Dear Friends,

This year has been a year of transition at Rehearsal for Life—from our extraordinary first 30 years to entering our next 30 with collective leadership. Doing things in an ordinary way is not how we got here.

Please take a moment to reflect on the past year with pride in what has been accomplished and with thanks to the donors and friends listed in this report.

It was among the most distinguished school years in our history, which is a credit to the loyalty and generosity of our supporters, and the dedication and artistry of the Rehearsal for Life staff. The work in the classrooms and in the community is what excites and ignites us all. We have never been more energized by what we see happening throughout the organization.

Conventional wisdom might suggest that in challenging times such as these we should temper the idiosyncrasy of our work. Many would suggest the risks are too high to take chances; however, in our minds and in our actions, by not taking risks, we risk the loss of our distinction.

With a growth mindset, and leaning into our strengths in improv, community building, and creating safe and brave spaces, we have sharpened our image, enhanced our programs, and are more imaginative in our pursuit of resources. You have helped to make these efforts possible and we can’t thank you enough.

My best,
James Benenson, Chair


Our kid-centric theater programs embody the following Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Key Measures: Creative Self-Expression, Empathy, Conflict Resolution, Relationship building/community, Diversity & Inclusion.

Urban Improv

9 week residencies in 6 BPS partners (BTU School, Conley, Hale, Haley, Murphy, Mission Hill) and one Boston parochial school: Mission Grammar School.

51 classrooms—approximately 1,200 students, grades 4-8

Our teaching artists create realistic scenes about topics such as bullying, peer pressure, racism, and healthy relationships. At a pivotal moment, the facilitator calls “FREEZE!” Students jump into the scene, using their minds, bodies and creativity to resolve the conflict, and experience their choices first hand. This year, the ensemble piloted curricula surrounding microaggressions and expanded on race, gender and identity.

Freelance Players

Our after school, tuition-based musical theater program fosters imagination, self-expression, empathy, and community. Our young thespians worked hard to present a mix of classic Freelance shows and brand new titles, including two original pieces devised in collaboration between Director Sally Campbell, Music Director Mike Healey, and the members of the Newton Freelance Players troupe.

The Troupes and The Shows
Driscoll: Clam’s Casino & Mything Links

Jamaica Plain: Mystery at the Musee Segretto & Shakespeare’s Daughters

Needham: Shakespeare’s Daughters & So Many Stories

Newton: Stand By… & The Rash at Ohio State

Spotlight: Red Hats & Hamletta

Youth Unscripted

Our after school program for Boston teens builds self-awareness, community and confidence through creative exploration of themselves, their communities, and social justice. This year, 19 high school students from across the Greater Boston Area presented “We Deserve,” an evening of original visual art, music and food. The students gathered each week to explore their culinary prowess, experiment with different visual arts, and write original music in preparation for the production. Along the way, they learned new ways to use their voices to affect change in themselves, their communities, and our world.

Re:Action Assemblies

Interactive assemblies jumpstart healthy dialogue on challenging topics at schools and community groups in New England and beyond. This year, in collaboration with Families Organizing for Racial Justice in Newton, we piloted a city-wide middle school assembly series on Microaggressions. We also created an interactive workshop for pediatric residents at the Boston Medical Center & Boston Children’s Hospital, using the Urban Improv method to allow the residents to practice having challenging conversations with co-workers and patients. This work will be expanded to the staff at Mass General Brigham next year.


Our community is our strength and foundation. Here, we make a special introduction to some of the people who have helped us this year (and some for many, many years). Thank you for all you have given us.


Thank you to the many individuals, organizations, and institutions that have contributed to Rehearsal for Life in the 2021-2022 fiscal year. You are the reason we can continue to serve and spur on integral social and emotional learning with our youth programming. You are the reason Rehearsal for Life and our programs are thriving today.


Philanthropy: $507,607
Grants/Government: $484,742
Donated Goods & Services: $5,500
Earned Revenue: $201,266
ERC (Employee Retention Credit): $206,955

FY22: $1,406,070


Youth Programs: $960,723
Fundraising: $223,405
General & Admin: $89,664
FY22: $1,273,792

SURPLUS: $132,278

BANNED IN BOSTON went Back to School

Virtual Banned in Boston was a smashing success! Over 300 guests tuned in on April 14, 2022 and helped to raise $560,000 in support of our youth programs. Our continued gratitude goes to Faith Soloway for telling a story with heart and humor and for crafting the music, script and lyrics, and to director Ian Brownell for going above and beyond! And, as always, we could not have done it without our amazing cast, including our superb guest stars, the indomitable Jane Lynch and Tim Meadows!

The Kippy Dewey Service Award

Ann Hall & Lisa Alvord
This year the board of directors and staff were proud to honor founding supporters Lisa Schmid Alvord and Ann Hall with the inaugural Kippy Dewey Service Award. In recognition and celebration of their leadership, loyalty and generosity, which they have embodied since the first days Urban Improv. They have positively impacted thousands of young people, inspiring creativity and community. Volunteer service is a crucial part of how Rehearsal for Life sustains its mission, representing one of the largest building blocks of our success to date. Lisa and Ann’s life work in support of Rehearsal for Life is a call to action for us all.


Lisa McColgan, Office Administrator
Kristen Sherman, Head of Development & Finance
Faith Soloway, Interim Artistic Director, Urban Improv
Kelsey Tidball, Marketing & Development Assistant
Mary Torpey, Head of Program & Creative Director, Freelance Players
Jamie Ullrich, Head of Urban Improv & Community Partnerships


Julian Arroyo, Urban Improv
Sally Campbell, Troupe Director, Newton
Narcissa Campion, Music Director, BrooklineTroupe
Mike Casey, Urban Improv
IJ Chan, Urban Improv
Cooper Evello, Urban Improv/Freelance Players
Alissa Darsa, Assistant Troupe Director, Jamaica Plain
Kippy Dewey, Troupe Director, Brookline
Lillian Gomes, Urban Improv
Mike Healey, Music Director, Newton
Madeline Hurley, Troupe Director, Jamaica Plain
Elle Jansen, Choreographer
Jackson Jirard, Associate Director, Urban Improv
Zeenia Kolah, Urban Improv/Freelance Players
Merle Perkins, Urban Improv
Holly Tarnower, Lead, Youth Unscripted
Olivia Shure, Assistant Troupe Director, Brookline


James Benenson, Chair
Lisa Schmid Alvord, Co-Vice Chair
George Bennett, Co-Vice Chair
Levin H. Campbell, Treasurer
Katie Kulikoski, Clerk
Lisa Case
Ted Clark
Kendrick Terrell Evans
Yujing Li
Kristina Hare Lyons
Skye Morrison Kramer
Thalia McMillion, Chair, Freelance Players, Advisors
Thomas O’Rourke
Lisa Pierpont
Maryam Rahmani

Funded in part by Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion, a multi-year effort focusing on access, equity and quality arts learning for BPS students. The BPS Arts Expansion Fund, managed by EdVestors, is supported by the Barr Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Katie and Paul Buttenwieser, The Klarman Family Foundation, Linde Family Foundation, and other individuals. BPS Arts Expansion is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Rehearsal for Life, Inc.
PO Box 300037
Jamaica Plain, MA  02130


Photo credits: Kelsey Tidball, Mary Torpey, Jamie Ullrich, Fredo Durand