The Hippodrome Improvisational Teen Theatre (HITT) has traveled to the Caribbean for the past 12 years through the Florida International Volunteer Corps (FAVACA) and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs International Cultural Exchange programs. In collaboration with artists and educators, the HITT team completes two-week artist residencies where they lead training sessions for teachers and students on the basics of improvisation, the theatrical process, and service-learning in the arts. The students then develop plays that are performed for peers and adults at community centers and schools. The primary goal of the collaboration is to offer participating students and teachers new methods for reaching Caribbean youth through peer education and the arts. HITT has created pilot programs in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Grenada, Jamaica, Aruba, Dominica, and Nevis.
In 1996, because of the reputation and success of HITT’s service-learning component, the Hippodrome was invited by Florida International Volunteer Corp and the Antigua Ministry of Education to travel to Antigua to work with peer counselors and educators in developing a pilot HITT program in the West Indies. The program was highly successful, providing training for 25 peer educators, school counselors and representatives of the Ministry; receiving extensive television coverage; and presenting a performance to over 200 dignitaries, students, teachers and family members. In 1997 and 1998, the Hippodrome was again invited by Florida International Volunteer Corp to lend the HITT program’s expertise in expanding the pilot program in Barbuda, West Indies. In 1999 and Aruba in 2002, the project team was invited to participate in the initiation of the program in St. Lucia, West Indies, Grenada in 2000, Jamaica in 2001, Aruba in 2002, Nevis in 2005-2007, and Dominica in 2008.