The Healthy Living Initiative
The Applied Theatre Center is a bridge between organizations offering programs which meet the needs of individuals and communities and theatre artists trained in applied theatre and drama therapy. Since 2011, we have created and executed theatre-based programs in the Upstate community aimed at improving the lives of our fellow citizens. The Healthy Living Initiative is an offering of five theatrical programs, all of them interactive, which target issues central to the health and wellbeing of people.
A dramatic message about organ donation
In the fall of 2016 there are more than 121,000 persons in the United States waiting for a life-saving transplant. The number continues to grow. In South Carolina alone more than 900 persons are on the waiting list. It is estimated that over 50 percent of persons who die and would qualify to be a donor never have their organs offered for possible donation.
Unfinished Business is a play that realistically explores issues involved in considering donation including reasons some persons object to it, the motives for becoming a donor, misunderstanding about brain death, withdrawal from life support and family decision-making in the face of emotional trauma due to sudden death.
Ready or Not
Stories about aging – performed by 5 “seasoned” citizens
Ready or Not is a 60 minute live theatre program that uses comedy, music and drama to take a sensitive and humorous look at the joys,fears and challenges of growing older in our society. It is designed for people of all ages, but its aim is to: reduce fear and prejudice about aging by breaking down stereotypes and providing examples of healthy aging.
The structure of this production is modular so that themes can be added or eliminated based on our audience. Some of the themes available: Fall Prevention, Exercise, Grief and Loss, Alzheimer’s, Advanced Directives, Diabetes, Parent/Adult Child Communication,Nutrition, Sexuality. Sensory Impairment, Recreation/Socialization.
Sticks and Bones
Alternatives to violence for young people
Children and adults who have not learned the social skills required to deal with conflict end up responding two ways: fight or flight. Neither of these responses solves the conflict in a way that is satisfactory to those involved.
This multifaceted program uses theater arts to teach a set of skills that are common to most conflict resolution programs. Role play scenarios then offer students the opportunity to practice identifying and resolving conflicts in a constructive manner. Some of the the skills modeled and practiced are: showing respect for self and others, active listening, keeping calm, expressing feelings, identifying problems, setting goals, generating options, looking for consequences, asking for agreement and following through on plans toward solutions.
Sticks and Bones also includes two longer, interactive sociodrama projects: the BLAGG project and the PUMP project. In the BLAGG project the group creates a play from their collective life stories and through interacting with the characters they develop empathy and perspective. In the PUMP project participants learn to deescalate frustration and anger before they result in aggression.
What’s On Your Plate?
Theatre workshops for diabetes education
South Carolina ranks 10th in the nation for people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes – and the numbers continue to grow. 1 in 8 African Americans in SC have a diagnosis. The number of people under 35 diagnosed is also growing. Diabetes is blind to race, gender, and age. Changing eating habits requires motivation and persistence. “What’s that on your plate?” is a series of short and humorous theatrical vignettes that along with proper diabetes education can help to motivate and educate those persons who are struggling to understand and accept this diagnosis.
Looking In / Facing Out
A series of interactive forum plays on hot topics in our community
A dynamic, engaging and theatrical way to get your group thinking, talking and acting out solutions to their very real and pressing challenges. During each Forum presentation, the Playback actors perform 3 to 5 short scenes about characters struggling with issues in their lives or in their communities. Then the audience is invited to participate by offering opinions, perspectives and solutions! Plays and topics include:
- A Will to Survive: Will, a homeless man struggling to get his life together and reunite with his family, fights one challenge after another in his quest to survive on the mean streets of Greenville.
- A Will to Thrive: Another play about Will. He’s turned some corners but is still struggling to overcome the mistakes of his past.
- Oh Snap! Perceptions of Poverty: Jennifer, a single mom on food stamps (SNAP) meets Ty, a successful businessman, in a grocery store line. Opinions are heated until we step back in time to learn more about these two people.
- Nora’s House: Nora, a wife and mother, struggles to find her identity while married to an emotionally abusive husband.
- Choose peace – not conflict: A series of three scenes which present conflict around gender, religious, age and racial discrimination. The characters meet in a university classroom, a real estate office, and outside a McDonalds where a young black man is confronted by a police officer.
- Custom forum plays: We will create an interactive forum play on a topic relevant to the people in your organization or community!