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Tony Honoree Rachel Harry Pens Essay on Being a Theatre Educator in the Age of Gun Violence

Theatre educator and 2017 Tony Honoree Rachel Harry has written an essay in response to the climate of gun violence on school campuses. The essay comes in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last Wednesday, which claimed the lives of 17 students.

The piece, titled "On The Front Lines, In School And In Theatre," evokes the fear and anxiety that has plagued her high school students over the course of the past week and beyond. Harry expresses her frustrations with the increasing lack of safety in classrooms that have made both teaching and learning difficult saying, "I am tired." She goes on to stress the importance of theatre education in reference to mental health: "Theatre teaches us to develop empathy, if only to understand our character and put on a better performance."

The essay is featured by the Arts Integrity Initiative, in affiliation with The New School for the Performing Arts. Read Harry's full essay on the Arts Integrity Initiative page here.

Rachel Harry is a theatre teacher at Hood River Valley High School in Hood River, Oregon. She received the Excellence in Theatre Education Award during the Creative Arts portion of the 2017 Tony Awards. Her acceptance speech from the award ceremony, in which she advocated arts education and thanked her students, can be viewed below.


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