Changing Perceptions Theater, LLC

Shaun Neblett

Executive Director and Owner

“Mindful, Visionary, For the Children”

During his senior year at Montclair High School, Shaun began teaching English Language Arts to youth for Summerbridge, a national non-profit, enrichment program designed to assist predominantly low income students through a “students teaching students” model. By the time he graduated from New York University in 1999 he was appointed to develop a youth theater program for Harlem Children’s Zone. Under the mentorship of Shawn Dove, CEO of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Shaun created a youth- theater program called H.O.T. Works that boosted the social emotional intelligence, leadership and community involvement of hundreds of children. Shaun has taught at St. Mark the Evangelist School in Harlem, where he secured $15,000 worth of funding for the school to erect a three-yearlong drama program. He was also a teacher and administrator at the Eagle Academy for Young Men (Bronx Campus) where he explored different pedagogy and facilitated extensive professional development on reaching male students in urban communities. Shaun established Changing Perceptions Theater (CPT) in 2010. As the company’s Executive Director, he has secured contracts to instruct over one thousand youth in theater programs throughout New York City and Newark, NJ. Thousands of young people have seen CPT’s original youth productions that inspire youth audiences to change perceptions of themselves, their abilities and their communities. Shaun is also an accomplished playwright whose works have been produced Off-Broadway and internationally.

What makes CPT unique and necessary? “Research published by The Opportunity Agenda in 2011 showed that the life outcomes of millions of people of color, especially black males, are affected by their own self-esteem, identity, and sense of empowerment. Among the many factors that influence the opportunities and achievements of people of color, specifically black men and boys, are public perceptions and attitudes toward them as a group and their own self-perceptions as well.

Throughout its seven-year history, Changing Perceptions Theater has instructed over one thousand youth in theater programs throughout New York City and Newark, NJ and thousands of young people have seen CPT’s original youth productions that inspire young people to change perceptions of themselves, their abilities and their communities. CPT’s school programs inspire families, peers school environments and young people themselves to gain powerful and confident perceptions of our youth’s abilities and character.”

Services provided by CPT: Amongst CPT’s programs that inspire confidence through teaching theater and public speaking are:

S.K.I.T.S: Through fun and interactive playwriting and improvisation exercises, CPT Artistic Mentors show participants how to create and perform 5-minute skits that interpret themes from literature, historical quotes, visual art, or school mantras. Participants’ culminating event is a performance for peers, parents and teachers.

PRODUCE A PLAY: CPT Artistic Mentors are all experienced instructors, trained mentors, men and women of color, and professional, practicing theater artists. Over the course of a school semester, trimester or school year, CPT artistic mentors work one-on-one with a group of students to present a professional level theatrical production for their families, peers, and teachers. Whether an original one-act play from CPT’s repertoire or an established full length musical, students are exposed to playwriting, performance, stage combat, stage design and marketing skills needed to produce a show.

INTERACTIVE IN-SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES: CPT’s various in-school assemblies are entertaining and thought-provoking for ALL grade levels. In this fun, communal and interactive assembly format, a student-body watches a play performed by 3 professional CPT actors; the play pauses for students to reason and contribute to the play’s conflict and resolution; selected students act alongside CPT Artistic Mentors; students discuss themes in the play with their teachers and peers.


Arts Ed Newark is made possible by the generous support of: Turrell Fund, The Prudential Foundation, The Horizon Foundation of New Jersey, The Victoria Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Arts



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