"Working with others is essential because one can only grow as a person
when one learns to communicate."

"You have taught me that in life everyone at times will need someone’s help.
I will not be embarrassed to ask for it. For that I am grateful."

"I’ve learned how preparation is crucial because it helps you be more responsible."

"I’ve learned more things that I should do to prepare myself for an interview."

"The most useful aspect was learning how to speak up in life, how to ask for help."


What happens when we rely on habits, perceptions and assumptions without knowing the facts? 

The human experience has become very complex in this fast-paced, globalized environment; however, there are skills that can help us navigate the challenges and attain positive growth and progress. CAP directly focuses on common obstacles to achieving our greatest potential and raises the tough questions to encourage participants to develop positive solutions.

Through drama and interactive strategies, CAP captures a panoramic view of our society and zooms in on specific issues and behaviors that create challenging issues in our lives. These workshops provide a safe environment where, through a co-intentional process, students carefully examine the choices, decisions and consequences of everyday challenges; raising awareness, discovering solutions and promoting problem solving, decision-making, critical thinking and self-advocacy skills to build the confidence for every participant in achieving desired outcomes.


Current & Recent Partners include:





Also available: Professional Development, Master of Arts in Applied Theatre

Theatre Arts Players (TAP) at H.S.C.T.E.A.

High School of Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture - THEATER ARTS PLAYERS

Since 2011, the Theatre Arts Players (TAP) program has been providing students of HSCTEA with the opportunity to learn the art of theater, develop individual strengths, acquire collaboration skills and create their own production. The group meets once a week to focus on theater arts—acting technique, improvisation, devising, ensemble work, rehearsal—and culminates with an original play created by the students and directed by Keith Johnston.

CTEA-TAP's 2014 cast

CTEA-TAP onstage, 2014

CTEA-TAP Alumni came back to support current students


Hear what our participants and partners are saying...

Program leaders at a partner social services agency reported that young single mothers’ critical thinking, decision making, job preparation, communication, and conflict resolution skills, and their sense of personal responsibility, improved after CAT’s Supporting Success workshops.

Teachers at Rikers Island reported improved student interpersonal, communication, anger management, and listening skills after CAT’s Supporting Success workshops.

CUNY faculty members reported improved student communication, critical thinking, and listening skills after CAT’s Success by Degrees workshops.

“You have taught me that in life everyone at times will need someone’s help.  I will not be embarrassed to ask for it.  For that I am grateful.”
- Student, College of Staten Island

“I loved that the students saw a familiar situation that they could easily relate to and were pushed to view it from a different perspective.”
- Faculty, Borough of Manhattan Community College

“I wish this particular workshop could become a required experience for every CUNY faculty, staff, student, administrator, so we in CUNY could become the catalyst for such discussion citywide, and nation-wide.”
- Professor, College of Staten Island

“The CAT CAP Team is so engaging, informative, and worthwhile. Their work provides a powerful connection with high school and college students. Addressed crucial issues related to students' obstacles in pursuing goals.”
-CUNY SUD All Staff Day Workshop Attendee

Current workshops include:

College Prep - College Readiness
How does a high school student choose a college? A major? Find financial aid? How do they apply? Have they thought about their budget? Their future career? Through skill-building activities and interactive drama strategies, CAT will help students explore the answers to these questions and demystify the college experience.

Rising Above it - Health and Wellness
(Questioning social ethics, values, morale and civility)
Where are we going and how are we coping in a society overwhelmed with poverty, mental illness, police brutality, disease, apathy, radical individualism, climate change, and more? How do we negotiate communication outlets like World Star and other mass social media? Join CAT in this interactive workshop as we explore ways to positively develop a sense of self; deepen our connections to the community and the world; and find strategies to ensure our well-being in an ever-changing environment.

Cyber world - Health and Wellness
Technology has changed the way we live, think and socialize. Mass media has globalized our society, presenting several challenges that may threaten our humanity: screen addiction, identity theft, cyber-bullying, and a widening generation gap, among other issues. Join CAT as we examine the pros and cons of a cyber-generation and explore how to effectively cope with and resolve the issues and circumstances we face in cyber world.

College Knowledge - College Retention -Academic Success -College Success
How does a student develop a productive academic identity? The opportunity for higher education is everywhere, yet many have not taken advantage of available resources. CAT’s interactive workshop will help demystify the challenges of gaining access to and succeeding in higher education.

The Money Game - Financial Literacy
Wealth, debt, credit, poverty, investment, income... What are the keys to successful financial management? Through skill-building activities and interactive strategies, CAT will engage participants in an exploration of pathways to financial freedom.

Combat Culture - Violence Prevention/Conflict Resolution
The inability to cope with war, gun violence, hate crimes and injustice has triggered attitudes and behaviors that have additional negative effects on our society. This workshop will examine the origins and consequences of a volatile climate, building problem-solving skills to help participants prevent adverse consequences in their own lives.

Occupation destination - Workforce Readiness
What does it take to be successful and feel fulfilled in the workplace? When it comes to understanding our life’s purpose and how to make a living, many of us don’t know where to begin. CAT’s interactive session will explore the issues that prevent workforce readiness and discover solutions that lead to a rewarding career.

Parenting in the 21st century (option of 1-2 part workshop/s)
Parenting in the new millennium has presented challenges that former generations have never had to face.  This interactive workshop addresses many common obstacles to successful parenting, and explores positive, effective strategies to address challenges such as violence, peer pressure, the generation gap, technology, risky behavior, and academic success.

Interested in learning more or booking a workshop?
Email Keith Johnston, CAP Director.

Keith Johnston
Program Director
Keith Johnston is the Director of the College/Adult Program and co-founder of CAT’s Parent Team with Linda Carroll Pierce in 1995. Mr. Johnston oversees several projects that provide interactive learning experiences on independent living skills, conflict resolution and diversity, college and workplace readiness, financial literacy, and parenting. His constituencies range from students and teachers in the CUNY Black Male Initiative, incarcerated youth, Correctional Officers on Rikers Island, Fatherhood Academy, High schools and families in transitional living. Keith is also the founder and director of CTEA TAP, an after-school youth theater program at High School of Construction Trades, Architecture and Engineering.  He has developed, directed, and led workshops in many other settings including NYC public schools, CUNY campuses, New York University, Seeds of Peace, professional developments, corporate trainings, and many conferences. He wrote, directed, and co-produced Thriving Teens, a film series on parenting pre-adolescent children for the NYU Child Study Center, and devised and implemented workshops and lectures addressing HIV/AIDS, parenting and violence in South Africa's Townships, colleges and universities.

Keith has a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities (creative writing/acting) from New York University where he received his Founders Day Award (Honors scholar, Deans list, 3X Shimkin Scholar), Associates degree in Fine Arts from Kingsborough Community College and has studied at the School of Visual Arts, Henry Street Settlement, Brown University, Jazzmobile, HB Studio, and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. As an actor, director, minister and musician, Mr. Johnston has enjoyed a long professional career in theater, film, television, music and radio. He is co-founder of Back-A-Yard theatre, freelance director/writer/producer at BET and Artistic Director of the American Theatre of Harlem. He joined CAT in 1992.

Priscilla Flores
Senior Actor-Teacher

Priscilla Flores, a native New Yorker, currently participates in creating and delivering CAT programs for college students, incarcerated adolescents at Rikers Island, and parents and families in social service agencies and shelters.  She began her journey at CAT as a Scheduling Assistant, became Scheduling Coordinator, and then served for two years as both an Afterschool Actor-Teacher and a Program Manager, supporting the High School and College/Adult Programs.  Ms. Flores has performed Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway, in productions at Theatre for the New City (The Fake History of George the Last, Brunch at the Luthers, Bread and Puppet Theatre’s Divine Reality Comedy); Bronx Hispanic Festival (Tomando Café), NYC Fringe Festival (Evangeline); and others.  She joined CAT in 2004.

Eric Aviles
A Chicago, IL native, Eric has over fifteen years of experience working as a teaching artist across the country. He is also a writer, activist and accomplished actor. Most recently he performed in the remounting of Marias’ Circular Dance at the historically National Latino ENCUENTRO Theatre Festival in Los Angeles Theatre Center.  In 2014, he was in World's Fair Play Festival at Queens Theatre then on I Like to Be Here with Theatre 167.  Earlier that year Eric was in two world premieres’ Trash and Marias’ Circular Dance at Borderlands Theatre in Tucson, Arizona. In NYC, he’s performed in original works; Dance for a Dollar at INTAR, and The Golden Drum Year with Radical Evolution.  Other regional theater credits include Magic Theatre, Steppenwolf, Teatro Vista, Goodman, El Teatro Campesino. To find out more about his work you can visit http://www.ericaviles.com. This is Eric’s second year with CAT’s College/Adult Program.

Eboni Witcher
Eboni has been a member of the CAP team for the last two years.  A native of Atlanta, GA, she also works as a professional actor, on both stage and screen.

Temesgen Tocruray
Actor-Teacher, College/ Adult Program & Adolescent Literacy After-School

Temesgen has been a teaching artist on the CAP team for the past four years. He has used the power of theatre to empower young people and adults in NYC schools, community centers, Rikers Island, CUNY colleges, as well as other national and international venues.   Originally from Texas, Temesgen also works as a professional actor.

Denise Hughes
M.A. Apprentice

A native Brooklynite, Denise is currently a MA candidate at the CUNY School of Professional Studies Applied Theatre Program. She is honored to be the inaugural recipient of the CAT/ Applied Theatre Apprenticeship which is providing her with the opportunity to combine the pedagogy from her classes with the practical application in classrooms and communities through the CAP program.


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