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October 29, 2009

ULM student performances raise domestic violence awareness

The University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Theatre and Dance department, in partnership with the Wellspring of Northeast Louisiana, will perform at Caldwell Parish High School in Columbia on Nov. 10. Two more performances will be announced this semester, as well as five more performances in the spring.

The Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, funds the project’s performances in the rural parishes, presented as part of the SAFER (Stopping Abusive Family Environments Rural Services) Project.

The performances are a region-wide “conversation” and partnership to help reduce the impact of the crimes of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in five rural Northeast Louisiana parishes, according to Sarah Johnson, director of marketing and development at Wellspring.

The five parishes in which performances will be held include Caldwell, Franklin, Morehouse, Richland and West Carroll. The project continues through October 2010, but its impact will resonate in the lives of our citizens for a much longer time, said Johnson.

The show, which addresses domestic violence involving young people, will also be presented on ULM’s campus as part of a Theatre and Dance department-sponsored three-day domestic violence awareness theatre workshop in March.

Deana's Educational Theatre, a Boston-based domestic violence awareness organization formed after a New England girl’s murder by her boyfriend, developed the script for the play. Wellspring will facilitate a talk-back/question and answer session after each performance, giving the audience an opportunity to participate in a discussion about domestic violence.

The one-woman show chronicles a high school girl’s relationship with an abusive boyfriend, who eventually kills her. The show is told from the girl’s perspective, portraying the cycle of violence to the audience.

“We have already learned that Louisiana had the highest rate of deaths due to domestic violence in the nation for 2008,” Kyle Zimmerman, assistant professor of theatre and dance and the play’s producer, said. “We hope that this play will be able to shed light on the issue and reach young people in a way that traditional lectures and statistics haven't.”

For more information, contact Zimmerman at 615-653-2616 or

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