ASK A HEALTH COACH: 'How are Theatre and Holistic Health Connected?'
This week's regularly scheduled "Ask a Health Coach" question is being pushed back a week so that we can share with you this reflection on a cutting edge theatre in Columbus, Ohio and how they are empowering young artists by making holistic health a part of their curriculum. It's kind of a big deal!
As you may (or may not know) I am an actor by education and training, (to learn more about my formative years, click here.) In my "youth", I spent many years in the Columbus theatre scene especially at Columbus Children's Theatre, (which was called Columbus Jr. Theatre at the time- and YES! I know that dates me.) I decided to make acting my career and Otterbein University my home.
Fast forward a few years and you'll find me finally integrating the actor and the actor's body, (note: I fell into employee benefits after college and learned a LOT about health and it was time to start putting these two things together.) Now some of you may be thinking, "of course, you can't separate the actor from the body", and it's true, you can't. And yet, you would be amazed at the number of actors who don't understand how what you put in your body has a direct effect on the character you portray and your performance. As an actor and an acting teacher, I felt that it was my obligation to help young actors do just that. Around that same time I was contacted by the Ohio Educational Theatre Association to present a workshop as a health coach and "Stop Eating Crap, Start Landing Roles" was born. The workshop incorporated famous actors' quotes about the body, tips and tricks from current Broadway Actors like Molly Camp, basic nutritional information and how to more fully support a long career in the arts. The workshop was a big success!!
After that workshop was completed, I approached Ryan Scarlata, Education Director, at CCT about teaching holistic health to their actors. I believe that it will be really impactful when we teach this at a young(er) age. Ryan agreed and had this to say, "this class is really important for the students to understand how to take care of themselves so that when they are performing 8 shows a week, which is common of our shows here, they have stamina and focus. With that much work, it is difficult to avoid illness. This class gives them the tools to prevent that."
The Actor's RX, as we called it, was created to help them lay a foundation for their budding careers. The content included much of the same as the workshop outlined above and was able to go even deeper given the fact that it was (5), fifty-minute sessions instead of one! We were able to set some goals around their health and wellness needs in some pretty creative ways. The students were also given accountability partners to continue to keep their goals in front of them when this part of their program was over. They were taught how to eat for energy, what it means to honor hunger and fullness, how to identify what needs nourished and how to establish the "new normal." Many of them had never seen kale before our class and by the weeks end were identifying three types: curly, (pictured bottom left) lacinato (also known as dinosaur pictured in the middle) and Russian kale, (pictured top just right of center.)
Here were some of their comments on the class:
"I would recommend this class be added to future college prep programs because it is nice to keep track of health and wellness to help us with our careers and succeeding."
"It is so important for actors to be healthy. This class should be offered because it's a great program."
"The best part about this class was food journaling."
"My least favorite part was that not everyone got kale!!"
I loved teaching the classes. And I know there is more of the same in my future!
Tune in for our regularly scheduled post "Ask A Health Coach" again next week.
Until next time,
PS. In case you haven't read my other posts, my lawyers need me to tell you this: I'm an expert at what I do. However, as I implied above, I am not a licensed physician, nutritionist or psychologist and my services don't replace care of healthcare professionals (though I do own a pretty impressive white leather couch, thankyouverymuch.) With that comes the standard eye-glaze inducing disclaimer that, no, I cannot actually guarantee the outcome of your efforts from my recommendations on my "Ask a Health Coach" column, and my comments about the outcome are expressions of (my very personal) opinion only. I can guarantee you this, however: I will do my best to coach you, and I'll do everything in my power to help.