Applied Theatre At Lee University

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - by Madeline Watson, Lee University
Lee students, from left, Velocity Moore, LaDarrion Williams, Meredith Kim, Kate Bosch, Victoria Icenogle, Evalyn Baron participate in "Columbian Hypnosis," a Theatre of the Oppressed exercise from Agusto Boal.
Lee students, from left, Velocity Moore, LaDarrion Williams, Meredith Kim, Kate Bosch, Victoria Icenogle, Evalyn Baron participate in "Columbian Hypnosis," a Theatre of the Oppressed exercise from Agusto Boal.

Along with the ongoing construction of the new communications building at Lee University, exciting developments are taking place within the department. The theatre program, in particular, has begun to expand to include a new form of theatre, known as “applied theatre,” giving students the opportunity to use the art of theatre offstage and outside of the classroom.  

"Lee Theatre has seen increasing demand for the use of our students' talents in fields other than theatre,” said Assistant Professor of Theatre Dan Buck.

This fall, Lee offered a new special topics course in applied theatre, giving students a chance to explore ways in which they can apply theatre to other areas of life. 

The course description defines applied theatre as “theatrical practices that are based in traditional theatrical pedagogy but are used in non-traditional settings and modes in order to serve communities and individuals.”

Tenika Dye, adjunct professor at Lee, is teaching the course. Ms. Dye also works at the Salvation Army in Chattanooga in the Recreate Café Arts Program, where she ministers to the community through theatre workshops and productions.

“We are excited for students to see that a theatre degree is very valuable, and that there are other ways they can use their theatre training that they’ve maybe never thought of before,” said Ms. Dye.

Within the Lee community, students have been involved in applied theatre with the counseling program where they attend weekly counseling sessions to portray the kinds of people and situations that may be encountered in therapy. 

“The theatre students are our pretend clients, and they are given scenarios to act out for us,” said Kirstee Williams, assistant professor of psychology at Lee. “This allows our graduate students in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program who are doing therapy for the first time to practice before they see actual cases.” 

Allison Wilson, a senior accounting and theatre double major at Lee, has worked with Lee’s counseling program as an actor since her sophomore year. She first became interested in applied theatre when she visited the Recreate Café at the Salvation Army and participated in one of Ms. Dye’s theatre workshops.

“What was so beautiful about the experience was that it completely blurred social lines and we were able to explore issues that we all shared,” said Ms. Wilson.

Through her experience acting for Lee’s MFTP, Ms. Wilson said that she has come to a greater appreciation of theatre, as well as a deeper belief in counseling and an understanding of herself. 

“There is so much you can do with art and theatre in the world, and it’s not just on Broadway – it’s everywhere,” said Ms. Wilson. “Theatre can directly touch lives in ways you don’t expect. It’s used in special education, prisons, homeless shelters, and so many different places. I’m just happy that I have discovered this.”

Other programs at Lee that have expressed interest in using theatre students include the athletic training program and the new nursing program. 

Outside of the university, Lee theatre students have been involved in the Cleveland community through various events, including “Pages of War,” a play commissioned by the 5ive Points Museum about a Cleveland girl who kept a diary through the Civil War, and a dramatic presentation for the autism symposium last summer.

"This is the answer for students who want to use their talents as a ministry but who aren't interested in church drama," said Mr. Buck. “It’s the way we do what Christ did, by using our gifts to help other people.”

For more information, please contact Dan Buck at dbuck@leeuniversity.edu or 614-8226.


Lee University To Welcome Trip Lee In Chapel

Lee University will welcome back Trip Lee, Christian rapper and pastor, in chapel on Tuesday, March 28, at 10:40 a.m. After delivering a powerful message in 2016, Mr. Lee will return to the Conn Center for this special morning service.  Born William Lee Barefield III, Mr. Lee began his career in the music industry early on. He has released five albums and authored two books. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State To Host Student Research Symposium On April 27

Chattanooga State is hosting a Student Research Symposium to showcase students’ research of issues within their professional careers and community involvement.   All community members are invited to come and support students and their work.   Students’ presentations are grounded in academic coursework and tied to their career or professional goals. Working with faculty, ... (click for more)

Pet Dog Dies In Trailer Fire Near Signal Mountain Road

A pet dog died in a trailer fire off Signal Mountain Road on Wednesday night.   Chattanooga firefighters responded to a structure fire around  9:30 p.m.  in a mobile home park at 174 Bledsoe Terrace. The woman who lived there told Battalion Chief Carlos Hampton that she had just left for work when the fire was discovered. The firefighters got the ... (click for more)

Fingerprint Evidence Leads To Arrest Of Antonio Patton Is Armed Robbery Of Store On Bonny Oaks Drive

Fingerprint evidence has led to the arrest of Antonio Preze Patton for the robbery of a store on Bonny Oaks Drive last Dec. 2. Patton, 27, of 2829 5th Ave., is charged with aggravated robbery. Police were notified of the late-night holdup at the Mystik Mart. The clerk said two black males entered the store with their heads covered with hoodies. They appeared to be looking ... (click for more)

Repeal Obamacare, Congressman Fleischmann - And Response (2)

Chuck: I'm writing to express my strong opposition to the plan that is being rolled out by Paul Ryan to replace Obamacare. And as I'm writing this, I'm remembering all the times you and all of your Republican colleagues over the last six years campaigned on REPEALING  Obamacare and used that call to action as the basis for your reelection. And I'm also remembering the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: You, The Bald-Headed Lady

You were wearing a pretty sweat shirt and blue jeans when I saw you outside the Infusion Center at Erlanger Hospital on Wednesday. You were the one who was nearly bald and I was the guy you greeted with a huge smile as we said hello in passing. You reminded me exactly of my brother Franklin. Years ago when chemotherapy began to rob him of his hair, Franklin was pretty devastated ... (click for more)