Sexual violence and sexual assault are amongst crucial matters that college students must be aware of to maintain their utmost safety. The UF Dean of Students Office’s Chris Loschiavo’s motivation to raise awareness for these topics sparked the collaboration between the Center for Arts in Medicine and the Dean of Students Office to provide a new course in Applied Theater for Community Health.
Jeffrey Pufahl, a new faculty member from the Center for Arts in Medicine, brought this idea to life by coordinating with MFA graduate and UF faculty member Michael Martinez-Hamilton and current students. Working hand in hand, Pufahl directed and Martinez-Hamilton wrote the play “Ashley’s Consent,” which sheds light on the important issue of sexual violence through telling the story of “a college student who is sexually assaulted by her ex-boyfriend and the resulting aftermath,” according to Pufahl.
The success of “Ashley’s Consent” allowed for it to be performed once again during Weeks of Welcome, from August 29 to September 1, after its initial showing last April in the Newlins-Zeigler Breezeway.
The offering of the new course, Applied Theater: Rehearsals for Revolutions, highlights the impact the play has made. In the course, students work alongside the directors to explore and apply the theatre concepts they learn while continuing to develop “Ashley’s Consent” and also creating their very own works. Pufahl asserts that the course objective is to delve into the “methods, texts, and historical development and context” of applied theater and the effect theater has on educating the community.
This new course provides students with an unparalleled chance to work with individuals from diverse fields such as behavioral sciences, women’s studies, and journalism and to come together to give back to the public at large.