Veterans Create a Powerful Life Stories Performance in Kentucky
DateJune 29, 2022
I was honored to assist in a Life Stories program for women veterans in Kentucky earlier this month. It was taught by the brilliant April Harris, an Army vet who I was lucky enough to teach in our Life Stories partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project, and who has since attended our Life Stories Institute and gone on to teach a class of her own, Finding Your Voice, in The Theatre Lab’s adult curriculum. April worked for several days with a group of women veterans using her Finding Your Voice methodology, and I joined them for two days to help shape their final presentation.
The work these women did was extraordinary. By the time I arrived, April had already taken the group through a series of in-depth exercises, some of which can be found in the Life Stories Toolkit, and all of which are in the Life Stories spirit, leading them to the creation of monologues and short group performances about their experiences in the military and after they got out. The process culminated in a powerful performance on a stage at Kentucky State University, featuring stories of sexual abuse, the trauma of fighting for rights within a rigid military complex, and cautious hope for the future.
We lived together at Camp Brown Bear just outside of Lexington, a farm with lots of wandering goats and fresh air, owned by Sabrina and Steve Brown, who frequently host veteran retreats offering yoga and other therapeutic modalities along with time to rest and talk around a campfire. Sabrina and Steve were generous hosts, and we hope to do more Life Stories programs with veterans at Camp Brown Bear in the near future.