Writers' Word Jazz Theater
At the end of each workshop, writers may read their work in a group performance – an improvisational reader’s theater. The first performance is given for workshop participants, and then those who want to make their work public can do so with a performance we arrange that is open to the public. Reviews have included such responses as “… never thought an amateur performance could be this good! And when I can join do this?” These responses have often resulted in the production of other workshops since people are eager to “get in on the act,” once they experience what that “act” is. Performances have taken place in community theater settings and some have been on the radio.
One particular group became a solid part of its community, where they were called to write and perform on various themes. The local mental health agency referred clients as the healing effect of writing the personal story became known throughout the community. This group continued for over fifteen years with people coming and going and coming back again. Intermittently, someone from an original group would start up another group – a group in Alaska has just started up again, maintaining a 22 year old tradition! All these groups were run by students of Ashlar Workshops. And the writing is still fresh -- the performances lively, fun and healing, often creating a lot of head nodding in recognition that your story is often my story.
In addition to performances by our community groups, performances have been created by university and high school students, and by agency staff in team-building retreats.