Our History

Using the arts to inspire healthy choices for more than 25 years…. and counting!

Kaiser Permanente, a nonprofit health plan serving more than 8.8 million members, has been bringing health education into communities through its Educational Theatre Program (ETP) since the early 1980s.

What started as a magic show addressing healthy eating for elementary school children in Hawaii, has become a series of award winning theatrical productions, skill-building workshops, and youth engagement programs covering a range of topics such as nutrition, exercise, diversity, peer pressure, conflict management, domestic violence, grief and loss, depression, bullying, sexually transmitted diseases, literacy promotion, and drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse.

Today, each of our eight Kaiser Permanente regions has its own ETP. Each brings their own unique style and flavor to address the specific demographics and needs of the communities they serve.

By end of 2010, the eight regional ETPs combined have reached more than15 million audience members free of charge.

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Cornerstone dates:

1981

Kaiser Permanente begins exploring the world of educational theatre. Working with educators and health professionals, the Hawaii region creates “Dr. Wizardwise”, a magic show emphasizing health education to children. By the second year, Kaiser Permanente’s “Dr. Wizardwise” had been in nearly every public and private elementary school throughout all the Islands in the state.

1984

Inspired by the innovative idea of “Dr. Wizardwise, the Ohio region creates the flagship production “Professor Bodywise’s Traveling Menagerie”, a show which all Kaiser Permanente regions will adopt – and refine - over the years. Through characters - such as the Nutri-Beast, Nikki-Teen the smoker, Boring G. Boring the television addict, Scumble the drug pusher and others – “Professor Bodywise’s Traveling Menageriegets audiences to discover that making Bodywise choices about their health and safety will help them all become Bodywise stars.

1986

The innovative idea of “Professor Bodywise’s Traveling Menagerie” catches on and in addition to Ohio, is produced in the Northwest, Northern and Southern California, Colorado and the Mid-Atlantic.

1995

The Georgia region launches its ETP department for the first time with “Professor Bodywise’s Traveling Menagerie.”

2005

The Ohio Region announces an exclusive partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), the second largest school district in the state, and begins its ETP once again after a short hiatus. The partnership begins with the production of “Secrets.” Rather than using professional actors, high school students from CMSD are the actors in the program. Through this new model, the young actors become knowledgeable and passionate about health issues through the process of rehearsing and performing a production. They are also viewed as health education ambassadors within their schools and communities and are able to competently educate their peers on certain issues.

2006

Northwest region initiates a collaboration with Oregon Children’s Theatre, the state’s leading professional children’s theater to bring the Educational Theatre Program back to the Northwest. The partnership kicks off with the production “What Would You Do?”encouraging discussions about creating a caring school climate, and examining issues such as peer pressure, bullying, stress, and respecting oneself and others.

The Hawaii region announces a partnership with Castle High School. Using students as the actors, the partnership begins with performances of "The Amazing Food Detective." This is the region's first time back in the educational theatre arena since ending "Dr. Wizardwise" in the late 1980s.

2009

Hawaii announces a partnership with Kapolei High School. Students perform “The Amazing Food Detective” while Castle High School begins performing the “Best Me.”

 

Full Timeline

1981

Kaiser Permanente begins exploring the world of educational theatre. Working with educators and health professionals, the Hawaii region creates “Dr. Wizardwise”, a magic show emphasizing health education to children. By the second year, Kaiser Permanente’s “Dr. Wizardwise” had been in nearly every public and private elementary school throughout all the Islands in the state.

1984

Inspired by the innovative idea of “Dr. Wizardwise, the Ohio region creates the flagship production “Professor Bodywise’s Traveling Menagerie”, a show which all Kaiser Permanente regions will adopt – and refine - over the years. Through characters - such as the Nutri-Beast, Nikki-Teen the smoker, Boring G. Boring the television addict, Scumble the drug pusher and others – “Professor Bodywise’s Traveling Menageriegets audiences to discover that making Bodywise choices about their health and safety will help them all become Bodywise stars.

1986

The innovative idea of “Professor Bodywise’s Traveling Menagerie” catches on and in addition to Ohio, is produced in the Northwest, Northern and Southern California, Colorado and the Mid-Atlantic.

1987

“Personal Power” and “Bodywise Backstage” workshops are developed in Colorado as educational extensions to “Professor Bodywise’s Traveling Menagerie.”

1989

To help address the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among high school students, “Secrets”is developed in Northern California.

1991

“Nightmare on Puberty St.,” which helps middle school students cope with puberty, depression, and peer pressure, is developed in Northern California.  The program is later adopted in Colorado and includes a community-based model, including workshops and educational follow up.

1993

“Ready Or Not” is developed in Colorado to address the joys and challenges of aging.

1995

The Georgia region launches its ETP department for the first time with “Professor Bodywise’s Traveling Menagerie.”

“Intersections,” addressing communication and suicide prevention, is developed in Southern California.

“CareActors,” an internal communication training component for Kaiser Permanente clinicians, is developed in Southern California.

1996

“RAVES:” an interactive game and show dealing with violence reduction is developed in the Mid-Atlantic region.

1997

“Uncle Gherkins Magical Show,” made specifically for young children attending Camp Magik, a camp in Georgia for children who are grieving over the death of a loved one, is developed in the Georgia region.Fragments: Impressions of Grief, “is later developed for the camp’s older audience.

1998

“PEACE Signs,” a program to encourage peaceful conflict resolution by upper elementary school students and their families, is developed in Northern California.

“Asthma,” which teaches children about the effects of asthma on the human body, is developed in Georgia.

1999

 “Kaiser Kidzone and Physical Activity Challenge” games are created in Georgia.  The series of outdoor activities patterned after Olympic-style competitions encourage families to have fun while being active.  The games undergo many transformations over the years, eventually becoming a template for the game show-styled "What's in that Lunch, Anyway?”

2000

"Acting on Stress" debuts in Georgia.  This is the first Educational Theatre Program designed for adults.  The production focuses on stress reduction and the health complications brought on by stress.

2001

“The R-Files,” a program addressing peer pressure by giving children a way to say no to their friends is developed in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“Mumferd’s Safety Tales,” sharing important life saving tips (such as household and fire safety) is developed in Georgia. The region is including the following topics in 2011: hand washing, pedestrian safety, gun safety, stranger danger.

2002

“Zip’s Great Day,” which teaches children about general health and safety, is developed in Southern California.

2003

“What Would You Do?” is created in Colorado to encourage discussions about a caring school climate, and examines issues such as peer pressure, bullying, stress, respecting differences, and recognizing individual strengths. The workshop, Keys to Personal Power, is later developed as a follow up educational activity.

“Give Peas a Chance" takes root in Georgia.  The production, led by Cris P. Broccoli, employs a colorful crew of puppet characters to tackle obesity prevention in children ages 5-12 by teaching healthy eating and active living messages.

2004

Southern California creates a multi-intervention program, called “PlayHEALS,” designed to promote healthy eating and active play. The program offers participating schools three in-class workshops and a parent event for fourth grade students and their families.

2005

The Ohio Region announces an exclusive partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), the second largest school district in the state, and begins its ETP once again after a short hiatus. The partnership begins with the production of “Secrets.” Rather than using professional actors, high school students from CMSD are the actors in the program. Through this new model, the young actors become knowledgeable and passionate about health issues through the process of rehearsing and performing a production. They are also viewed as health education ambassadors within their schools and communities and are able to competently educate their peers on certain issues.

“Jamie in the World of Red the Reading Pirate,” a program promoting literacy; “Drummin’ Up Peace,” about conflict management, and “Someone Like Me,” which addresses adolescent bullying prevention, are developed in Southern California.

“Teens take it On,” a six-week residency program empowering high school students to become advocates for healthy eating and active living, is developed in Colorado.

Southern California creates the production "The Amazing Food Detective," which focuses on healthy eating and active living.

2006

Northwest region initiates a collaboration with Oregon Children’s Theatre, the state’s leading professional children’s theater to bring the Educational Theatre Program back to the Northwest. The partnership kicks off with the production “What Would You Do?”encouraging discussions about creating a caring school climate, and examining issues such as peer pressure, bullying, stress, and respecting oneself and others.

“The Amazing Food Detective is adapted in Colorado and a new version of the script is developed. The following year a bilingual script is developed for family night events.

“The Best Me,” addressing the escalating problem of childhood obesity and related illnesses and diseases, is developed in Northern California.

“What Would You Do?” which addresses conflict resolution, is developed in the Northwest.

2007

The Hawaii region announces a partnership with Castle High School. Using students as the actors, the partnership begins with performances of “The Amazing Food Detective.” This is the region’s first time back in the educational theatre arena since ending “Dr. Wizardwise in the late1980s.  

“IF,” an original musical performed by students, for students, focusing on concepts of vision, choice, and leadership, is developed in the Northwest.

What Goes Around,” addressing STD prevention, is developed in Southern California.

Northern California launches “Community Troupe” as a full-time troupe, increasing service to community events by over 250% and develops the “Kids Course,” an indoor/outdoor obstacle course that encourages children to be creative and physical active.

Kaiser Permanente launches the "The Incredible Adventures of the Amazing Food Detective," an online game created by Kaiser Permanente health professionals to help teach children about healthy eating and maintaining an active lifestyle. Based on a popular character from Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Program, the Amazing Food Detective takes children through activities that show how to choose the right foods and how to get more active.

2008

“The Pressure Point,” about peer pressure and making decisions, is developed in the Northwest.

“Sitcomm,” (Situational Communications) encouraging healthy family communication is developed in Colorado.

The Mid Atlantic region creates “The Corner Store,” an interactive traveling exhibit where adults and kids can shop for groceries and then discuss their choices with nutritional advisors.

2009

Hawaii announces a partnership with Kapolei High School. Students perform “The Amazing Food Detective” while Castle High School begins performing the “Best Me.”

“MPOWR,” a summer enrichment program aimed at middle school students is created in Southern California to promote self expression and healthy living through the arts. “From the Label to the Table” is created to provide parents with information regarding healthy food choices for their families.

“What Do You See?,” a semester-long high school residency focused on self-image is developed in the Northwest.

Educational Theatre Internship and “Health Team 4,” are developed in Colorado.  Theatre students from Metropolitan State College serve as interns and tour “Health Team 4to elementary schools.

“Choose Your Life,” developed in accordance with a bullying prevention program is developed in Colorado.

“It’s Your Health,” a fast paced interactive educational game for large events and community gatherings, is developed in Colorado to support healthy eating and active living.

“Laugheceuticals - Laughter as Wellness” is developed in Colorado.  The workshop is designed to help adults understand the health benefits of laughter and positive social interaction.

2010

“Healthy Choice Hotline,” a series of seven theatrical, interactive phone calls to help families improve healthy eating and active living habits, is developed in Colorado.

“Texting the Sun,” a touring production about the challenges of navigating our media-saturated reality, is developed in the Northwest.  The program is offered with pre- and post-show workshops.

“Smarty Pants,” an interactive game show centered on the concepts of healthy eating and active living, is developed in the Northwest.

Southern California develops a multi-intervention program to promote literacy, including the production “Jay and E and the ZigZag Sea,” “Bookshare,” an in-class reading activity workshop, and the “World of Words,” a workshop designed to give parents ideas to increase literacy in the home.

The Mid-Atlantic region, which has been presenting “Professor Bodywise’s Traveling Menagerie “since 1986, refurbishes the production with the introduction of eight original songs and other incidental music. 

2011

The Mid-Atlantic region introduces a half-hour musical stage show “Healthy Choices,” with song, dance, and puppetry addressing Healthy Eating Active Living issues.

“1 ½,” a touring production addressing childhood obesity and bullying, is developed in the Northwest.


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