Theatre and Health Lab

Theatre and Health Lab

We know that theatre can make us better and we want to better understand why.

The use of arts practices and arts therapies to support health and wellbeing has been proven to help participants across the lifespan and improve outcomes in a range of settings while also reducing healthcare costs.

In our research lab, we focus on how drama therapy and related theatre practices such as improvisation, storytelling, role play, acting, playwriting, design, directing, stage managing, and spectating can improve physical, social, psychological, and public health outcomes.

As Performance: Therapeutic Theatre Series

The NYU Program in Drama Therapy As Performance series involves partnerships with professional drama therapists, playwrights, and community organizations to create theatre with real people about their real lives and, together, discover how theatre supports personal and public health.

Public Lectures and Masterclasses

We host a series of public talks and immersive masterclasses taught by internationally recognized experts in their respective areas of practice. Our first major event will be the launch of the Theatre & Health lab April 11-14, 2019. Registration now open!

Research Team

Director: Nisha Sajnani,
Executive Producer: As Performance and Masterclass series: Maria Hodermarska
Faculty Researchers: Maria Hodermarska, Joe Salvatore
Statistician: Yi Yang
Research Assistant: Opher Shamir
Research Affiliates: Lauren Girouard, Nick Brunner, Britton Williams, Julie Katz, Joseph Gage Labatt

Current Project Partners:

  • Theatre making as an approach to reducing self-stigma and increasing sense of belonging amongst people diagnosed with HIV, Nick Bruner and Joe Salvatore
  • The use of therapeutic theatre in a public health strategy to raise awareness about opioid use, Ana Bess Moyer Bell, COAAST
  • The use of improv in supporting communication, collaboration, and leadership with David Purdy, NYU Stern School of Business
  • The experiences of therapists of color as explored through theatre-making and performance, Britton Williams
  • Empirical aesthetics/ Identifying neurophysiological measures of theatre-making and performance. Zoi Kapoula, Director of Research, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS France), Team Chair, IRIS Paris-Descartes University. NYU-PSL France funded collaboration

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