About our Founder, Meade Palidofsky
Meade Palidofsky worked for 36 years to secure a safe, creative space for youth in the justice system to confront their trauma by writing and sharing their stories. She is the genesis of all that the company is today, having built a team of 23 talented teaching artists that now impact over 100 youth each year. Her drive, passion, and determination has created countless community champions for our work and ensured ever-growing opportunities to help youth transform the vision of their future.
As an award-winning entrepreneur with an arts background, Meade’s mission in life has always revolved around telling stories through plays and musicals. She took people’s real-life stories and turned them into a vehicle to build awareness on important social issues. “I wanted to do something artistic that made a difference socially. In 1984, we founded Music Theatre Workshop, hired union actors, and toured the school system in Chicago. We ended up at the Cook County Detention Center at their school system.”
At the time, she was writing a show based on a few juvenile court cases highlighting juvenile violence. She asked the principal if she could interview some of the youth at the center. Ultimately, Palidofsky included six boys from the classroom into the play. Fast forward a week after the play ended, those initial six boys began writing their own play, which Palidofsky guided them through. This experience ignited the idea behind Storycatchers Theatre.
“When I first started, the kids performed their own stories. Then at a certain point, it occurred to me that it was probably a deeper learning experience if you stepped into someone else’s story, and they stepped into yours. Now, through that process, you would see your story, you would write it so you would have that authorship of it, but when it was performed, you could step back and watch it. You would see yourself up there, but you would also see the other people in your life, and you would see how your choices affected the other people in your life much more clearly.”
On September 1, 2021, Meade stepped down from her role as Artistic Director to focus on a legacy film project to highlight the many program alumni who have overcome our dehumanizing system of juvenile justice and built successful lives after incarceration.
Storycatchers Theatre looks forward to taking her award-winning, trauma-informed Methodology and continuing her legacy in creating art that makes real change.
For more, read this Forbes article about Meade’s work. Or follow her on Instagram for fun alumni stories and updates about her upcoming film.