GBH2Red Bank Regional Visual and Performing Arts Academy graduate Ashley Marinaccio (left) looks on as RBR junior and creative writing major Mya Nunnelly performs her own poetry, during a recent appearance by Ms. Marinaccio’s non-profit, all-female theater collective Girl Be Heard.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Back in 2012, Ashley Marinaccio, a 2003 graduate of Red Bank Regional High School, returned to her alma mater for a special performance with Girl Be Heard, the non-profit, all-female theater collective that she co-founded in 2008. Last month, Ashley and her NYC-based troupe made an encore appearance at RBR, by popular demand. The Source, RBR’s School-Based Youth Services Program, sponsored the theatrical group’s performance.

Girl Be Heard (GBH) has played everywhere from prisons to the White House; China to Off-Broadway. The group’s website describes its mission as, “(Using) theatre as a vehicle to empower young women to become brave, confident, socially conscience leaders, while they explore their own challenging circumstances.”

The group has tackled issues both domestic and global — including sex trafficking and the treatment of girls in the Congo — and was invited to the White House by Michelle Obama to bring awareness to these issues on the eve of her trip to South Africa. Over 100 female performers now comprise the collective. Ms. Marinaccio brought along four members for this program, which covered such issues as relationships, sexual identity, stereotyping, bullying, mental health concerns and suicide.

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