November 12, 2009
Interactive Theatre Project explores social justice through performing arts

Lees-McRae College Performing Arts presents the Lees-McRae Interactive Theatre Project on November 17-18. Described as a dynamic exploration of social justice issues through the eyes of contemporary college students, the project uses an intense rehearsal process that involves performance techniques of Michael Rohd and Augusto Boal, where students explore the history of social issues, statistics and facts which will be presented through monologues, poems and songs.

The performance examines critical social and cultural problems in this contemporary piece. Specifically, students chose to investigate the complex meaning of community within a college campus. The results of their exploration will be presented in a ninety-minute workshop style performances comprised of scenes written by the students, as well as audience discussion and participation.

"The LMC Interactive Project is just the coolest experiment in theatre I have encountered so far. As part of my Service Scholar Scholarship, I teamed up with Dr. Tessa Carr researching various topics that college students may experience such as racism, homophobia, and sexism. The rehearsals are definitely emotionally and physically draining but as an ensemble I believe this project will soar to its fullest degree," said Rashawndra Doby, ensemble member.

The Lees-McRae Interactive Theatre Project includes two forum theatre scenes. Forum theatre is one of the formats included in the arsenal of the Theatre of the Oppressed, a world-wide movement for social change. In forum theatre scenes the audience members have an opportunity to volunteer to replace an oppressed character on stage. The volunteer will try to change the outcome of the scene through action and dialogue. This interactive style is not to determine that the situation is right or wrong, but instead to create a community dialogue around the given issue.

"Working with this troupe of students has been an incredible journey of discovery for me and for them. Together they have created a piece of work that explores the many facets of the idea of community. This show is a complicated, joyful, and sometimes painful look at the shared culture of college students here at Lees-McRae. I hope that we can be a catalyst for conversation on our campus," said Tessa Carr, assistant professor of performing arts at Lees-McRae College and the director of the troupe.

Lees-McRae's production will be held November 17th and 18th at 7:30 pm in Evans Auditorium on Lees-McRae College's campus in Banner Elk. Free admission. Mature Audiences only due to the serious nature of the material. For more information, visit the Lees-McRae website at or call (828) 898-8709.

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