SANDY CREEK, NY – Sandy Creek students were recently empowered by award-winning actor, writer and solo performer Tim Collins during an anti-bullying theatrical performance.
Collins’ one-man show “Standing By, Standing Up” was about the struggles students face as instigators, bystanders and victims of various types of bullying.
Before the performance, Collins asked his audience what age group they thought has had the most increased level of bullying on a yearly basis.
The students were shocked to find out the answer: individuals 75-80 years of age. Collins wanted students to know that bullying is not something exclusively happens in schools.
“We live in a culture where bullying occurs and sometimes is even encouraged,” said Collins. “If we don’t challenge those kinds of bullying behaviors at a young age, we are more likely to carry those characteristics with us throughout our lives.”
The performance mostly revolved around a character named Gabriel who was experiencing verbal and physical bullying on a daily basis at school, as well as cyber bullying from home.
Collins stated that one in four students experience bullying on a daily basis across the country.
Perhaps the most teachable moments for the Sandy Creek audience involved the bystanders in the show, the people who witnessed bullying around them and did nothing to stop it.
Collins incorporated audience members to demonstrate different ways students might prevent or stop bullying situations constructively, such as changing the topic of conversation, standing up for their fellow students or bringing issues to teachers and school administrators.
“Together, I know we can stop the violence,” said Collins.
Lawson Elementary School students participate in “No More Bullying” presentation
Students at Lawson Elementary School participated in the “No More Bullying” bullying prevention program. The Springboard St. Louis program is an interactive, one-man show presented by Tim Collins.
Julie Mazar, instructional specialist, said the program fit hand in hand with the current anti-bullying messaging used at Lawson Elementary School. Students are taught five strategies to empower them from bullying. They are called “PAWS for Peace.” They are:
• Use an I-message
• Refuse to get mad
• Use humor or change the subject
• Request a mediation
• Be a hero in action
Mazar said Collins worked with her to be sure to reinforce those messages in his presentation.
“Kids so often hear from their teachers and parents. Sometimes it is just as effective to hear it from a new person,” said Mazar.
Andrea Palazzolo, Springboard St. Louis, said Lawson Elementary School is an arts partner school, and therefore receives more in-depth programs that tie into the curriculum at the school.
“We like to work with our schools to help fit their needs,” said Palazzolo. “Tim developed this program to help meet some of the specific needs of this school.”
She said Collins was presenting the program for the first time to kindergarten through third grade students, and developed it based off a successful program he uses for third through fifth grades.
Collins uses theater to help teach character education. In the program, he uses a range of characters, including a gym teacher who details facts and information about bullying to help demonstrate key concepts in bullying prevention. Other characters include different children students can identify with, to help engage the audience by asking for input and suggestions on the best choices to make.
THE SCRIPT is the tale of four very different male college students reacting to the rape of a female friend. They are all clueless in their own way. They aren’t sure what constitutes “rape”. What if a girl is drunk? What if she doesn’t say no? The play deftly combines a whodunit with the thoughts and scrambled beliefs of the four. One hint: getting wasted doesn’t improve your judgment.
TIM COLLINS not only entertains, he does Good Works by presenting this one-man show on sexual assault prevention. In a world where the emphasis is on women protecting themselves, staying aware, and never going out alone, THE SCRIPT brings into focus the fact that men need to stop objectifying women and realize that silence doesn’t necessarily mean “yes”. An excellent wake-up call for males, THE SCRIPT doesn’t preach. It simply walks men through the thinking process necessary to reach wise decisions in their interactions with females. Both serious and funny, THE SCRIPT is a win-win for everyone.
reviewed at the 2013 United Solo Festival
I first became acquainted with the work of solo performance artist Tim Collins back in 2008, at the New York International Fringe Festival. His play A Fire as Bright as Heaven—in which he portrayed dozens of characters to tell an autobiographical story of the first several years of this millennium, starting with first day as a student abroad in London on September 12th, 2001—impressed me so much that I published it in NYTE’s anthology Plays and Playwrights 2009 and also on Indie Theater Now, where you can read an excerpt from it and learn much more about it.
Fire is driven by Tim’s deep humanity and curiosity. His new play, On the Outskirts of Everything, which debuted at this year’s United Solo Festival, finds the actor/performer still on a quest to get under the skin of his fellow humans. This time, rather than mining his own personal story, he follows in the footsteps of many solo artists before him to create a rich tapestry of individuals, each of whom is given a monologue to reveal himself to us within the show. Tim told me that this piece is kind of a nod to Eric Bogosian, and it is definitely structured like one of Bogosian’s solo plays from the ’80s/’90s. But of course Tim’s distinctive, warm, empathetic voice resonates throughout.
In On the Outskirts we meet six very different men, all (as the title suggests) on the periphery, trying to get back on track in a world that seems suddenly to be spinning too fast. There’s Zac, a guy approaching middle age who blows into his hometown to reunite with a buddy from high school who he hasn’t seen or talked to in more than a decade. There’s David, leader of an Anger Management class for parolees who is having troubling managing his own feelings of inadequacy. There’s Ian, who is painting his empty apartment while the love of his life stands just outside the door. And there’s Speed, who is waiting on line at McDonald’s, not quite ready to place his order because he hasn’t quite worked up the courage to talk to the young lady behind the counter.
My favorite character here, though, is Daniel, a young man of perhaps 20 who is struggling with the enormity of…well, everything…while trying to just get a beverage at a Starbucks. Daniel is given to malapropisms and his already tiny attention span is further diminished by the distractions provided by his cellphone. With this monologue, in particular, Tim Collins taps into the zeitgeist with breathtaking specificity and incisiveness. Daniel texts, takes pictures, and spouts running commentary about movies he doesn’t quite remember and political theories he doesn’t quite understand; every one of us knows at least one person like this troubled young man.
The sixth piece in On the Outskirts isn’t in the voice of a person but rather of a virtual being. Its title is “Google Search” and it’s oddly affecting.
On the Outskirts is a brilliant addition to Tim’s growing catalogue of solo work, which includes several pieces intended for teenage audiences on subjects like bullying and sexuality. I’m excited to have seen this newest piece, which will hopefully have an extended life in NYC and beyond.
reviewed at the 2012 United Solo Festival
CAP Stands Up to Bullying with Tim Collins
Canastota, NY, October, 4, 2012 – On a warm fall evening, many young people and the adults in their lives crowded into Community Action Partnership’s community room to view, and participate in, the one-man play about Bullying Prevention: Standing By, Standing Up. The play, written and presented by Tim Collins (originally of the Vernon/Verona/Sherrill area), was a poignant, humorous and timeless portrayal of four adolescents experiencing the pain and sorrow of bullying. Tim played the parts of the primary bully’s main accomplice, one other who stood by and watched, one scarred by his own experience with a technological betrayal, and the teacher who tried to help.
The audience, comprised of young people from aged 8 to 15, and adults (parents and/or mentors) were all equally captivated by this performance. Its ageless appeal was apparent by the rapt attention and responses from all in the room. This serious issue has advanced into the 2000 millennium with a vengeance – utilizing such popular modes as audio and video taping, Facebook, and computer applications which can destroy a young person’s reputation, self-esteem and sense of self worth. No parent can possibly overrule or stop the damage that this type of bullying can inflect.
Tim Collins is sincere, genuine and an excellent writer and actor. His depiction of the characters often caused laughter and tears in the eyes of many! The adults in the room were all moved by the experience and the themes of Tim’s presentation transcend generations. This is another additional benefit of CAP’s mentoring program. It was offered to all at no cost to CAP mentors, mentees, staff and the community at large and approximately 50 attended. The youth were introspective and had absorbed the lessons presented and the realistic solutions offered by all at the conclusion of the presentation. Tim solicited answers and solutions from the group, respecting all answers and comments. It was a worthwhile, enjoyable and memorable experience.
Community Action Partnership’s Mentoring Program reaches out to approximately 40 Madison County youth each year, bringing activities like these to inspire and educate the youth in the area. CAP is funded in part by the Madison County Youth Bureau, United Way of Greater Oneida, Madison County Promise, Madison County Department of Social Services and the Women’s Fund of Central New York, all playing their part in creating positive social interactions and developmental programs for the youth.
Community Action Partnership
Playwright Uses Theater to Help End Cycle of Violence
From The Color Purple’s Celie to Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead,” the entertainment world has shined a spotlight on the issue of domestic violence, raising awareness through the eyes and voices of the women who live it every day.
Yet few ever get inside of the minds of the men who commit physically and sexually violent acts to explore why they believe violence is acceptable and how they justify their terrible actions – Information that could help stop the cycle of abuse.
Here in St. Louis, schools and nonprofits alike have welcomed actor and playwright Tim Collins to their stages. Through his one-man performance, The Script, Collins is using his heartfelt words to assist in ending dating and domestic violence before it starts. And on December 1st, he’ll perform this celebrated play, along with his new work, the anti-bullying Standing By, Standing Up, at the Regional Arts Commission for a night of art and awareness.
The Story behind THE SCRIPT
Like most individuals, Collins was aware there’s an issue of domestic and dating violence in this country, but it wasn’t until he began discussing the topic with the women in his life did the enormity of the epidemic take shape. Every female friend, every female family member had a story that hit close to home, whether it affected her acquaintance, her roommate or even herself.
Explained Collins, “No man I knew would say to me, ‘I wouldn’t feel safe walking by myself or running in this park.’ Men have a sort of privilege; they feel safe all the time. Women have to have a battle plan even if they’re just walking out of their house. They always have to have something prepared just in case – that’s a horrible way to live. I thought there surely must be something I could do to help.”
As an actor who studied at Marlboro College and Arts ED UK, Collins decided to direct his talents toward advocacy. Putting pen to paper, the playwright crafted The Script to target domestic and dating violence. The 40-minute play goes inside the minds of four young men in the wake of a sexual attack on a female classmate. Through his characters, Collins exposes the misconception of blaming the victim and explores how one’s inability to handle challenges to his masculinity can set him on a dangerous course toward violence.
In the past two years, The Script has not only struck a chord with theatergoers, but has grown into a critical teaching tool for a network of schools, nonprofits and other agencies across the country. Collins regularly performs The Script for a variety of audiences, including students as young as eighth grade, as well as adults who themselves have been abusive to their partners.
Collins believes exposing the flaws of his characters is what has turned a passive theater experience into a passionate and educational conversation between himself and the audience. “I like portraying misinformed characters who say – this is what I believe – to get the audience to react and disagree with me. By showing all levels of understanding across the spectrum – from ignorance about domestic violence to some kind of enlightenment on the issue, that’s where the dialogue happens. I want my characters to change their limited viewpoints and hopefully the audience will learn alongside them.”
The Next Show in a Series
With the success of The Script, Collins decided to expand his reach in Fall 2011 with Standing By, Standing Up, which targets the reasons behind and consequences of today’s bullying epidemic. While Collins initially created the show to target middle and high schoolers, agencies encouraged him to expand it to children as young as fourth grade – a sad realization about the severity of the issue.
Yet, through Standing By, Standing Up, audiences discover ways to end bullying in their organizations. “I hope I created a show that lets kids look at the system of violence in their schools, and think, ‘Can I step in?’ ‘Can I identify people who are being bullied, but don’t have the skills or emotional knowledge to stop it?’ ‘Can I help create an environment where people are helped instead of hurt?’”
Moving forward, Collins is continuing to affect social change through his work on two new performances examining mental illness and sex education. “There are so many issues out there, from suicide prevention to heroin abuse,” he remarked. “There’s an infinite amount of shows to write, and an infinite number of agencies to partner with. I am so excited to be sharing my work with them to help others.”