Stories from Home Devises a New Process

RETURNING TO PRINCIPIA FROM A SABBATICAL, THEATRE PROFESSOR JOHN O'HAGAN sought ways to engage the College’s international population as well as the community at large.

“The best way to do that,” he recounts, “was to create a piece of devised theater, where whoever was in the room would be the ones creating the piece.” In short, O’Hagan flipped the traditional process of writing and producing a dramatic work on its head.

Co-written and narrated by visiting professor Jessica (Wingert) Hudson (US’11, C’15), the play attracted a wide range of participants. Students, employees, and community members contributed to the collection of oral histories and traditions.

Co-director Rebecca Bailey (C’20) loved the collaborative nature of the production: “People brought childhood stories they really loved. Everyone had a sense of ownership in the process.”

“Students learned they don’t have to wait to be creative and artistic. It gives them the tools to go out and do the work on their own,” says O’Hagan. “As long as I’m at Principia, I hope to have this in the rotation, so every cohort of students can engage in a process like this.”