Date of Thesis

5-7-2015

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

F. Elaine Williams

Abstract

As a culmination of my theatrical studies and other academic and personal interests developed over my four years at Bucknell University, I conducted a yearlong project that raised awareness of human sex trafficking in the 2014-2015 academic year. My project was composed of three distinct parts that included facilitating in-class workshops, public workshops, and directing a staged reading. The overall goal of this project was to raise awareness of human sex trafficking, get people interested and involved in the project, and give people the information they need to do more. This project was a THEA 319 Independent Study that was selected as part of the Department of Theatre and Dance’s 2014-2015 artistic season. The project began in the Fall 2014 semester with theatrical workshops co-facilitated by myself and guest artist Alex Skitolsky. These workshops, given to 6 classes on both the Bucknell and Susquehanna campuses, attempted to break down the enormous issue of human sex trafficking into something more manageable to discuss and understand. Because I wanted to include a diversity of participants, these classes were varied and included such disciplines as international relations, women and gender studies, critical psychology, race and religion, social justice, and directing. There were also two public workshops given on Bucknell’s campus. The goal of this project was to use theatre and other forms of expression as a way to explore the many themes deeply rooted within this topic, such as being completely under someone else’s power. Other themes included the social norms of our society that allow for the types of behavior involved in the sex trafficking industry, such as Rape culture. The project ended in the Spring 2015 semester with two staged readings of She Has A Name by Andrew Kooman, on both the Bucknell and Susquehanna University campuses. By directing a staged reading of a play about human sex trafficking, the themes and images that are so clearly written and developed in the text drove the show. “Pay-what-you-will" donations at the door of both staged readings benefited the sex trafficking education initiative of Transitions, a locally based crisis center that provides violence and abuse prevention and victim advocacy to the surrounding community. Reflecting on discussions with all those involved in the project and critical feedback from cast members, advisors, and audience members, I believe that this project achieved its original goals by making a difference in people’s awareness of this issue.

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