BWW Interview: Nicholas Carlisle and Erik Stangvik Talk BROADWAY AGAINST BULLYING
Globally, bullying is a problem facing many school aged children. According to No Bully, roughly 30% of children are the targets of bullying and cyberbullying. However, according to PACER, 64% of children who are bullied do not report it. With statistics like these, it is a comfort to know that many are looking for ways to curb bullying and make the world a better place for our children. On Monday, February 8, 2016, to celebrate it's expansion to the East Coast, the international anti-bullying organization No Bully will be rocking Feinstein's/54 Below with their fundraising concert Broadway Against Bullying.
You may be wondering where the idea to start an organization like No Bully comes from. "I did a Master's in Psychology and researched the long-term effects of school bullying," says Founder and CEO of No Bully, Nicholas Carlisle. "They are often long-lasting and severe. They are typically very similar to child abuse in the way that some kids are apparently fine, and some kids suffer from anxiety and depression, and it affects their self-value." Naturally, diminished self-worth and lowered self-esteem can lead to suicidal thoughts and even suicide. So, these are the reasons he felt it was imperative to start No Bully.
As an organization, No Bully's mission is simple. "Essentially, our mission is to eradicate bullying in schools, in a non-punitive way, igniting compassion and empathy in all kids," says Erik Stangvik, No Bully's Vice-President of Strategy and Development. "We've been highly successful in that we created a methodology that we've employed across the US. We've reached 170,000 students in various campuses across the country. We're also now in Hong Kong and Europe as well," he elaborates.
So, why is No Bully interested in partnering with Broadway and Broadway talent? "We've talked to many actors, and people involved in Broadway over the years, and I think they have a special understanding of bullying because so often they go through school and are targeted for being different," notes Carlisle. "We get quite a lot of actors approaching us and saying, 'Please, please, we want to do something for you,'" he says. "And that really was the impetus for Broadway Against Bullying."
It is important to note that Monday's concert is not the first Broadway Against Bullying hosted by No Bully. They have had two very successful Broadway Against Bullying cabarets in San Francisco already. "As we begin to build our hub here in New York, we thought, 'Why don't we bring this event here to New York,'" says Stangvik. "We reached out to a friend of ours, Michael J. Moritz Jr, who is producing the show, and said 'What do you think?'" And, as they say, the rest is history.
What exactly can audiences expect from the concert though? "On Monday, February the 8th, quite a few people will not only be performing but also talking about their experiences about being ostracized as they want through school," explains Carlisle. But, it's not going to be a heavy night. "It's a cabaret-style show and just really fun," adds Stangvik.
Basically proving Stangvik's point, the line-up of the show features Lesli Margherita (DAMES AT SEA; MATILDA, THE MUSICAL), Doug Lyons (THE BOOK OF MORMON; BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL), Alysha Umphress (ON THE TOWN; BEACHES), Julia Murney (WICKED; LENNON), Alexander Nifong (ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars; FOX's Glee), Andrea McArdle (2 ACROSS; NEWSICAL, THE MUSICAL), Kevin Duda (THE BOOK OF MORMON; BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL), Milly Shapiro (MATILDA, THE MUSICAL), Abigail Shapiro (DR. SUESS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! THE MUSICAL), Jenna Pasqua (TESS, A ROCK OPERA), Kenton Duty (ABC's Lost; Disney Channel's Shake It Up), and other surprise guests.
In addition to raising funds for the East Coast expansion of No Bully, this concert has other goals. "It's just going to be a really nice evening to, not only create advocacy for No Bully here, but help to spur an opportunity to continue to build our community," says Stangvik. "We are aiming to raise $250,000," adds Carlisle. "That will allow us to bring in trainers, have a full time trainer in New York, and we are aiming to work with New York, Boston, Rhode Island, and Delaware schools. We really want to help those states be true on the promises they made to their legislatures, which is to be bully free," Carlisle explains.
Perhaps the best thing about all of this is that it is doable. These goals are achievable. Especially with the skilled board members No Bully has assembled in New York City for their East Coast expansion. The East Coast board includes Honorary Trustee Silda Wall Spitzer (Principal for New World Capital Group, former First Lady of New York State, Founder of Children for Children), Advisory Board member Alison Cahn (Cartoon Network's VP of Social Responsibility), Advisory Board Member Penny Jackson (award-winning playwright and novelist), Advisory Board Member Michael Wood (Creative Director of Bystander Revolution), Board Member Michelle Shapiro (Senior Director of the Enterprise Mobility program for eBay, Founder of Direction Consultant, Cable Ace Award-winner), and Board Member Bill Thompson (Chairman and CEO of BehaviorMatrix, Co-founder of Innovative Tech Systems, recipient of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award).
For more information about No Bully and their upcoming Broadway Against Bullying concert at Feinstein's/54 Below on Monday, February 8, 2016, please visit https://nobully.org.