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As of 2015, Joe Orrach and JOPP’s outreach programs have impacted over 2,000 students, mostly at-risk youth.

With the structural support of JOPP’s nonprofit status, we hope to make a difference in many more students’ lives. Our organization involves other artists, educators, and support to help us develop projects that demonstrate to students and the public how dance and physical performance enhance self-expression and help to create an integrated self. We immerse youth in the creation of new performance pieces, giving them the opportunity to see how personal stories and creative ideas can be expressed and performed in a way that encourages participation and self-confidence.

JOPP has developed a curriculum and programs presented in middle schools and high schools where students get invoveld in creating and telling stories. For JOPP production, they also assist with production activities such as lighting, sound, organizing the production space, and staging. They are actively engaged in Q and A’s, critiques, and classroom sessions about how a personal story becomes a piece that can be expressed in movement and narrative and how a theatrical work is developed for an audience. Students also do physical exercises using dance and movement to experience how artists can translate a story into a presentation in movement. The response in schools has always been high enthusiasm and intense engagement, and JOPP is often invited for return engagements. As a touring production, Orrach takes the projects to public schools around the country and uses a performance occasion for follow-up discussions and workshops with students. Orrach’s workshops let students experience the accessibility of art and story through dance, athletic movements, and the body in motion.

The Boxer, a piece solely based in dance which Orrach originated and performed in European venues, is a work he has also performed and used at a spring-board for movement and discussion with teenagers in lock-down environments and after school programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Boys and girls with different degrees of athleticism and physical abilities are so engaged that the instructors have repeatedly encouraged his return.

Orrach has also conducted workshops for adults who are often seen as on the fringes of society. Through a residency at Pasadena Playhouse, he taught workshops for former gang members and for others who wish to become gang interventionists. He worked in tandem with the Advancement Project, a civil-rights organization that trains gang interventionists in areas of LA considered at-risk “hot zones.” Through his workshops, Orrach has helped former gang members to find their voices and helped them communicate with others about the fears and hardships that drove them to join gangs, as well as the heartbreak that gave them the courage to turn their lives around.

“He [Joe] really motivated me to do what my heart wants me to do, no matter what obstacle is in my way.”

– Rodrigo P., student at Estancia High School


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Other Workshops

JOPP is dedicated to reaching people who would not normally go to “traditional” theatre venues. We have worked closely with schools and other educational organizations to touch the lives of many people. Some of the classes and workshops we've led have included:​​


  • Advancement Project workshops for Leadership in Development Training for Gang Interventionists – Los Angeles, CA

  • Visiting artistic instructors for impact drug and alcohol treatment – Pasadena, CA

  • Organizers and presenter for the San Francisco Youth Leadership Awards – San Francisco, CA

  • Mentor and workshop for the Seven Tepees Youth Organization – San Francisco, CA

  • Workshops for incarcerated youth at the lockdown facility at San Francisco General Hospital – San Francisco, CA

  • Workshop and perforamnce for the Delancey Street Foundation – San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA

  • Performance/workshop to benefit Edible Schoolyard – Berkeley, CA

  • Performances and workshops to benefit Heart to Heart International Children’s Medical Alliance – Oakland, CA

  • Storytelling and performance workshops for high school students – Berkeley Public High School (Berkeley, CA); Oakland School for the Arts (Oakland, CA); San Francisco School for the Arts (San Francisco, CA); CrossRoads High School (Los Angeles, CA); Concord High School (Concord, CA); Summit K2 High School (El Cerrito, CA)

  • Workshop and performances  at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts – Richmond, CA

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