NYU Forum on Theatre for Public Health

Events and Conferences

NYU Forum on Theatre for Public Health


April 21-23, 2011


Click here to download the Forum on Theatre for Public Health program.

About the 2011 NYU Forum on Theatre for Public Health:

NYU's Program in Educational Theatre is a leader in applied theatre. Through our extensive curricular offerings (which range from undergraduate to doctoral programs of study), we, as practitioners, are constantly investigating dialogical forms of theatre through which it is possible to explore social activity, pedagogy, health and community. These aspirations drive applied theatre, a movement involving the use of drama and theatre in non-traditional venues including those which promote healthy minds and bodies.

The goal of this forum is to facilitate a dialogue on the intersections between drama and public health education. The forum will also investigate the perceived boundaries and barriers for artists and educators when delving into health education, as well as those for health professionals when utilizing drama in their work. By public health, we refer to the interdisciplinary field which focuses on protecting, promoting, and improving health and well-being of populations, especially vulnerable ones. The social justice foundation of public health leads the field to consider social, economic, political, and medical care conditions when addressing health issues. Questions to be interrogated include:

  • How can drama be utilized in public health?
  • How is drama being used to educate people in health facilities, schools, and communities?
  • How do we define health?
  • How do we prepare future theatre artisits and educators to implement theatre for public health?
  • How do we assess particpants' understanding and awareness of the use of theatre for public health?

If you are interested in learning more about theatre and public health, come join us for this exciting forum comprised of artists, educators, young people, health professionals, therapists, social scientists, arts organizations and institutions dedicated to utilizing drama in health education.

Keynote Speaker Larry Kramer:

Author, Activist, and Playwright will be speaking on Friday, April 22 at 6:30PM in the Frederick Loewe Theatre at 35 West 4th Street.


In 1981, with five friends, Larry Kramer founded Gay Men's Health Crisis, still one of the world's largest providers of services to those with AIDS.  In 1987, he founded ACT UP, the AIDS advocacy and protest organization, which has been responsible for the development and release of almost every life-saving treatment for HIV/AIDS. Among his numerous plays is The Normal Heart, which was selected as one of the 100 Best Plays of the 20th Century by Britain's National Theatre and is the longest running play in the history of New York's Public Theater. A new production of it is about to open on Broadway on April 27th. Kramer's screenplay adaptation of D. H. Lawrence's Women in Love, a film he also produced, was nominated for an Academy Award. His novel, Faggots, continues to be one of the best selling of all gay novels. He is a recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was the first openly gay person and the first creative artist to be honored by an award from Common Cause. His straight brother Arthur's establishment of The Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale was rewarded by its closure by the University. For many years he has been writing a very long book about the plague, The American People, which is some 4000 pages and is forthcoming from Farrer Straus & Giroux. His most recent book is The Tragedy of Today's Gays (Penguin), which will tell you everything you need to know about him, about AIDS, and about America. "There is no question in my mind that Larry helped change medicine in this country. And he helped change it for the better. In American medicine there are two eras. Before Larry and after Larry." (Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, quoted in The New Yorker, May 13, 2002.) On December 21, 2001, Kramer was the 22nd person co-infected with HIV and hepatitis B to receive a liver transplant, from which he has miraculously and spectacularly recovered. Kramer lives in New York and Connecticut with his lover, architect/designer David Webster. "Larry Kramer is one of America's most valuable troublemakers. I hope he never lowers his voice." Susan Sontag


Registration is now closed.


  • Conference Participant/Presenter $75 (until March 11)
  • Conference Participant/Presenter $100 (after March 11)
  • Student $50
  • NYU Student $20 (You will need to show your NYU ID when you check-in at the conference)
  • One Day Conference Participant $75



Getting There

Around NYC

Contact for more information:

Dr. Nan Smithner, Program in Educational Theatre
New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, & Human Development
82 Washington Square East, Pless Annex, Room 223
New York, NY 10003
ns23@nyu.edu or theatreforpublichealth@gmail.com