This year ENACT decided social media would be the best way to connect the Show UP! audience and the greater community to the students’ lived experiences. But where to start? Darci Burch, teaching artist and drama therapist, and Barbara Kaynan, event planner and drama therapist, were charged with fleshing out the campaign. Through the course of planning meetings, it became apparent that it would be critical to place students at the center of the campaign. Darci and Barbara latched on to the students’ exploration of roles they desired to play versus roles they felt others made them play.
Combining the theme of labels with role theory, a theory and method founded by Dr. Robert Landy, the campaign evolved to provide individuals the opportunity to identify labels they were assigned and to claim ownership over a label, or role, to which they felt a deeper association.For this social media campaign, Darci and Barbara decided to create multiple role cards that would serve two distinct purposes. First, the students in the show and audience members chose a card with a word on it. This word would describe a role or label the person had been called in the past by others, which didn’t accurately describe who they feel they are or how they identify. The participant then chose another role, which described how they felt about themselves or how they wanted to be represented. The roles were vast with over 50 to choose from as well as an opportunity to write a role on a blank card if none of those supplied fit. Two columns on the wall read “People think I am…” and “But really I am…”. Participants physically placed a role in each column thus claiming which role they wanted for themselves. Pictures were taken with the role cards and a chalkboard displaying the hashtag: #ClaimingMyRole.
The hope for this campaign was for the audience, and greater ENACT community, to identify with the students’ experiences of being labeled and how these labels aren’t always an accurate representation of who they truly are. It also allowed the audience to reflect on their own experience with assigned labels. This campaign aims to remind everyone that each person can choose the role they play to positively affect how they feel on the inside and are seen on the outside. The community was galvanized around supporting the students as they entered the process of claiming their roles together for Show UP! 2016.
Be on the lookout for more of #ClaimingMyRole in the future as well as new hashtags that continue to stay relevant to the central themes of the students’ work. The goal is to deepen the connections between the greater community and ENACT students, so everyone can stay involved in the facilitation of healing and creating change.