Applied Theater: EASA ties continue

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Hesitant, timid eyes glance around the room as the applied theater students begin to lead simple exercises and games to break nervous trances.

Every year, the applied theater class led by Professor Jacob Coleman, gives students a chance to lead theater workshops out in the community.

Previously, the applied theater class worked with the Brookdale Forest Grove retirement center, but in the spring of 2013, a new partnership with The Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA) emerged — a program serving young people experiencing various forms of psychosis.

“Sean Roush, a faculty member with Pacific’s Occupational Therapy Master’s program, put me in touch with some staff at EASA and we did a trial workshop,” Coleman said. “The work was fun and full of potential, so we have continued to collaborate.”

Senior Sierra Miller, who took the class last year, said it was a great way to break people out of their shell and gain leadership experience.

“There is ignorance about mental illness,” Miller said. “By talking, interacting and playing games, it helped break down the stigmas of mental illness.”

The class is open to students with various levels of theatrical talent who are interested in applying theater out in the community. There are six sessions that begin in October and go until November.In the workshops they share stores and craft narratives, opening up a space where people can share their perspectives, creativity and their sense of the world.

“Articulating one’s own perspective and experience, and giving others the space to articulate theirs are very important skills, and theatre offers us some tools that make that dialogue possible,” Coleman said.

Sophomore Rachel Warrick is currently taking the class and is excited to get involved with off-stage theater out in the community.

Taking this class is giving me more knowledge as to how applied theatre is so much more than doing plays and reciting lines,” Warrick said. “It is working to make a difference and I hope after this class I have a better understanding for the amazing work art therapy do.”


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