the program serves to reinforce the public health messages and provides audience members with ideas and models for problem-solving and healthy decision-making.

STAR Theatre Productions The companies of STAR Theatre perform for youth, parents and health care providers in schools and community agencies throughout New York City and nationwide.

There are currently five presentations, each 25 to 40 minutes in length, performed by two theatre companies. The shows are designed to address the developmental stage and cultural orientation of the audience and are tailored to the needs of the host school or agency.

Grades 5 and 6:
Aimed at 10 to 12 year olds, this show addresses pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS, as well as issues of puberty, gender equity, divorce, abuse and substance use.
Grades 7 and 8:
Bridging the gap between elementary school and high school, this show responds to the specific developmental needs of early adolescents, and addresses decision-making about sex and learning how to make smart choices.
High School:
Targeted at high school youth, these two productions offer a realistic perspective for adolescents bombarded by peer pressure, affected by hormonal changes, and faced with decisions that can lead to risky behaviors. The shows focus on decision-making, negotiation for safer sex, and sexual health.
Young Adult/College:
Geared to older youth and young adults, this sophisticated show focuses on HIV/AIDS, pregnancy prevention, safer sex, communication and gender equity.

The shows and music of STAR Theatre are all original—created in collaboration with the young people who comprise the theatre companies. These specially trained actors represent a diversity of cultures, ethnicities, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation. Performances are arresting and evocative—serving to defuse myths, heighten awareness and transform prejudices among impressionable youth. To date, these unique theatre productions have reached more than one million people.


NiteStar TOO! builds on the STAR Theatre performances by providing a multiple workshop series which focuses on achieving attitude and behavioral change. The format involves a performance followed by several weekly, interactive small-group sessions.

NiteStar staff provide technical assistance and training in educational theatre methodology to organizations with youth prevention programs, as well as to HIV prevention planning groups and community-based youth providers. Technical assistance and training is provided through:

Conference Sessions Staff develop and conduct workshops, present lectures, perform programs, facilitate plenary sessions, and develop conference tracks for local, regional, national and international conferences.

NiteStar Sponsored Institutes Twice a year, NiteStar holds regional and national institutes featuring a range of workshops, networking opportunities, performances and individualized technical assistance.

Individualized Technical Assistance Technical assistance is available to organizations that are developing their own theatre programs.

Skills Building Training Workshops
Workshop sessions include:

methods for creating effective productions and culturally and age-appropriate theatrical material;
role playing;
script development through improvisation;
facilitation methods;
ensemble-building skills; and
creating effective health education messages through theatre.

The Technical Assistance Program of NiteStar is supported by a grant from the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NiteStar is the CDC's only technical assistance provider for performing arts and HIV prevention.

Training Materials The following materials are available for purchase by youth providers:

A training video and manual.
On the Edge—a widely acclaimed, original 11-part video series with leader's guides. The series targets junior high and high school students.
Taking Stage—a book by Cydelle Berlin, PhD and Ken Hornbeck presenting the philosophy of educational theatre and detailing the process of building and sustaining a health-oriented theatre company for young people.


We would be pleased to provide you with more information:

The NiteStar Program/STAR Theatre
Mount Sinai St. Luke's Roosevelt
1111 Amsterdam Avenue, Scrymser 1
New York, NY 10025
(212) 523-3968
(212) 523-3545 (fax)
Cydelle Berlin, PhD, Executive Director
(212) 523-3599 •

For general inquiries: (212) 523-3968
For fees (if applicable) and to book a performance:
Fifth and Sixth Grades (212) 523-4786
Junior High School (212) 523-3688
High School (212) 523-3688
Young Adult/College (212) 523-3598
Parent/Provider Audience (212) 523-3599
For technical assistance and training: (212) 523-4785