SCREAM Theater and SCREAM Athletes

SCREAM (Students Challenging Realities and Educating Against Myths) Theater is an undergraduate theater group at Rutgers University which uses improvisation and skits to educate peers on sexual assault, relationship violence, dating violence, stalking, harassment, and bullying.

SCREAM Athletes is performed and facilitated by student athletes who discuss how attitudes, beliefs, and standards of athletic culture can support rape culture, the unique experience and pressures felt by student athletes, and the potential power athletes can have towards positive social change. The program has also created the video Taking the Lead: SCREAM Athletes Step Up to Prevent Sexual Violence.

Rutgers University Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance
Program Name Level of Evidence Format Target Audience Special Features
SCREAM Theater and SCREAM Athletes
Supported By Evidence
  • In-person Workshop
  • Presentation
  • Online Course
  • Undergraduate students
Custom version is available for student athletes

SCREAM Theater and SCREAM Athletes first present material and concepts through a performance, including an interactive question and answer session, followed by small group discussions with peer educators. Skits can also cover the topics of alcohol, consent, relationship violence, stalking, bullying and harassment. Performances can be customized to address the needs of a community and/or organization. The SCREAM Athletes video, Taking The Lead: SCREAM Athletes Step Up to Prevent Sexual Violence, can be shown instead of a live performance and without a debriefing session.


Participants experience a single event including a performance by SCREAM Theater or SCREAM Athletes combined with a debriefing session. SCREAM Theater Facilitators go through six training sessions in preparation for leading discussions after the performance.


A SCREAM Theater or SCREAM Athletes performance is a form of Peer Education Theater and followed by a peer facilitated debriefing session by the student actors. Bystander Intervention is emphasized as a form of primary prevention in both programs.

SCREAM Theater: A SCREAM Theater program including a performance, Q&A session, and facilitated discussion runs 75 minutes. All programs include “an introduction to sexual assault, a performance, an in-character question and answer portion with the audience where they are able to ask the characters that they watched in the skit any questions that they have. Then the actors come out of character and give background to the motivation behind their role (in a sexual assault skit we have eight characters representing not only the victim and perpetrator but many of the friends- inactive bystander, facilitator, confronting friend, victim blaming friend, pushy friend and supportive friend).” (SCREAM)

SCREAM Athletes and Video: A SCREAM Athletes program runs 60-75 minutes and follows a similar format to SCREAM Theater while focusing on the intersections between rape and sports culture as well as the unique role athletes can play in sexual violence prevention.

"The SCREAM Athletes video titled Taking the Lead: SCREAM Athletes Step Up to Prevent Sexual Violence is a thirty minute long video that includes a complete SCREAM Athletes sexual assault performance, introductions by student athletes, a discussion afterwards with the actors and commentary by Ruth Anne Koenick, creator of the program as well as director of the Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance, and various coaches at Rutgers University about the importance of working with the athletic community to stand up against violence. The DVD comes with a facilitation guide that will walk any coach or administrator through how to facilitate a discussion around the video as well as helpful guidelines about who to include in the program (such as local sexual assault advocacy programs and counselors)." (SCREAM)


Population Served

General College student body, athletes, high school students

Theoretical Basis For Approach

SCREAM Theater and SCREAM Athletes use peer education models to communicate a bystander intervention approach to violence prevention.

Program Effectiveness

A study by McMahon, Postmus, Warrener, and Koenick (2014) found SCREAM Theater to have significant effects on participants’ rates of rape myth acceptance and bystander attitudes. Researchers plan to continue analysis with longitudinal studies to track the effectiveness of the program over time. SCREAM Athletes has not undergone peer evaluated analysis but is based on the SCREAM Theater Model discussed above.


SCREAM has worked with hundreds of high schools, middle schools and colleges in New Jersey, the tri-state area and beyond.


SCREAM Theater is a creative and interactive approach to education and violence prevention using Peer Education Theater. Another strength of this program is the multi-tiered approach incorporating debriefing sessions in which participants can interact with the topics in a smaller setting after observing the performance as part of a large group. SCREAM Athletes acknowledges the unique experiences and potential leadership roles of student athletes on campus and uses athletes themselves as peer educators. Teams may be more receptive to the messages of the program when their existing leaders are the presenters.

Although SCREAM Theater has been shown to have a positive impact on participants’ rates of rape myth acceptance and bystander attitudes, it is still a one dose program and as such may be best suited for orientation programming or as part of an ongoing curriculum. SCREAM also offers a multi-dose primary prevention program called SCREAMing to Prevent Violence (STPV) which is has undergone a longitudinal study by the CDC expected to be released 2014. "STPV consists of four doses of programming that focus on the role of the bystander. This program can also be implemented in other high schools and colleges and includes a DVD for the second session (with accompanying facilitation guide) that allows the audience to choose what the bystander could have done differently. Dose three and four are designed to have the students practice their own interventions as this has been a proven method to increase the likelihood of future intervention. As of right now, SCREAMing to Prevent Violence does require all facilitators to go through a train the trainer program." (SCREAM)


The current pricing for SCREAM Theater/SCREAM Athletes program is as follows:

  • Live Performance:
    • In-person: We perform live, at a location arranged through the contracting institution. This option lasts about 60-75 minutes. Price is $1000 plus the cost of performers $480 totaling $1480, as well as transportation and food expenses.
    • Virtual: We perform live via Zoom, utilizing polls and chats for interactivity throughout. This option lasts about 60-75 minutes. Price is $750 plus the cost of performers $480 totaling $1230.
  • Use of the 2021 Recorded Skit
    • Asynchronous: We share the video skit with the contracted individual, and the video link is only good for one viewing. Multiple views cost additional fees. This option lasts about 50-60 minutes. Price is $550.

A sliding scale is available for non profit organizations. The SCREAM Athletes Step Up To Prevent Sexual Violence video w/ facilitator guide costs $250. To request a SCREAM Theater of SCREAM Athletes performance the interested party would email and cc