It has been so wonderful to read our first month of guest blogs! The mission of H.E.A.T. is to incorporate aspects healing, education, activism and theatre into every project, event, workshop, publication and performance. This Blog series focuses on one aspect per week, allowing us to build the Collective through writing and readership, AND to discover more ways of implementing H.E.A.T. in the world. Thanks so much to Brooke for the idea and to Rebecca for curating. I am thrilled by the response so far and excited by our line up of guest bloggers in months to come.

This month we heard from Adam, my frequent collaborator and friend. Hewrote" I am a person of color. I am an artist. I am a drama therapist.  As I move through the world of the arts and various clinical practices, I bear witness to people of color being expected to perform and uphold myopic standards, stereotypes, appropriated by others. When a person of color steps outside this regulated box, or cage, conflict ensues and discomfort rises. " His honest, clear and heartfelt description of being a person of color in the field of drama therapy is truly worth a read.

Kathy Nigh wrote about education in such a profound way. She states: "One of my favorite comments I get from students (and I have been fortunate enough to hear it more than once) is that they have learned as much if not more about a topic in our theater history course as they have in a “straight” history or critical theory course.  I think one of the reasons why theater can connect us with “the other” in a particularly impactful way is that in order to make good theater we have to understand “the other.”  If you are playing the “bad guy” in a play, you have to understand and empathize with that character because you are that character.  You have to understand why your character is the way they are.  It is all too easy to judge others these days, but theater invites us to understand what makes people tick.   I have learned time and time again not to underestimate the power of theater in the classroom. " Her writing is a solid and deep analysis of why educating people about theatre can be such a life forming act- both intellectually and politically.

Joan Lipkin is a constant inspiration to me. We have worked together, planned together, and shared deep conversations alone and in groups about how to create change in the current world. She writes in her blog about some of her many action projects that directly impact the communities in which she circulates. She writes: "We also founded a project called Dance The Vote that utilizes performance to call attention the necessity of voting and exercising our rights and responsibilities as citizens of the USA. In St Louis, we partnered with local dance companies and spoken word artists and poets to create new commissioned work about the history and urgency of voting, especially for people of color, women and people with disabilities that was performed free and outdoors.  Again, we helped register audience members to vote." This blog is an important example of how artists can dive into activism with courageous generosity.

Catherine Filloux is a very dear friend, co-teacher, artistic collaborator and comrade. She writes here about a subject at the heart of the H.E.A.T. Collective paradigm: collaboration.  She writes: "A key discovery I have made during this process is that the whole team needs to consistently work together. The three of us have discussed everything down to the use of one word over another. This kind of artistic collaboration can serve as an example of how a group working together--listening, disagreeing, coming to decisions that ultimately work, understanding the need for change--can be greater than an individual." Her blog explores the process of one of her current projects and is a very interesting window into the art of writing with others.

It is with great pride and love that I share my thoughts about these great practitioners. I hope you will read and comment upon their blogs, and stay in touch with us. Please let us know if you would like to write something for the Blog. 

In Solidarity and With Love,

Jessica, Artistic Director, The H.E.A.T. Collective