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.


Tuition Equality Bill Passes Senate Education Committee

The Senate Education Committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would extend in-state tuition to students who meet certain criteria, regardless of immigration status. SB612/HB675 passed the committee by a vote of 6-2-1.  Senators Crowe, Dickerson, Gardenhire, Gresham, Haile, and Tate voted to move the bill forward to the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means c ommittee after ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy High School Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony Moved To March 13

The 7 th Annual Soddy Daisy High School Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony has been rescheduled for Friday, March 13 , at 8:30 a.m. in the Soddy-Daisy High School Gymnasium. The public is invited to attend this event and the reception following. Hall of Fame inductees are:   Nelson Bennett ... (click for more)

Snow In Today's Forecast After Balmy Wednesday; Hamilton County Schools On 2-Hour Delay

Temperatures were mild on Wednesday, reaching 74 degrees, but they began dropping as the day went on - leading to a winter weather advisory. The advisory went into effect at 4 a.m. on Thursday and is to continue until 4 p.m. The forecast is for freezing rain,sleet and snow. Hamilton County Schools will be on a two-hour delay on Thursday . School officials said, "Based on ... (click for more)

Grand Jury Indicts Mark Kaylor In Alleged Beating Case; He Resigns From Red Bank Police; His Attorney Asks For Trial

A Red Bank officer was indicted on Wednesday by the Hamilton County Grand Jury on charges related to an alleged assault against a detainee. At the same time, Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol said he had accepted the resignation of Officer Mark Kaylor. The Hamilton County District Attorney General’s Office earlier said it had reviewed the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation ... (click for more)

Women Don't Ask For Rape, They Ask For Justice

The stereotypical irrationality that women typically lie about rape has brought an enormous amount of social stigma to this population. Many like to think that rape is not a huge issue in the United States, and that the media blows it out of proportion. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that approximately 17.7 million females in America have been raped, with 108,612 ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Father Kelly’s ‘Hallelujah’

Last April, in the special way that only some older men are lucky enough to possess, the childish imp came out in Father Ray Kelly. A parish priest in Oldcastle, Ireland, he was conducting wedding vows for a handsome couple when the 62-year-old decided to surprise them with a totally-unscripted rendition of Leonard Cohen’s beautiful song, “Hallelujah.” When he did, there soon ... (click for more)