Girl-Empowerment Projects

SLUT: The Play 2016

 For show dates, tickets & info visit


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Written by Katie Cappiello

Developed in collaboration with The Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Co.

Directed by Katie Cappiello & Meg McInerney

Featuring the award-winning teen actors of The Arts Effect


She wanted it.  Did she say “No”?  She was drunk and out of control.  She deserved it– did you see what she was wearing?  The guys wouldn’t need to force her.  Why did she have condoms in her bag?  She prides herself on being a slut.  
One Friday night, 16-year-old Joey Del Marco parties with three of her best guy friends…and her world comes tumbling down.  In a culture where silence, judgement, and slut shaming allow sexual violence to thrive, will Joey find support and justice?  When past choices and actions are used against her, will her voice be heard?  How will one night forever change not just Joey, but her whole community?


“Katie Cappiello’s powerhouse script examines the double standard that celebrates sexual activity by boys but denigrates it for girls. The girls’ realistic dialogue makes the audience feel as though it were sitting in the gym locker room, overhearing painfully intimate conversations… Insightful look at the sensitive issues of rape and cyberbullying with heartfelt performances from the impressive all-female cast. ” – Time Out New York

SLUT is truthful, raw and immediate. See this play and witness what American young women live with everyday.” – Gloria Steinem

SLUT pulses with the fierce voices of the girls who created it. This is an exceptional play that looks you straight in the eye and tells you what it means to grow up female and sexual in a world marked by double standards and violence. It sparkles with insight and scenes of heartbreaking truth that you won’t see anywhere else. Slut should be required reading for every educator, parent and girl.” – Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl. 

“Engrossing drama” – New York Magazine

“Leading the charge to end slut shaming for got!” – Teen Vogue

Help students see this play for FREE.


SLUT THE PLAY GOES NATIONAL from Evenstar Films on Vimeo.

A Day in the Life

EXCITING NEWS! The cast and creators of A DAY IN THE LIFE are honored to be named some of New York’s New Abolitionists. We are proud to fight alongside this inspiring team of activists and survivors.

See us on NY1 [Here]

Written by Katie Cappiello and featuring the young actors/activists of The Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company, A Day in the Life, reveals the truth about sex-trafficking and the impact of “pimp and ho” culture on lives of girls. Journey into lives of five teens whose paths have been forever changed by commercial sexual exploitation: Nadia attends her school’s annual Pimps and Hoes party, Eve’s father is arrested for solicitation, Kaitlyn’s cousin has been on the streets for 4 years with no support from family, Desiree prepares to celebrate her Sweet 16 after finally escaping her pimp, and Sonia is bounced from foster home to foster home as she fights keep her head above water. These powerful stories, inspired by the real experiences of real girls, will give audiences an authentic look at the complex, often misunderstood reality of domestic sex trafficking and the ways it touches us all.

“Striking. One of the most powerful and touching events during the United Nations’ 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.” – Lisa Anderson, Thompson Reuters,

Click here to read full article.

Directed by: Katie Cappiello & Meg McInerney

Featuring Brittany Adebumola, Maya Blake, Winnifred Bonjean-Alpart, Danielle Cohen, Willa Cuthrell, Vikki Eugenis, Samia Finnerty, Clare Frucht, Odley Jean, Ruby Krakower, Mira Maxwell, Mary Miller, Nia Nation, Eliza Price, Casey Odesser, Mandia Samira, Darci Siegel, Danielle Stefania, and Alice Stewart.

projectimpactCLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT PROJECT IMPACT – a leadership-through-storytelling workshop for teen trafficking survivors developed by The Arts Effect and Lauren Hersh.


A Day In The LIfe featured at the Make Equality Reality Gala in Los Angeles, CA.

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A Day in the Life
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
The Paley Center for Media
6:15pm Performance
Followed by a panel discussion with Gloria Steinem, Abigail Disney, and Lynn Nottage
7:30pm Performance.
Contact Katie Cappiello for ticketing inquiries:

Stay up-to-date on performances: Click here to follow us on Facebook


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The Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company is proud to partner with McCann, Equality Now, NOW-NYC, and The New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition on the NOT SO SUPER campaign.  Sex trafficking is big business during big events…like the Super Bowl.  The girls of the world deserve a stronger defensive line – JOIN THE TEAM and take a stand against the commercial sex industry!

Check out our girls in action! Starring the campaign ads and getting the word out!

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For more information contact

Project IMPACT

Katie Cappiello & Meg McInerney with the Equality Now team lobbying in Albany for the Trafficking Victims Justice and Protection Act.

Katie Cappiello & Meg McInerney with the Equality Now team lobbying in Albany for the Trafficking Victims Justice and Protection Act.

Project IMPACT is an 8-week leadership-through-storytelling workshop for teen survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. The goal of Project IMPACT is to introduce survivors to the idea  that sharing their stories is a powerful advocacy tool that can impact the legislative process and work to combat sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Project IMPACT also strives to help survivors understand that survivor storytelling is a choice- and the survivor gets to select if, when and how she wants to share her story. Project IMPACT’s pilot program featured guest speakers Amy Paulin, Assembly Sponsor or the New York Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act, and a television news correspondent. The program culminated in a trip to Albany where the survivors lobbied legislatures for the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act. This program has been funded by the New York Women’s Foundation and done in partnership with Equality Now, The Arts Effect, JCCA and the New York Anti Trafficking Coalition.  

Learn more about our collaborations with EQUALITY NOW! – CLICK HERE.

See Project IMPACT featured in this month’s Survivor Stories Series – CLICK HERE.

Meeting Ruth, Janelle, Lowyal, and Veronica of Gateways, a JCCA residential facility for commercially sexuality exploited youth, was in many ways like meeting any group of teen girls weʼve worked with over the years across the globe. Theyʼre girls – girls youʼd maybe see on the subway, waiting in line for a movie, or sitting in your classroom – young, ever-observant, headphones in, quick with a half-smile or an eye-roll. Girls who listen to Alicia Keys, gush about their nieces and nephews, and dream of go to college or opening beauty salons. Girls, who like most teenage girls, are skeptical when you inquire about their lives, feelings, ideas, and opinions: “Why are you really here?” “Why are you interested in us?” “You actually want to hear about us?” “You want us to tell our stories?” “But…why?”

 What sets these bright, impassioned girls apart is that, like countless other children in NYS, they have experienced horrors in their young lives that most of us donʼt see in our worst nightmares. They are girls who deserve to be heard – bold survivors with the knowledge and power to be change agents.

In March of this year, The Arts Effect NYC came together with Equality NOW, NYSATC, and the inspiring team at Gateways, to develop and implement Project IMPACT, an 8-week leadership-through storytelling workshop for teen trafficking survivors. The goal was to offer a safe space and the creative tools for the girls of Gateways to come together as a community, openly discuss their rights and the current state of anti-trafficking legislation, and most importantly, discover the power and freedom that comes with telling their stories.

“I think telling my story matters because it could help other girls like me.” “I guess storytelling is important because I lived this – Iʼm the one who knows what itʼs really like.” “Because every person and every story is different and I think they all deserve to be listened to.”

Through poetry, music-writing, monologue creation, and visual arts, the girls revealed their truths – the painful reality of family strife, substance abuse, entry into the life, betrayal by the criminal justice system, brutal violence suffered at the hands of pimps and buyers, AND ALSO the details of their courageous efforts to fight back, break free, and strive for a vibrant future.

Over the past 3 months, as they pieced their personal survivor stories together, the girls have learned that they are the teachers, they are the experts – that we all need to LISTEN and learn from them. On May 21st, the project impact team had the distinct honor of accompanying the girls to Albany to lobby for the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act.  Listening to them speak, watching these brave teens command a room of lawmakers, it was clear they refuse to let their experiences in the life define them – instead, theyʼre choosing to own their experiences and serve as gaming-changing advocates. It is their powerful voices that will lead the charge toward a safer, more just world.


The Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company was founded in 2007 by Katie Cappiello & Meg McInerney as a nurturing, empowering space for ensembles of girls ages 9-18 to come together and artistically explore their world.  Through a unique combination of intensive acting training, creative writing, debate and discussion, mentorship, and public service, members of The Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company become change agents – utilizing the power of the theater arts to share their voices, challenge their communities, and inspire their peers.  The Arts Effect is dedicated to the development of girl-driven original plays, girl-focused community events, and girl-empowering in-school workshops throughout the United Sates, all designed to raise awareness and spark open and honest communication about the challenges girls face worldwide – from the over-sexualization of girls in culture to sex trafficking; from the intense presence of social media in girls’ lives to reproductive rights/girls’ health.

To date, The Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company has reached thousands of girls in NYC and beyond, most notably through the touring of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning plays KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN (“The Arts Effect Girls are so funny, so touching, and so REAL!  Awesome to see such amazing acting and writing on stage!” –Amy Poehler), FACEBOOK ME (“Smart, daring, refreshingly honest – Facebook Me is a necessary and powerful play!” –Gloria Steinem), and SLUT (“Riveting, moving and courageous.” –Kathy Najimy), along with its OPERATION: GIRL POWER in-school workshops, and FIND YOUR VOICE! fundraising events in support of organizations such as V-Day, Girls, Inc., and FAIRGirls.

This past year, Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company expanded its reach, working with girls throughout the midwestern United States and also, across the globe as far as in Indonesia, and also designing and implemented a leadership-through-storytelling workshop for commercially sexually exploited youth.

Artistic Director, Katie Cappiello and Managing Director, Meg McInerney are graduates of NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts where they studied a combination of Drama, Women’s Studies, and Applied Theater.  They were recently honored by The National Women’s Hall of Fame and The United States Congress for their dedicated, cutting-edge work empowering young girls. 

Facebook Me

**An official selection of the 2011 NY International Fringe Festival!**

A shockingly real look into the lives of 10 girls as they navigate their teens years in the age of Facebook. It’s 10:00pm. Do you know WHO your daughter is?

“facebook me is a smart, daring, and refreshingly honest testimonial of what it means to be a girl growing up in today’s technology saturated culture. To witness these girls exploring the universal truths of their generation is an incredible gift and I encourage anyone and everyone to see this necessary and powerful play.”


Arts Effect Girl Power Projects are community building initiatives designed to provide girls ages 9-14 and their families with the tools, skills, and supportive space to make their voices heard.

Girl Power Community Event(s) feature FREE expert-lead panels, creative arts/new media workshops, & exciting, award-winning LIVE performances!

The Arts Effect invites girl-focused brands and organizations to join us in celebrating GIRLS by sponsoring and co-hosting a variety of Girl Power projects.

OGP Launch!


The Arts Effect All-Girl Ensemble redefined what it means to be fashionable.  Real girls took Fall’s hottest runway by storm and performed original scenes and monologues about what it means to be bold, smart, powerful, and strong!

Find Your Voice!

Find Your Voice! is an annual youth arts fundraising project designed to challenge and inspire 9-14 year-old girls to courageously FIND and FREE their voices, while uniting as a powerful community to spread greater awareness of and compassion for the challenges facing girls and women around the globe. Each year FIND YOUR VOICE will offer performances and community activities for tween/teen girls, their families, and friends in hopes of encouraging girls to honor their history, celebrate their minds and bodies, and support the education and empowerment of girls worldwide.

The Girl Gazette

Inspired by a dusty, rusty, antique typewriter and a desire to make their voices heard, a scrappy crew of girl-power girls creates a newspaper that takes elementary school hallways by storm! The Girl Gazette tackles the most hard-hitting news in girl world: peer pressure, cyberbullying, body image issues, growing pains, media madness, gym teacher troubles, mean girl fever, and more! Join the smart, spunky, funky staff of The GG for an exciting, super fun, unexpected journey into totally TRUE stories about REAL girls as the team scrambles to meet their latest deadline!

DOWNLOAD the Girl Gazette HERE!

Keep Your Eyes Open

**Winner of the 2008 NY International Fringe Festival Most Outstanding Ensemble Award!**

Keep Your Eyes Open, the first play created/performed by children to be selected for FringeNYC 2008 and THE BEST OF FRINGE MOST OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE AWARD WINNER, takes viewers on an unexpected journey inside the world of the girls of Westbrook Middle School! The tricky and trying realities faced by our daughters, sisters, and friends are humorously examined through the eyes of Winnifred, a precocious 12-year-old (½ Ramona Quimby, ½ Juno MacGuff) armed with a video camera and a laptop. Determined to move the masses, Winnie creates her very own reality web-series called Winnifred’s Words of Wisdom. With help from her classmates, The Westbrook Wildcat Dance Team, the music of Gwen Stefani, Fergie, and Soulja Boy, and inspired by her hope for a better world, Winnifred reveals life beyond Disney Channel and Juicy Couture and captures real stories about real girls!

Keep Your Eyes Open was created by The Arts Effect
Written by Katie Cappiello
Directed by Katie Cappiello and Meg McInerney

What is “Operation: Girl Power!”?

Operation: Girl Power! is a girl-focused, girl-supporting, girl-friendly movement to inspire, motivate, and unite iGeneration girls through creative arts based in-school workshops and empowering community-building events.
It is the goal of Operation: Girl Power! to introduce the girls of NYC and beyond to healthfully and respectfully recognize, maintain, and cultivate her own power, sense of self, voice, and character while out and about in today’s world!


What the Experts Think?

“We have witnessed dozens of powerful, girl-focused programs, but The Arts Effect theater program surpasses them all. Meg and Katie’s connection with the girls is genuine and exciting; their ability to get at what affects girls’ lives right now is uncanny and inspiring. Through theater and community, the girls move past vulnerability, anger, and silence, into empowerment, friendship, and voice. The Arts Effect might just be the antidote to the “mean girl.”

Co-authors of Manifesta & Grassroots, co-owners of Soapbox, Inc.

Why Operation: Girl Power!?

Operation: Girl Power! has been developed to serve the growing need for a safe space and reflective outlet within the girl community. Girls today face overwhelming cultural, social, even familialpressures. While striving to meet the high expectations of being “good”, smart, pretty, well-liked, and popular, girls commonly experience an ocean of complex emotions including stress, insecurity, self-doubt, frustration, anger, and panic—all feelings associated with “disempowerment”. This sense of disempowerment or loss of control is rarely communicated; instead, it is often suppressed by girls. Without the space, guidance, and tools to healthfully process the pressures of their world, girls misdirect and channel bottled-up emotions into aggressive behavior that can be hurtful, at times destructive, to fellow girls and/or the girls themselves.

Operation: Girl Power! will empower the girl community by providing girls with creative opportunities—in school and out!—to speak openly, be heard, be respected, and (re)connect with themselves and one another. The events and workshops offered as part of Operation: Girl Power! promote honest, thoughtful, and necessary communication and exploration using a variety of fun, effective, girl-friendly tools including:

  • Theater: An artistic outlet that offers a safe “stage” to play/act out relationships, situations, conflicts, motivations, and needs as characters. Role playing and scene building allows girls to recreate and analyze behavior, choices, strategies, tactics, and outcomes.
  • Creative Writing: A reflective, creative process that encourages girls to put their experiences into words, to articulate their feelings on paper, and transfer emotions from the inside to the outside in the form of scenes, monologues, poems, articles, testimonials, and short stories.
  • Social Networking: We like to think of it as “Girls, Unplugged”.  Girls coming together for some old-school, face-to-face conversation, status updates, comments, profile sharing, and community building.
  • Mentoring: Everyone needs a big sister. Girls will have the opportunity to talk openly and honestly with supportive and inspiring teen and adult mentors. Exchanging thoughts, feeling, ideas, and challenges with someone in addition to parents/family members can often be therapeutic for young girls.

In Girls’ Words:

Girl Power is about standing up for the girls of the world. It means being yourself and speaking your mind honestly, but still respecting your friends.”

-Celia Babini, Operation: Girl Power! Participant, 3rd Grade, LREI

Girl Power is about standing up for yourself and expressing yourself. It’s about having the ability and the strength to share what you think and what you believe in.”

-Elyssa Rivera, Operation: Girl Power! Participant, 6th Grade, PPAS

In-School Workshops

Our In-School Workshops offer a unique opportunity to reach the girl community within individual public and private elementary/middle schools. The Arts Effect will work closely with administrations, PTA members, and teaching staff to develop an OPERATION: GIRL POWER! program that best serves the specific needs of each school and community.

Currently, Operation Girl Power In-School Workshops are serving the girls of P.S. 41, The Abraham Joshua Heschel School, and The Rebecca School in NYC.

DOWNLOAD our Digital Brochure Here!

CHECK OUT the P.S. 41 NYC Girl Gazette Here!