March 25, 2024

Performing the Peace Events Highlight Power of Theater

The Lewis Center for the Arts hosted a two-day event, Performing the Peace, organized by Lecturer in Theater Chesney Snow in partnership with the Program in Community-Engaged Scholarship. The event took place on March 23 and 24 in the Drapkin Studio and featured a screening of the film Performing the Peace and a performance by Playback Memphis.

On March 22, acclaimed Emmy-nominated filmmaker Melissa Anderson Sweazy screened Performing the Peace, her film about the collaboration among Memphis-based theater company Playback Memphis, the Memphis Police Department, and Lifeline to Success. A Q&A followed the screening with the filmmaker and representatives of the police department and theater company.

On March 23, Playback Memphis presented an example of their live performance work, which trains and employs professional artists and facilitators in a listening and story sharing practice with people in a variety of settings to co-create and catalyze community well-being, social healing, and flourishing culture. Also performing were participants of The Fortune Society’s Creative Arts program and musician A.J. Khaw.

The events, cosponsored by the Prison Teaching Initiative (PTI), highlighted the power of theater to bring together police officers and members of communities that have historically been impacted negatively by policing practices in the U.S.

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Steve Runk
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