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.


Augustine Named Recipient Of Lee’s Excellence In Scholarship Award

Dr. Daniela C. Augustine, associate professor of theological ethics, has been named as the recipient of Lee University’s 2016 Excellence in Scholarship Award. The winner of this award is chosen each year by the Faculty Committee on Research and Scholarship. Lee President Dr. Paul Conn officially recognized Dr. Augustine for this award during spring commencement earlier this ... (click for more)

East Ridge High School Unveils New Uniforms At McDonald's Fundraiser

The East Ridge High School football team will be sporting new uniforms this season thanks to a community supported fundraiser hosted by the Ringgold Road McDonald’s restaurant.      The McDonald’s parking lot, turned fundraising headquarters, played host to the team as they waved signs and asked McDonald’s customers for donations. McDonald’s is the sponsor of ... (click for more)

Child Bitten By Dog In Bradley County

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a child who was bitten by a dog. While saturating an area in Bradley County, a deputy observed a vehicle traveling on the roadway with a child not restrained and sitting in a passenger’s lap inside the vehicle. Once the deputy approached the vehicle, he noticed a child bleeding which was the result of a dog bite. ... (click for more)

Fruit Basket Turnover

I have been teaching for 21 years now, so I’ve been through my share of school leaders. Every one of them taught me something important. Whether it was Don Bishop from Red Bank High School who, after almost 30 years at Red Bank, taught me to invest in the longevity of my career, Wade Kelly who taught me to thoroughly weigh options before making a decision, Gail Chuy who taught me ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Let Me Be Clear’

I have seen a lot of human beings who have gotten themselves in terrible messes in my time and more self-induced agony than I want to recall. Will Rogers famously said, “Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.” That’s the truth and if you ever didn’t think that “Politics corrupts,” consider the genius behind the line, “It ain’t long those who get elected … begin to think ... (click for more)