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K-State Today

October 7, 2011

Author of note: Drama therapist earns award for book about barrier-free theater

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

The third time's a charm for Sally Bailey.

The Kansas State University professor of theater and director of the drama therapy program has received the 2011 Distinguished Book Award from the American Alliance for Theatre in Education for her third book, "Barrier-Free Theatre," which was published by Idyll Arbor in 2010.

In the book, Bailey, who is a registered drama therapist and board-certified drama therapy trainer, shares her ideas, tips and anecdotes about making theater accessible to children and adults with disabilities.

"If you do theater but know nothing about disabilities, you'll learn about them," Bailey said. "If you know about disabilities, but not about how to facilitate drama, you'll learn about that. I wanted to give all the building blocks so that people can take what they need. If you have no building blocks, with this book you have a whole kit."

"Barrier-Free Theatre" was nearly a decade in the making. She said publishers could not understand who the book's audience would be, but she knew that since 20 percent of the population has some kind of disability, the audience for it was definitely there.

Bailey was first exposed to drama therapy and learned about accommodating people with disabilities when she worked for various arts programs in Washington, D.C. After becoming a registered drama therapist, she used her skills while working with recovering drug addicts at the rehabilitation facility Second Genesis, and with people with disabilities at Imagination Stage, a nonprofit arts center.

She moved to Manhattan to head up K-State's drama therapy master's program in 1999. She also is the director of the Manhattan Parks and Recreation's Barrier-Free Theater.

"Drama can really level the playing field and allow many different people to work together," Bailey said. "In the theater all people can express themselves and be creative as equals. Drama can be a part of more people's lives if directors and teachers know how to include everyone."

Bailey was a member of the National Association for Drama Therapy board of directors from 1995-2001. She served as president of the National Association for Drama Therapy from 2001-2003, receiving the association's Service Award in 2005 and its Gertrud Schattner Award in 2006. She is the founder and office manager of the Drama Therapy Fund, which was established in 2003. She also has received the 2011 Promoting an Accessible

Campus Award from EmPower Cats and K-State disability services, Inspire by Example Award from Community 1st Bank, as well as K-State's William L. Stamey Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award and Adviser of the Year award.

Bailey has produced children's theater and been a playwright. Her adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" will be done for the second year at the Manhattan Arts Center this year.

She earned a bachelor's in fine arts from the University of Texas at Austin, a master's in fine arts from Trinity University and a master's in social work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. She also has a certificate in Gestalt therapy from the Gestalt Therapy Training Center, Washington, D.C.