Improving understanding through theater

Interactive theater “is a presentational style that breaks the “fourth wall” separating performer and audience both physically and verbally.”

It can be used, among other purposes, to invoke dialog, serve an educational purpose, and provide a therapeutic setting.

Several cancer survivors from the James Cancer Hospital are using interactive theater to better understand and become more comfortable with cancer experiences.

From The Columbus Dispatch:

Sharing such stories — and hearing the students react sensitively with laughter, groans or applause; or noting their silent appreciation — helped [a participant] become more comfortable with herself and “better define” her experience, she said.

The cancer survivors, along with collaborating theater students, will perform in front of a sold-out crowd this week.  Such a great idea. The power of this approach lies in the words of instructor Robin Post:

“We knew next to nothing about cancer, and they knew next to nothing about performance,” Post said. “Because everyone was very open to learning from each other, it became a powerful experience for both sides.”

Interaction aids understanding for all involved.