Combining both practices of the arts and grief counseling, Florida Studio Theatre and Tidewell Hospice present the Blue Butterfly Theatre Program; Running from January 23- February 27, the program is designed for teens age 13-18 dealing with grief of all forms

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FST and Tidewell Hospice present:
the Blue Butterfly Theatre Project

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, Calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting” – Maria popova

(Sarasota, FL)— Combining both practices of the arts and grief counseling, Florida Studio Theatre and Tidewell Hospice present the Blue Butterfly Theatre Program. Running from January 23- February 27, the program is designed for teens age 13-18 dealing with grief of all forms. Taught by FST Teaching Artists, the program consists of six Saturday sessions from 11am – 1pm. Hospice counselors will be onsite during all sessions. Reservations may be made by contacting Pamela Smith at 941.366.1350 or [email protected] The program is of no cost and is sponsored by Tidewell Hospice.

The Blue Butterfly Program is designed to give teens an opportunity to explore and express the emotional response to their individual circumstances whether it’s dealing with death, divorce, or any situation that interferes with the development of life skills. Participants will have the opportunity to delve deeper into healthy modes of creative expression through a variety of art forms including singing, dancing, creative writing, painting, and acting.

The program is the creation of Kate Alexander, FST’s Associate Director and Ken Kenzie, Vice President of Grief Support Service at Tidewell Hospice. Alexander and Kinzie explain how the first spark of inspiration was ignited for this unique program. “We have been colleagues for quite a long time. Though our practices appear very different, we have found much in common. Therapy provides a forum to heal wounds and the theatre provides a safe place to explore all emotions that make up humankind. Both environments are deeply sensitive to the student. Both can foster growth.”

When asked about the growing need for this style of grief counseling in addition to the programs offered at the Tidewell Bereavement Center, Alexander states, “We felt that although there were places to explore physical challenges for those suffering from grief, there were none that explored the emotional landscapes as areas of opportunity to challenge oneself to grow. Just as one climbs a mountain or navigates a rushing stream, there is much courage in creating a painting or expressing your feelings. Both of our disciplines enhance each other as we create a safe haven for youth who are suffering from loss or grief. The possibilities are endless.” We also found that parents facing a difficult issue with one sibling called and asked us to help the other saying ‘I know my child will be emotionally safe at FST.’”

The Blue Butterfly Theatre Program focuses on the organic expression of grief. “On your grief journey there will be times when you will have to trust your support system to learn to trust yourself. Know there are people around you who can help you make it through. Youth express their grief differently than adults,” said Kinzie. “At Blue Butterfly you can learn to express your grief in ways that are most helpful to you, perhaps through song, dance, or creative writing. There is no wrong way. Emotions surrounding grief and loss are difficult to understand, and the hardest part is asking for help. At the Blue Butterfly Theater program you won’t have to ask.”

It also is important to know that grief finds an outlet at its own time and place. Sometimes people will want to feel “normal” and participate in everyday activities and sometimes, a thought or memory will overtake them and they will need to express that emotion. At the Blue Butterfly, the staff will be sensitive to all of these needs, whether for play or serious attentions. Activities include discussions, improvisation, movement, acting, journaling, and painting.

Running from January 23- February 27, the Blue Butterfly Theatre Program is designed for teens age 13-18 dealing with grief of all forms. Taught by FST Teaching Artists, the program consists of six Saturday sessions from 11am – 1pm. Hospice counselors will be onsite during all sessions. Reservations may be made by contacting Pamela Smith at 941.366.1350 or [email protected]

ABOUT TIDEWELL HOSPICE

Tidewell Hospice is an independent, not-for-profit organization offering a home-based, total support system for people living with advanced illness and their families. Tidewell cares for more than 8,000 patients and their families annually in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. Offices are located in Arcadia, Bradenton, Englewood, Lakewood Ranch, Ellenton/Palmetto, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Sarasota and Venice. Tidewell is accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP), with deemed status, which signifies excellence in quality care and in meeting Medicare’s Conditions of Participation.

About Florida Studio Theatre

Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company then acquired the former Woman’s Club building, becoming the first permanent venue. Shortly after Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins arrived, the building was purchased and renamed The Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Gompertz Theatre, the Parisian style Goldstein Cabaret and John C. Court Cabaret, and Bowne’s Lab Theatre. 

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience.  FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world.  As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.

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