INSIDE OUT PRISON EXCHANGE PROGRAM – THE THEATRE SCHOOL AT DEPAUL UNIVERSITY
In the spring of 2017 I launched the first class at The Theatre School through the DePaul Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. The tradition of Inside-Out has been present at DePaul through the work of some great colleagues but this is the first time that the Theatre School goes in. I am excited to be part of this new collaboration.
In this course we work with free-writing, composition, performance, reading, and community building.
I teach different aspects of storytelling as a healing art. During the last few years of my life I have been asking myself the question: What is the purpose of my work? Why am I here? What and how can I contribute to my communities? I realized the following: 1. Change is inevitable. 2. Awareness of one’s self is absolutely necessary to navigate change and take responsibility for one’s life. 3. Education is a privilege: educators and students have a duty to share what they know with as many people as possible.
Storytelling as a Healing Art emerged from these three points. It is a method I am developing that weaves together my research and teaching interests in contemplative studies, yoga, theatre studies, applied theatre, free-writing, performance studies, and sustainability. It is a way to use various art forms to address social problems. Writing, listening, deep breathing, journaling, water-colors, meditative walks, in-class improvisation, storytelling, music: these are many of the forms we use in storytelling to support workshops’ and classes’ participants to:
- learn something more about themselves, their passions, talents, and blockages
- foster team-work
- learn how to act vs. react
- create positive affirmations
- understand the concept of “response-ability”
- learn the skills of non-violent communication
- become more confident in expressing the wholeness of one’s self through various art forms
- explore a multiplicity of learning pedagogies: experiential learning, intuitive learning, writing composition, movement and vocal improvisation, among others.
(BeLonging, a piece devised by the Intro to Performance Students at The Theatre School, De Paul University; Laura Biagi: multicultural faculty director; Fall 2016)
With new faculty colleagues at DePaul Convocation, 09/01/2016
(Spider Healing workshop, Vassar College, 2016. Photo credit: David Mentuccia)