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ReACT! Peer Theatre members, faculty member, hone interactive theater craft at conference

  • Allison Metz, associate professor of theater, and ReACT! actors pose with members of Voices Against Violence, the University of Texas sexual assault prevention theater troupe that was a model for ReACT!

Posted on June 18, 2019

Seven Grand Valley students who are part of ReACT! Peer Theatre joined Allison Metz, associate professor of theater, at a conference to discover new ways to present their messages through interactive theater.

The group traveled in June to the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed conference at Colorado State University to create art and discover innovative approaches to empowering communities to solve problems.

The Grand Valley contingent not only learned more about these unique theater techniques but also presented their work during a session, giving them a crucial opportunity for feedback and dialogue with members of this global community-based theater for social change. 

ReACT! provides a platform for GVSU students to serve as anti-sexual violence educators through performing live scenes and engaging with audience members. Those attending the conference were able to hone their craft while interacting with leaders of the discipline, Metz said.

"ReACT! gets so busy creating sexual assault awareness and survivor support programs that we really don't have the time during the school year to explore innovative ways people are using Theater of the Oppressed techniques all over the world," Metz said.

Inspired by the conference's atmosphere, ReACT! members said they are eager to share what they learned with the Grand Valley community. Olivia Dick, a music major and theater minor who attended the conference, said she came to more deeply appreciate the efforts of those working with this subject matter.

"Being a part of ReACT! has really awakened a helping spirit in me," Dick said. "This conference was an amazing opportunity to learn from other teachers, leaders, activists and more, about the work they do and their own personal stories of dealing with oppression in their own communities."