Title

Trigger for Change: Theatre as a Tool for Social Dialogue

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The goal of my senior project was to promote dialogue about the issue of sexual assault and consisted of three parts. The first part was a company-constructed multimedia presentation that quickly introduced the audience to facts, figures, and perspectives regarding sexual assault. The second is a performance of Carmen Aguirre's The Trigger. It is a stage play about the playwright’s experience before, during, and after her rape, with other characters’ perspectives interjecting throughout. The purpose of this performance was to provide an experience for the audience that promoted empathy and critical thinking. The performance was a staged reading, complete with minimal set, sound, lights, and costumes. The final part of the project was facilitated discussion groups after the performances. In addition to these three parts, community and university organizations addressing the issue of sexual assault set up tables after the performances for audience members to peruse and become involved. The
audience feedback in the post-discussion surveys and in person was overwhelmingly supportive. Ninety-four percent of survey participants felt that the theatrical performance enhanced their understanding of the issue of sexual assault, while ninety-seven percent felt the post-performance dialogue helped them understand issues and concepts. Most overwhelmingly, every survey participant felt safe to express their opinions in the discussion. But our true success can be expressed through company members' individual conversations with audience members. They were keen on speaking with us about these tough issues. One story that highlights this is the perpetrator that approached a company member and admitted that the event had helped him realize the gravity of his actions.

Category

Visual and Performing Arts (including Creative Writing)

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Apr 17th, 9:40 AM Apr 17th, 10:00 AM

Trigger for Change: Theatre as a Tool for Social Dialogue

UC 333

The goal of my senior project was to promote dialogue about the issue of sexual assault and consisted of three parts. The first part was a company-constructed multimedia presentation that quickly introduced the audience to facts, figures, and perspectives regarding sexual assault. The second is a performance of Carmen Aguirre's The Trigger. It is a stage play about the playwright’s experience before, during, and after her rape, with other characters’ perspectives interjecting throughout. The purpose of this performance was to provide an experience for the audience that promoted empathy and critical thinking. The performance was a staged reading, complete with minimal set, sound, lights, and costumes. The final part of the project was facilitated discussion groups after the performances. In addition to these three parts, community and university organizations addressing the issue of sexual assault set up tables after the performances for audience members to peruse and become involved. The
audience feedback in the post-discussion surveys and in person was overwhelmingly supportive. Ninety-four percent of survey participants felt that the theatrical performance enhanced their understanding of the issue of sexual assault, while ninety-seven percent felt the post-performance dialogue helped them understand issues and concepts. Most overwhelmingly, every survey participant felt safe to express their opinions in the discussion. But our true success can be expressed through company members' individual conversations with audience members. They were keen on speaking with us about these tough issues. One story that highlights this is the perpetrator that approached a company member and admitted that the event had helped him realize the gravity of his actions.