Foster kids express themselves -- by writing and presenting a revue in Sellwood

DAVID F. ASHTON - Giving direction to young actors at a rehearsal for the Truth AND Dare show at a rehearsal at the Sellwood Playhouse are the shows director, Danielle Pecoff, a Lake Oswego junior high drama teacher, and Rogue Pack Executive Director Ann Singer. Again this year, Rogue Pack, a nonprofit organization which facilitates writing workshops for under-served youths to help them learn to "tell their stories", helped these teens to present a show at the Sellwood Playhouse on January 26 and 27.

"I've been doing this kind of work for almost ten years now – the storytelling part of it," explained the organization's Executive Director, Ann Singer. "I've worked with different nonprofit organizations, such as Lunacy Stageworks Inc., and Well Arts Institute; but I've branched to start our own organization, 'Rogue Pack', after getting grant funding."

The Rogue Pack teens, all from Boys & Girls Aid, were rehearsing the scripted portions of their show – their own original and biographical writing – as Singer spoke with THE BEE.

The actors on stage, in this case, are currently in foster care, Singer said – and the organization also works with homeless youth, those in juvenile detention, and kids with disabilities.

"This program is important, because these kids do not have access to high-quality theater programs in which they can learn to write, speak, and express themselves," Singer explained. "They also learn how to collaborate, as they devise their own script while helping them 'get into their bodies' and they learn stage movement."

Improvisational theater is a common thread for all the Rogue Pack programs, Singer observed. "It helps the kids learn to think on their feet, get 'in the moment', forget about their problems, and just have fun."

Through participating in their program, and in this show which was called "Truth AND Dare", this group of foster girls ages 10 to 18 learn to cross social boundaries," Singer pointed out. In this way, she said, the program helps them deal with their trauma in a therapeutic and fun way, and also gives them skills that they can use in the future.

"These kids will see their potential, which really helps them expand the horizons of what they can be," Singer concluded.

Learn more about this unique organization at their website –

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