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Event Calendar

Voices of Now (VON) is a program that devises autobiographical plays with ensembles of middle-school, high-school and adult artists. VON plays are fast-paced, collaboratively written, physical theater pieces that pose challenging social questions relevant to the artists and their communities. The plays investigate those questions through poetry, movement and the recounting of the artists’ personal stories.

Originally created to work with one local middle school, the program has expanded to serve hundreds of students in the DC Metro area and beyond. One of the primary goals of the program is to create positive change within the artists’ communities by engaging in dialogue centered on young people’s daily experiences of their world.

Arena Stage’s Community Engagement Division presentsTHE VOICES OF NOW FESTIVALMay 18-21, 2016

Join us for four nights of new plays written and performed by 10 ensembles from the DC Metro area. Over 100 artists, ages 11 to 18, will share their stories and raise important questions they have about their communities through an evening of original, autobiographical theater. This year’s plays examine topics including issues of race and ethnicity, self-identification, mental health and illness, heroes and role models, putting down roots in new places, risk-taking, the magnitude of our actions and implications of language used surrounding grief and death.

Wednesday, May 18 – 7:30 p.m.
Chain Reaction by the Mentor Ensemble
Now You See Me by the Advocacy Ensemble
Free Fall by the Jefferson Academy Ensemble

Thursday, May 19 – 7:30 p.m.
Upside Down by the Key Middle School Ensemble
Culture Shock by the Key World Ensemble
Now You See Me by the Advocacy Ensemble

Friday, May 20 – 7:30 p.m.
Equal Sign by the Glasgow Middle School Ensemble
Prize Fight by the South County Middle School Ensemble
Book Mark by the Wendt Center Ensemble

Saturday, May 21 – 7:30 p.m.
Action Figure by the Robinson Secondary School Ensemble
Shelter by the Mead Ensemble
Chain Reaction by the Mentor Ensemble

All performances will be held in the Kogod Cradle at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Learn more

Admission is FREE; reservations required. Call the Arena Stage Box Office at 202.488-3300 or follow this link to reserve your tickets

take the stage

Learn more about local Voices of Now ensembles and Voices of Now ensembles around the world.

Voices of Now Washington DC

Voices of Now International

Voices of Now Mead Ensemble

Become a Voices of Now artist

Voices of NowActors' Tools Workshops
To qualify to be a Voices of Now ensemble member, artists participate in a series of workshops introducing them to the actor's tools: movement, vocal expression, teamwork and creative writing. Upon completion, participating artists are eligible to audition to be cast in a Voices of Now ensemble.

Voices of NowCreate an Ensemble
Groups of 8-20 artists create an original play to be performed in their own community and at Arena Stage as a part of the Voices of Now Festival. Rehearsals may be held at school, in an organization's private space and/or at Arena Stage.

Related Videos



Exploring Grief with the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing



Voices of Now: An Inside Look

Voices of Now: International

Get involved

Voices of Now is available to middle, high school and community groups of eight or more. Group leaders and performers can learn more by contacting

Community Engagement Partnerships Manager Medha Marsten
at 202-600-4065.

our sponsors

Voices of Now is made possible by support from DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Harman Family Foundation, Hattie M. Strong Foundation, GEICO, Rockwell Collins, Friends of Southwest D.C., Toni A. Ritzenberg and the Weissberg Foundation. Additional support for the program is provided by the U.S. Department of State.