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Sexual Assault Education Theater

The PSU Women’s Resource Center
and University Studies Senior Capstone Class:
“Sexual Assault Education Theater.” 

Hosted by University Studies, the Sexual Assault Education Theater Capstone course uses a unique interactive format to engage student performers and audience members in practicing strategies for interrupting sexual violence on PSU’s campus. Students in the class spend the quarter learning about the dynamics of sexual assault as they practice using theater as a tool for social change. Students develop a short play about sexual assault and its prevention based on classroom readings, discussions, prior learning, and lived experiences. This play is then performed for campus audiences based on the Theater of the Oppressed Open Forum model, in which audience members are invited to stop and shift the action by joining the play, thereby practicing strategies for facing challenging situations and "rehearsing for the future."

For more information, examples of the syllabus, and assignments, visit the
Senior Capstone site at University Studies.

Registration Information

Spring 2014

Sexual Assault Education Theater

Instructor Eden Isenstein eni@pdx.edu
CRN: 65591
Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30pm to 7:20pm
Location: Cramer Hall 101 (Classrooms are subject to change. Please check your schedule prior to the first day of class for any changes.)

In this class, students will learn about the dynamics of sexual assault as they practice using theater as a tool for social change. Students will develop a short play about sexual assault and its prevention based on classroom readings, discussions, prior learning, and lived experiences. This play will then be performed for various campus audiences based on the Theatre of the Oppressed Open Forum model, in which audience members are invited to stop and shift the action by joining the play, thereby practicing strategies for facing challenging situations and “rehearsing for the future.”

Past students who attended the Capstone performances have told us:

  • "Interaction between performers and the audience was comical and put us all at ease."
  • "I really enjoyed the aspect of involving the audience to utilize an array of different skills."
  • "Great moderation and acting! Really involved students."
  • "Realistic, opened great (difficult) dialogue."
  • "They performed seriously, so I could understand the situation clearly."
  • "Actors really did well and the discussions were great also loved that we could intervene."
  • "[I liked] that it was about something that happens. Not overly dramatic. It was interactive"
  • "The situation pertains to situations I have been in with friends; it was good to see how outcomes would be different depending on how you intervene."
  • "[I liked] the realism-being confused on whether to stop your friend or let them do it because you don't know what they want, especially if you are drunk."
  • "Although interactive theater is kind of scary for some, it was useful because we got to see lots of different ways to respond to the scene."
  • "[I learned] Effective strategies- to be cautious about generalizations, assumptions, judgment, and defensive attributions (blaming the victim)."