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K-State Today

April 22, 2013

Theater Delta to bring interactive performances to campus, encourage discussion on academic issues

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

A nationally recognized interactive theater group will encourage social change at Kansas State University through multiple upcoming performances.

Theater Delta is a scripted and improvisational audience participatory theater that promotes dialogue and social change. On April 29, the group will provide two performances on important university-related topics: a performance on research ethics from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and a performance on suicide/depression from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The two performances will take place in the Little Theater in the K-State Student Union and are free and open to the public.

On April 30, the theater group will provide an additional performance for graduate faculty on the topic of faculty mentorship of graduate students. The performance will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the KSU Ballroom in the K-State Student Union.

This is Theater Delta's first visit to Kansas State University. The company's audience participatory style provides a new way of discussing important topics. The university performances will enhance graduate students' professional growth and provide an engaging display of issues rather than information presented in a lecture or seminar format, said Tammy Sonnentag, president of the Graduate Student Council.

"We are excited about Theater Delta's visit because their interactive performances are a novel and creative way to dialogue about student issues and concerns on a college campus," said Sonnentag, doctoral candidate in psychological sciences, Edgar, Wis. "Because Theater Delta's interactive performances are highly realistic and allow for audience engagement, we hope that students actively participate in shaping the performances and leave with increased insight about how to handle problems related to research ethics and suicide and depression on a college campus."

Theater Delta is based in Chapel Hill, N.C., and provides performances in a variety of areas relevant to higher education, including stress, sexual assault and other academic, medical and social justice issues. Sonnentag said the topics of research ethics and suicide/depression were chosen for the performances at Kansas State University because the topics are relevant to both undergraduate and graduate students.

The interactive performance on faculty mentorship of graduate students will provide both new and experienced graduate faculty the opportunity to engage in a dialogue about their role in helping graduate students complete their research and degree. The performance will cover topics such as critical feedback, research decision-making, accessibility and boundaries, information distribution and advocacy, said Carol Shanklin, dean of the Graduate School.

"The Graduate School is pleased to partner with the Graduate Student Council, the Union Program Council and the Student Governing Association to sponsor Theater Delta's performances and to provide our graduate students and faculty this unique professional development opportunity," Shanklin said. "The performances are addressing important topics for both our students and the graduate faculty."

Sonnentag said she hoped that students would walk away from the performances with new insights, knowledge and a novel perspective on the issues of research ethics and suicide and depression.

"Being able to 'witness' the 'problem' and actively participate in shaping the conclusion and solution should create a memorable learning experience for all," Sonnentag said. "We hope that the students at K-State take this fantastic professional development opportunity."