The Theater Offensive

True Colors: Out Youth Theatre Program





Grade Level of Students Participating

Grade 9 to adult

Number of Students Participating per Year

180 students per year (in FY 2016) for True Colors
10,532 people served in all program offered by the organization in FY 2015

Year Organization Began


Relationship to the public education system

The organization operates its own programs and works independently from public schools.

Organization’s Vision and Mission

The Theater Offensive’s mission is to present the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lives in art so bold it breaks through personal isolation, challenges the status quo, and builds thriving communities.

Brief Description of Program Activities

The Theater Offensive (TTO) provokes discussion about the realities of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ or Queer). Through neighborhood social gatherings, workshops, performances and open discussions, TTO transcends traditional theater boundaries and opens new avenues of understanding, awareness and inclusion.

The True Colors Troupe Program consists of the following:

True Colors Troupe is a year-round theater program that engages youth in theater workshops, classes, and trainings to create, produce and tour original shows based on their personal experiences.

The True Colors Studio is a workshop series that offers participants training in a variety of creative outlets. Through weekly workshops, participants engage with teaching artists that merge their artistic practice with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning identities and communities. The Studio is designed for participants to further enhance and develop their artistry.

The True Colors Creative Action Crew (CAC) is a touring theater group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning young adults and their straight allies. The CAC is comprised of actors/facilitators who use theatrical and social justice approaches to share the concerns, joys, and resiliency of LGBTQ people through an interactive performance.

True Colors Leadership and Inclusion Council is a group of youth leaders chosen by other True Colors youth that guide on youth-related matters and youth program development.

Program Content: Intrapersonal Competencies

The program aims to foster the intrapersonal competencies of artistic and cultural appreciation, and self-direction. Through creating original theatre performances, LGBTQ youth enhance their self-expression and sense of identity.

Program Content: Interpersonal Competencies

The program aims to foster the interpersonal competencies of self-representation, cooperation and communication. Youth collaborate in production and learn to communicate themselves to the community.

Program Content: Cognitive Competencies

The program aims to foster the cognitive competencies of creativity and innovation.

Program Content: Attitudes and Values

The program fosters the attitude of “OUTness” - being honest with oneself about one’s identity and sharing that openly with other people.

Program Content: Pedagogy/Active Engagement of Students

The program engages youth through the medium of theatre. The activities are closely tied to experiences that shape who a young person is and require teamwork and creativity.

Additional Notes

The approach The Theater Offensive take to its programs and other work is called “Out In Your Neighborhood or Out’Hood.” They believe that empowering the community to have conversations about and work towards social change is essential for any change to happen! The Out’Hood approach allows them to work hand-in-hand with neighbors in Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, and the South End in Massachusetts. 

Relevant Links

“The Year We Thought About Love” is a documentary about lives of True Colors Troupe members. The trailer clip can be found here

Reference list

1All information from this table come from The Theater Offensive's website and phone conversation with founder/director Abe Rybeck in May 2016.

Prepared by

Vincent Chunhao Qian