Getting high school students to pay attention to anything can be a challenge. But at a recent show put on by the UCLA Sex Squad, a performance troupe of college students from the University of California, Los Angeles, the audience of ninth-graders was interacting, reacting, and laughing—and amazingly, no one was busy texting.
Masturbation, orgasms, and loving your body aren’t typical topics of a high school assembly, but the Sex Squad tackles all these issues and more in their hilarious and innovative performances, which will soon reach high school students around the nation. A project of UCLA’s Art and Global Health Center, the Sex Squad was conceived in 2008 by David Gere, a UCLA arts and culture professor and the founder and director of the AGHC, and brother of actor Richard Gere.
“The first time we realized the possible power of using a performance by college students for high school students was when the Art and Global Health Center developed a project called Make Art Stop AIDS at [UCLA’s] Fowler Museum,” Gere told HIV Plus before a recent Sex Squad presentation. “As soon as we began working on that exhibition, we thought of ways to involve high school students.”