Student Interactive Social Justice Forum Deals with Complexities of Bullying and Microaggressions

Posted on 12/11/2017 5:25:29 PM

Assistant Professor Rachel DeSoto-Jackson facilitated a Forum Theater social justice event on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, at Theater-by-the-Grove. This event was presented by the Diversity Student Council and SPATE Ensemble with co-sponsorship by the Department of Theater and Dance, Alpha Psi Omega, and Gamma Sigma Sigma.

The performance of “Bully” included student performers Hannah Brennan (criminology major/theater minor), Sophia Peterson (theater major), and Fernando Roche (criminology major/theater minor). These student performers are members of the Theater and Dance Department’s SPATE ensemble, which stands for the Simulated Patient and Applied Theater Ensemble, directed by DeSoto-Jackson. Their work includes acting in simulations as patients/clients and empowering action and dialogue through social justice theater.

With upwards of 80 students in attendance, the event focused on the complexities of bullying and microaggressions in student experiences on campus. Using Forum Theater—an interactive form of theater developed by Augusto Boal which focuses on rehearsing actions for change—students participated in the creation of actions they might take as a bystander or protagonist in a bullying scenario.

Forum Theater events like this one are a feature of the department’s Applied Theater initiative. Students, faculty, and community members will benefit from innovations aimed at researching and transforming how we understand performance.