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.


Georgia Northwestern Is Top Technical College In Georgia For Dual Enrollment Students For Third Straight Year

For the third consecutive year, Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) has the largest number of dual enrollment students out of all of the technical colleges in the state of Georgia according to the “High School Collaborative Enrollment: Academic Year 2016” Report issued by the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). The report shows that  GNTC had 1,767 dual ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Holds Career Fair March 22

Chattanooga State Community College’s Career Services and Counseling Center will hold its annual Career Fair on March 22 in the gymnasium between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. More than 75 vendors will be on hand to discuss employment opportunities with their company. Business and industry employers representing the areas of engineering, banking, local government, communications, ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Principals Say Part 1 Of TN Ready Testing Should Be Cut Due To Online System Failure

Hamilton County principals are asking that Part 1 of the TN Ready Assessment be dropped this year due to the recent crash of the online system for the program. The principals also asked that any Part 1 TN Ready test results  not be applied to students’ grades or to evaluations and rankings for school personnel and school districts. The local principals also ... (click for more)

Allan Walsh Named New Bradley County Workhouse Superintendent

Sheriff Eric Watson announced the appointment of Allan Walsh as superintendent of the new Bradley County Workhouse, which will begin construction soon and be opened this year.  Plans are for the new facility, to be adjacent to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Jail and Courts complex, to hold up to 128 non-violent, low security inmates. A graduate of Bradley ... (click for more)

What Our Schools Are And Have Been Doing About Bullying

Bullying has been a widely discussed topic during the last few weeks in the wake of the incident involving the Ooltewah High basketball team.  Contrary to public opinion, Hamilton County Schools have not been passive in our efforts to address bullying now or for the past several years.  Unfortunately, bullying is a societal norm that is infiltrating our school community, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Warmth For Cold Days

I come across all sorts of warm things every day and as we burrow out of sub-freezing temperatures for a day or two, shaking off ice and snow, allow me to share a few things for a change that may take the bite out of the winter wind. This is what helps me. * * * Judy Bellenfant, who has been a soul mate ever since we shared jokes in high school classrooms, sends along this ... (click for more)