Improv Classes Aim to Prevent LGBT Suicides

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Cast members from the first LGBT Art of Community suicide prevention play workshop participate in an improvisational exercise.

A series of improvisation acting classes beginning this week could make the difference for an LGBT neighbor contemplating suicide.

The free 10-week series, sponsored by the Weston-based Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention, Inc. (FISP) will run Thursday, July 17 through Thursday, Sept. 18 and conclude with a public performance on Sunday, Sept. 21.

The program is free for adults over 18 and will be led by Robin Braun, executive director of Inside Out Theatre Company. In addition to an extensive career in theater, Braun holds an M.Ed. in mental health and counseling, giving her a unique background to lead the program.

The improv classes were a natural evolution for the program, which began last year with a play workshop written and performed by a dozen program participants at Hagan Park Community Center in Wilton Manors, said Jackie Rosen, executive director of FISP.

“Last year, we gave two performances and felt it was such a good thing because it allowed the LGBT community to come together and discuss the issues and then write and produce a play,” she said. “It was therapeutic for not only the participants, but also the audience.”

Rosen noted the city of Wilton Manors has a relatively high suicide rate compared to other communities in South Florida, especially across demographics including age, gender and sexual orientation.

The improv program is co-sponsored by the Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention and LGBT Art of Community Not Alone Project, with donations and matching funds from the Community Foundation of Broward.

In addition to the improv classes, FISP also sponsors educational programs and support groups, a telephone information line and other support services.

To sign up for the classes, call 954-384-0344 or go to FISPOnline.org.


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