Oberlin Center for Convergence (StudiOC)

Resilience in the Performing Arts

How can artists and artist organizations prepare for the unexpected?

Holly Handman-Lopez.

Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

Holly Handman-Lopez

Kari Barclay.

Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

Kari Barclay

Eric Steggall.

Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

Eric Steggall

Offered Spring 2023

Through the lens of the performing arts, this cluster will focus on the multiple ways in which one can practice mental, physical, and emotional preparedness and resiliency to respond to, and emerge stronger from situations, emergencies, or disasters.


Course Instructors for this learning community are Managing Director for Theater, Dance, and Opera & Lecturer Eric Steggall; Visiting Assistant Professor Kari Barclay;  and Assistant Professor of Dance, Holly Handman-Lopez

THEA 271OC and either THEA 241OC or DANC 252OC is required for this learning community.

Eric Steggall, Instructor

THEA 241OC  Emergency Preparedness and Management in the Performing Arts
Meets: Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM  

The frequency of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, data breaches and other global events that are beyond the ability of performing arts organizations and performers to control, combined with the numerous daily situations that we, in our inherently dangerous industry, find ourselves in, demand that emergency plans, hazard assessments, proper and specific training, and mitigation protocols be developed and routinely updated for all areas of the performing arts. This course provides an overview of actions and reactions to disasters, emergencies and accidents, as well as a customized planning approach for arts managers and artists in preparing for those situations.

Kari Barclay, Instructor

THEA 271OC  Staging Consent and Intimacy in Theater
Meets: Monday and Wednesday, 3:00 - 4:15 PM 

This practical and theoretical course will be an introduction to the potential of consent as a tool for resiliency in theater. Students will study efforts within the theatrical field from #NotInOurHouse/Chicago to #CLEanHouse in Cleveland to combat sexual violence and harrassment in theater and promote more sustainable techniques for performers. This course will be a practical introduction to intimacy directing, choreographic approaches to staging sexually and sensually charged scenes, and to theater as an intervention in the wake of societal trauma. To supplement our theatrical work, we will have conversations with Title IX about efforts to promote consent in education and popular culture. We will also examine art works from theater and performance art that center intimacy and consent. We’ll explore performances that tested the limits of audience participation and decipher what they can teach us about informed risk-taking in performance.

Holly Handman-Lopez, Instructor

DANC 252OC  Somatic Skills of Resilience 
Meets: Tuesday and Thursday, 10-11:50 AM 

Individuals in the performing arts, and elsewhere, are frequently confronted with physical, emotional and energetic challenges during their schooling and careers. This experiential course will provide students the necessary tools to create a centering physical practice, while heightening their self-awareness. We will address emotional and social intelligence, and work on improving verbal and non-vebal communication. Utilizing principles and exercises from breathwork, Yoga, movement improvisation, somatic meditation, nonviolent communication, and kinesics, students will build their resilience and ability to center themselves physically and emotionally during the highs and lows they encounter as creatives, collaborators and performers.