“In my nearly 25 years of teaching, at University of Nebraska and elsewhere, I have not experienced any interaction with students that has had more positive impact and potential sustainability than the work Julia Hansen and Stephen Cedars of the Theater for Social Change led on our campus.”
-Steve Langan, Professor and Interim Director & Community Liaison, Medical Humanities, University of Nebraska
“The residency was intensive, exhilarating, and overall fantastic! I can't believe that amount and quality of writing that the students created in such a short time... the work that JNS Theater for Social Change inspired and the impression that it left on each and every one of them is enormous. As their teacher, I'm deeply grateful for the deep, rich work that the program did.”
-Dr. Stuart Lishan, Poet and Professor, Ohio State University
"Probably the most incredible thing about working with [Theater for Social Change] was the way in which [the program] inspired a class of predominantly non-theatre majors to fully commit and engage in the process of writing a 10-minute play. These students were definitely not excited about writing a piece of dramatic literature because most of them had not done anything of the sort. Julia and Stephen made the experience of organizing and executing a dramatic writing workshop an enlightening one for everyone involved in our Liberal Arts Seminar.”
-Joel Egger, Assistant Professor, Doane University
ON THE RESEARCH EXPERIENCE...
"It encouraged me to become... an informed citizen."
"I think it helped me understand perspective and communication in times of pain or uneasiness."
"I think it prompted me to look at social issues through a lens I hadn't considered--that of the doctor. We often talk about issues with our country's healthcare system as if doctors are complicit in this system's shortcomings, but oftentimes practitioners themselves also have their hands tied when it comes to improving the system as a whole."
"Working with the program really challenged my thoughts and ideas."
"Everything about this class makes me a better doctor, and the experience of writing this play is no different."
ON THE WRITING EXPERIENCE...
"I think this experience was fabulous. I was nervous to turn in my initial draft, but [the instructors] provided feedback in a really encouraging way that felt more constructive than critical. I appreciated that and I think it was a good writing process for me!"
"I thought Stephen and Julia were great and very helpful… [they were] very encouraging and supportive, while also offering very specific strategies for developing my ideas and improving my play, and then for how to shorten my play. “
"I thought farce and satire were really intelligent ways to deal with social-medical issues, especially with such current issues. The imaginative distance helped me feel like I could look at the problems closer."
"I think you're wonderful, and I'm so thankful to have been given the chance to be a beginner and try something I'm not good at. There's beauty in being an amateur for sure, which can be hard for a graduate student to admit sometimes. Thank you so much."
"For me, the work is the reward... I could've revised over and over, but [the program instructors] both guided me immensely in such a short amount of time so that I could arrive at the finish line with pride in my work."
"Yes. Before this week I felt like I was merely touching the surface of my character's incarceration, but after this week, I saw my characters come to life. My incarceration story grew roots during this week and really developed a sense of reality and practicality."
"I learned even more so how powerful theatre can be. Some of the plays in class brought tears to my eyes. "
"I learned to not hold anything back and to put everything on the table."
ON WORKING WITH INSTRUCTORS...
"I think your guidance was fantastic! Both the whole-group exercises and the one-on-one meetings were effective strategies for guiding our writing. Those methods also made me feel supported and heard."
"I was very impressed by how much individual attention I got... I really felt seen and heard."
"I wish, if anything, that it could have been longer. I loved having my ideas expanded on in ways I hadn’t thought about."