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K-State Today

October 31, 2016

Drama therapy program shares barrier-free theatre at national conference

Submitted by Sally Bailey

Sally Bailey, professor and director of the drama therapy program, presented a session with her graduate students at the North American Drama Therapy Association National Conference Oct. 28 in Seattle, Washington.  

The theme of the conference was "Play" and the session "Playing a Play into Existence in a Barrier-Free Setting," explored the process of the creation of the 2015 barrier-free theatre play, "Reunited: A Tale of 2 Planets."

Sarah Edwards, Michael Rogers and Soekie Woolls, drama therapy graduate students, and Ellen Burke, an alumna of the program, shared their contributions to the process and what they learned about devising theatre, creativity and working with adults with special needs.

The conference presentation was rounded out with a showing of a video of the 30-minute play. The barrier-free theatre is a partnership between K-State's drama therapy program and the city of Manhattan's Parks and Recreation program. Each year, the troupe made up of people with and without disabilities creates an original play, which is performed in April at K-State's Purple Masque Theatre. 

Bailey and adjunct faculty member Paige Dickinson, presented at the North American Drama Therapy Association Conference Oct. 27 on a research study conducted at the 2015 Flint Hills Summer Fun Camp in which demonstrated that listening to stories enhanced empathy scores over the course of eight weeks for campers ages K-6 on and off the autism spectrum.

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