TheaterConnect: Bridging Cultural Divides

Bringing together partner classes from widely different parts of the country, students work together to explore cultural heritage through theater, storytelling, and music. The inaugural workshop, between students in Southern Appalachia and New England was the result of Creative Connections’ partnership with Hands Across the Hills, a grassroots group that has connected residents from these two regions to better understand one another.

The Workshop

TheaterConnect uses applied theater to explore cultural heritage and enhance cultural competency. By sharing culturally revealing personal artifacts brought in by each student, we use tools based in applied theater and storytelling to explore the objects in our lives we most value, staging scenes about our heritage – its meaning and challenges. Working cross-culturally, this workshop helps students understand one another better, while starting to tackle the ongoing cultural and political divides in the United States. Tim describes it as a “way for students to interact in creative ways, encourage listening and learning from each other’s stories, and understand one another.”

"Applied theater is a fancy way of saying theater that has a specific purpose beyond just entertainment. This kind of a drama can emphasize the power of the arts in activist settings, honing theater techniques as tools to get people to understand stories that need to get told.”

Tim Steckler, TheaterConnect Program Manager

Workshop Summary

Workshop Facilitator

Tim Steckler, TheaterConnect Program Manager | cell: 203. 219. 5439

Tim Steckler is a Brooklyn-based Applied Theater Educator and Facilitator. He has worked with students from the USA and around the world to put together interactive performances on social justice issues ranging from refugee resettlement, countering systemic racism, and cultural heritage. Tim holds a Master’s of Education degree in International Education Policy from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Principia College.


Recognizing differences between you and someone else is important, but recognizing similarities can help you understand where you come from too. In this program, participants might find unexpected connections. My favorite moments while facilitating are when someone says, ‘Oh, I didn’t think about it in that way’ or when someone just comes away with a new connection or a new perspective.

Tim Steckler, TheaterConnect Program Manager

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