At the invitation of Betsi Pendry (third row, yellow scarf), ESI faculty and Performance of a Lifetime CEO Cathy Rose Salit (second row, center), led a workshop at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa with students, faculty and facilitators from Drama for Life and Themba Interactive — organizations which use drama as a tool in HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.
Salit delighted her audience by beginning with a performance of kd lang’s Sing It Loud, then recounted her history as a community organizer, entrepreneur and artist — dropping out of junior high school, starting a free school, meeting Dr. Fred Newman, and later building Performance of a Lifetime as part of the Institute and All Stars community. The audience joined in as Salit led a series of improvisational exercises and introduced the group to performance as “pointless activity.” She commended their work using theater-with-a-message to help communities deal with HIV/AIDS and other hard issues and invited them to consider other uses of performance. What would it mean to perform all the time in everyday life?
Development is what happens when you throw out your societal scripts and identities and create new performances with others, said Salit.
Betsi Pendry, a longtime Institute colleague trained in the social therapeutic approach, reports that 10 faculty and students from Johannesburg have applied to come to NYC, October 4-7, for the Performing the World conference. They will join in performances with new friends from 30+ countries across the globe.