Ashe's model is culture-based, coming from the African tradition of using the arts as a developmental tool to stimulate youth from the entry point of the expressions they are already engaged in, such as: dance, drama, music, sports, and storytelling. Ashe uses these expressions to further the mission of meaningful participation and interaction in workshops and performing arts sessions/programmes that combine recreation and skills-building. The Ashe methodology has 3 components:
- The Multi-layered Approach - Ashe sees youth at the focal point of a cascade of concentric circles, with parents, teachers, and community leaders forming the expanding circles around them. What this means is that everybody has the same vision and is sending the same message to the youth. The youth themselves are also involved and are part of the process of the healthy development of their own lifestyles and communities.
- EIC Edutainment Model: E = Excitement. Participants are excited by participation in edutainment musical theatre performances; incentives (to travel and perform); music videos; and, in general, learning through use of culture and the arts. I = Involvement. Participants are involved by being part of the interactive learning sessions, whether during a one-day workshop or over an extended period. The approach is participatory. The involvement process includes: brainstorming; group discussions; role-playing; rap sessions; research; and sporting and performing arts classes. The idea is that the more involved they are, the more clearly they feel the impact of experience and explore their own integrity, principles, and values. Solutions are discovered together. C = Commitment. Commitment takes place when youth are empowered to make choices and decisions and they do so in relation to social issues that are dealt with in the programme (e.g., HIV/AIDS - they choose to abstain, reclaim their virginity, protect themselves, etc.) The youth make commitments not just for personal health and lifestyle but also for their families, the community, the country, and the world.
- Transformational Model - This is based on the image of people moving from the stage of 'caterpillar' to that of a 'butterfly.' It is about letting go of the old way of being and creating a new way that is healthy and beneficial for all. There are 3 basic stages: i) Recognition (participants come to an awareness of their own spiritual values and principles and look at issues of integrity. They also come to align themselves with a higher concept of life and way of being). ii) Die to the Old (participants give up negative stereotypes about themselves and others through forgiveness and other techniques). iii) Be Born Anew (participants fulfill the mandate that Ashe has as its mission - 'to live a life of integrity and fulfillment, doing what they love and loving what they do.'
For example, "Curfew for Schools" is an edutainment theatre production, enhanced by one-on-one discussions, that addresses the rights of young people; their civic responsibilities in the fight against corruption, crime, and violence; and ways to effectively engage them in problem solving techniques and anger management skills. The musical portrays a Jamaican community in a state of siege as a result of a curfew placed to control an eruption of violence. In the face of longstanding social disorder, members of the community struggle to create peace and find balance, using all the means at their disposal.
As part of an effort to empower students in 30 high schools to develop positive alternatives to anger and violence using the performing arts, the company journeyed (January 6-9 2010) to the island of St. Eustatius via St Maarten, all clad in brightly coloured red or blue Ashe/edutainment t-shirts. The 16 member crew, selected from the company comprised of past and present members, brought across key messages through singing, dancing, and acting - stressing to students and parents alike the importance of making safe choices, abstaining, positive parenting, etc.
Specifically, the edutainment package included, first, "Parenting Vibes in a World of Sexuality". Parents came out to see the production, which focuses on using positive parenting tools (communication, discipline, knowledge) instead of negative parenting tools (preaching, mixed messages, corporal punishment). After the production, Ashe's Executive Artistic Director launched a discussion with the parents about what the musical portrayed. Some of the parents even admitted that they were guilty of practicing some of the negative parenting tools. The next show was a back-to-back performance of "Safe Stupid or What!", a talk-show-like musical about making safe reproductive health choices. Ashe performed it twice to an audience of students: both a primary school audience and a group of older students (high school). With the latter group, there was a sense of prevalence of the issues portrayed, so the discussion following the performance was more colourful. "Safe, Stupid or What" formed part of the company's annual Season of Excellence, which opened in October 2010. Then, it was taken to schools as a part of an intervention which also included several follow-up visits and one-on-one sessions with students to discuss the various issues in the musical and to help students use song, dance, and drama to develop and portray messages relevant to them and their peers on the issues of reproductive health and sexuality, with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS.