Speak Up! Protocols & Testimonials


Baseline Responsibility

Proceed with Caution and Be Prepared

Any organization presenting SPEAK UP! must first and foremost be concerned about student safety. When students see themselves reflected in the stories of the characters it may trigger an emotional response or catharsis.  

SPEAK UP! is a powerful catalyst for difficult conversations about “taboo” subjects.  It is the responsibility of the producing entity to assess the organization’s readiness. For this reason, we strongly recommend that the play be presented first to parents, administrators, faculty, counselors and other adults before presenting it to students. 

SPEAK UP! breaks the taboo of silence and asks adults to listen.  Schools or organizations interested in producing SPEAK UP! must complete and sign the MEMO OF AGREEMENT and send to  alb@theatreonpurpose.org  A perusal script will then be sent for your review. 


The SPEAK UP! toolkit contains sample surveys for schools and organizations to assess its mental health and suicide prevention protocols. We recommend that these surveys (for students, parents, faculty/staff) be used to determine both adult and peer training for follow up care for student audiences.  The more equipped your community is, the more effective your plan will be.  

According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults 10 – 24 years of age. 

Does your school have a plan?

Make SPEAK UP! a component of your school or organization’s suicide prevention training:

  • Does your state mandate that every high school have a  suicide prevention program in place?  

For example, in 2016 in the state of California, AB 2246 was enacted requiring that each county office of education, school district, state special school, and charter school that serves pupils in grades 7 to 12 adopt a pupil suicide prevention policy before the beginning of 2017-18 school year. The law also requires that these policies address any training to be provided to teachers on suicide awareness and prevention. 

  • Where do students at your school or organization go for guidance with personal non-academic issues on campus?
  • Do faculty and staff feel they have the proper training to recognize warning signs and guide students appropriately?
  • Do faculty and staff know what to do when a student comes to them with a serious personal issue?
  • Does your school or organization have clear protocols for students in crisis?

Post-Presentation Talk Back

We recommend that you gear post presentation discussion questions to your target audience. We have found it effective with student and adult audiences to begin with the following question:

  • Raise your hand if someone you know has faced any of the themes addressed in this performance.

Other Talk Back Questions: 

  • How many of you are rethinking the power of words and  the impact of actions on others?
  • What will you do differently after seeing SPEAK UP! ?

The characters suffer in different ways.

  • Was there a particular character or circumstance that had an impact on you?
  • The character of Gordon felt isolated and persecuted by his peers and family. This isolation caused him to lose hope. Was hope restored for other characters? What does this say about how we can be hope for others?
  • If anyone in the audience is struggling with these issues directly or is concerned about a friend, your counselor (or school psychologist) can help.  You are not alone. We are here to help. 

We strongly recommend that there be a counselor present for any presentation of SPEAK UP! 

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  • The numbers of incidents were staggering.
  • It makes me want to be able to identify the signs and clues of teens who are troubled and has me reflect on my own family.
  • I felt this presentation was extremely powerful and a very important tool to reach out to the school community.
  • Profound, though provoking, starting point for better education on warning signs of mental health issues in students.
  • The program definitely made me aware of the depth of issues that some of our young people are dealing with. 
  • It has opened my eyes to accepting these issues are real. To be prepared and most importantly being open and available to students and or colleagues going through such stresses. 
  • All of the characters had one thing in common: they felt alone in the world. The best thing a mentor can do is to listen and show support, be real with the student. This play reminded me of how important it really is.
  • I was surprised and glad to see the struggles with sexual identity treated with such honesty. 
  • The play revealed HIDDEN connections among the characters…the connections being key to their anxieties and discomoforts. I think that is something we need to recall frequently…how our students are connected to one another in ways that are not always apparent. 
  • The students portrayed the emotional struggle of these situations. It showed the reality of what a lot of teens face today. It made me want to look for those warning signs and try to make myself more available for students to talk to for any crisis intervention.