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by Allison Staley, Theatre minor

I am a psychology major and theater minor and I plan to pursue a career in occupational therapy once I finish my undergraduate work. While at the Shakespeare in Paradise Festival (Oct 1-6, 2011) in the Bahamas, as part of the “Bard to Go” program, I learned something every day that will help me in my chosen fields of occupational therapy and psychology, in both of which I plan to incorporate theater practices.

Allison Staley performs at a high school in the Bahamas as part of "Bard to Go."

Monday my cast mates and I went to our first school, Lyford Key, to perform our show Lovestruck. We performed for the students and then afterwards we got to have lunch with the receptive student audience. I loved getting to know the Bahamian students and encouraging them. Monday simply reassured me of my love for encouraging and helping people and reminded me of why I decided to go into occupational therapy: to encourage and help people reach their potential.

My trip to the Bahamas taught me how theater can be a useful therapeutic tool to help with communication, body awareness, stress relief, and coordination; how to interact with new people and children; and finally how to handle my own stress.  Practicing theater and psychology has taught me the close connection of body and mind, and theater is a craft that highly involves both. My trip to the Bahamas has inspired me to search for and articulate the ways theater can be utilized as a therapeutic practice.

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