The benefits of a Shaha performance as a learning experience are exciting, entertaining and profoundly educational. Diversity peer theatre will affect and inform your audience long after the performance and discussion have ended.
Theatre appeals to many senses and using this as a forum for education is unique, creative, and appealing to your audience.
Allows varying levels of involvement from the audience
Audience members can choose their desired level of involvement without any fear of judgment. At most diversity education experiences, high levels of participation and personal risk-taking is desired and a constructed part of the design. Students who choose to be silent participants tend to opt out of such experiences. In this setting, silent observation is considered just as "normal" as being vocal.
Creates an effective balance between support and challenge
Audience members' viewpoints are indirectly challenged, but they are permitted to learn at their own pace without fear of being singled-out or confronted publicly by their peers.
Delivers educational experience in any place or setting
The performances can occur in almost any setting, including residence hall lounges. This increases the opportunity to impact the students who wouldn't go out of their way to attend events related to diversity issues.
Delivers education through entertainment
Probably the most popular strength of this medium. The combination of entertainment and education is rare, and keeps students coming back.
Shared experiences have greater impact
Serious topics can be lightened; the seriousness of easily trivialized topics and over-simplified issues can be portrayed in dramatically impactful ways.
The benefits of peer theatre education to your audience:
- Your audience is more likely to pay attention to information being presented to them by their friends, classmates, residence hall neighbors, fraternity or sorority members, or teammates because it has been proved that traditional college age students are greatly influenced by their peers.
- You can serve as role models to your peers on how to deal with certain situations.
- You know first hand what your peers will and will not respond to and relate to.
- You can often bring more energy and excitement to a topic, than a professional staff member who is likely to have presented the topic many times before.
(Adapted from Students Helping Students, by Steven C. Ender and Fred B. Newton)
Students who attend Shaha performances will…
- Gain a heightened awareness around issues of diversity and multiculturalism.
- Explore their existing frames of reference concerning their interactions and understanding of individuals different from themselves.
- Learn about diversity and oppression in a safe, comfortable, and non-threatening manner.
- Examine the concept of inclusive communities on campus.
- Expand their understanding of dealing with diversity issues as a result of identifying with scenes and characters portrayed by the troupe.