CLINTON — ”Whispers,” a drama troupe from Dubuque, will present the issues of child abuse through poems, verses, scenes, colloquies and statistics in two performances here this weekend.

The free presentations will be given in First Methodist Church, 621 S. Third St., at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.

The drama will be presented by students of Jo Grabow, a guidance counselor in the Dubuque schools. Grabow and her late husband, Chris, wrote the script in 1991 when there was a need for a child abuse presentation at a conference in Dubuque.

When the script was written, Jo posted a sign outside of her office door stating “anyone interested in the issue of child abuse, see me.”

By the end of the day, she had more than 100 applicants who were interested in becoming part of the troupe.

From that group she chose 15 high school students, based on their commitment, not on their desire to perform.

That initial group stayed with the troupe throughout their high school career, performing before audiences in several states as word of their message spread by word of mouth.

“None of the cast members have been victims of abuse,” Jo said, but through the script they convey to the audience the facts and experiences of children who have been abused.

The ever present theme is, if you cannot speak of child abuse, you can whisper.

Invited to attend the free performances are children of middle school age and up, parents, legislators, educators, agency people, law enforcement personnel and community members.

Legislators have been asked to stay after the performances for a discussion.

“Though this performance we are hoping to have more people become aware of what children go through and how it affects them, so we might work together toward prevention of child abuse,” said Shirley Darsidan, spokeswoman for Grandparents and Others United for Positive Changes. For more information, call 243-5978.