Being involved with Social Action Theater touches students lives.  Below, students explain their favorite Social Action memories, what the class has meant to them and/or how their views have been changed as a result of being involved with this program.

    "I come from a very small town where there isn't much diversity and the people are very narrow-minded. Becoming involved with Social Action Theater has really shown me that there are people who care about changing the ideals on racism, discrimination, and everyday put-downs. This class has shown me that here are people who are actively trying to make a difference in this world. When our meetings are over, I cannot explain the positive and refreshing feeling that overwhelms me, know that we have a positive influence on today's youth."

    "Issues are only one of the things that Social Action Theater deals with. When you get up in front of crowds of 50 or more people, you gain certain traits. My freshman year I was very shy. But as I began getting involved with Social Action Theater, I became acquainted with fellow students, some of different backgrounds. After I performed my first skit, I opened up to the world. Now I feel free to express my opinions and get involved. I do not feel I would have "opened up" had it not been for my experiences with Social Action Theater"

    "The skit we performed happened to be on on disabilities due to the fact that there was a quadriplegic girl in this particular class. The teachers that invited Social Action Theater noticed that some of the children made fun of the disabled girl and on occasions would regularly leave her out of activities. After we performed for these children, the young girl came up in front of the class and told everyone how she felt about her disability and how they occasionally made her feel like an outcast. This brought tears to many peoples eyes and made us all proud of what we had accomplished that day. We gave this young girl courage to express her feeling to her peers."

    "If I had to explain my experience with Social Action Theatre in one word, I would use 'priceless.' By taking part in SAT., I have learned to not only accept diversity, but also to celebrate it.  I have also helped others to see things from a different point of view.  I have traveled with SAT. to Chicago, Fort McCoy, and a few local high schools.  In the future, we are planning a trip to Nashville and Birmingham.  Now, as I continue my career with Social Action Theatre, I am looking forward to expanding my heart and mind and making many more unforgettable memories."

    "Social Action theater has helped me in more ways then I can express.  Social Action Theater has opened my eyes to issues that I never new existed well I new they existed but not to this extent.  When I attended the trips to places we did skits especially when we went to Challenge Academy it really opened my eyes and I learned a lot.  When you perform skits and you answer the question people have, you can really tell by the questions that are asked that these issues are dealt with every day.  Social Action theater is a great organization with and even better instructor, Bob makes the class fun and enjoyable.  Social Action Theater could be in every school or at least something like it. Social Action theater is a great way to teach people about diversity and learn about other people as well. Again Social Action Theater really opened my eyes and it was really cool and enjoyable, I learned a lot and I will do Social Action theater as long as I can."

    "Having first signed up for Social Action Theatre solely to fill a requirement for EFN freshman year, I now have taken it every semester since. It has been an amazing, eye-opening experience for me. Writing skits highlighting social problems in our society for others to reflect on, I feel that the members of the group get as beneficial of an experience writing and performing the skits as the audience we perform for does. I have gained great interpersonal experiences, both in the class or performing the skits, from the class. The skills learned and the friendships gained from Social Action Theatre are ones unique to this tremendous group."

    "Social Action Theater has taught me so much about diversity and cultural awareness.  I have learned so much from the experiences audience and team members have been willing to share during our performances.  I have also grown a lot as a person while playing different character in our skits and by putting myself in another person's shoes.  Going to Challenge Academy was an awesome experience; it was amazing to hear some for the stories the kids had and inspiring them to see to take their lives into their own hands.  I have learned not to be so quick to judge people because you never know all the reasons for their actions.  Social Action Theater had taught me to think on my fee, expect the unexpected, and has allowed me to work with a variety of topics and individuals.  It is definitely an organization that had a major impact on my life."

    "Social Action Theater had been an amazing experience for me.  Having to interact with an audience while staying in character had really stretched me as a person.  More importantly, having to put myself in another character's shoes had helped me to see a lot of issues we addressed from a different perspective.  I have developed a greater sensitivity to and appreciation for the differences of others.  Performing at schools has given me a clearer understanding of what issues different age groups deal with...as an education major, this is very valuable to me." 

    "Social Action Theater has been a fantastic experience for me. It is amazing to see the reactions from the people that we are performing for and the discussions that we provoke. Challenge Academy is by far my favorite place to go. These kids have been through so much and I think we learn more from them than they learn from us. We are only writing skits about this kind of thing, but they have actually experienced it. Some of us have experienced similar situations, and that is also interesting to learn things about each other and feel comfortable enough discussing the issues. Overall, SAT has made me grow and understand more than one possibly can just living day-to-day life."

    "After being in Social Action Theatre for almost 4 semesters, I have never been able to experience performing for such a variety of underprivileged audience members.  When we arrived for performances, I felt a sudden transition from the usual world that I had been living in.  Just being in their presence and hoping that I could make a difference made me feel more powerful and important than anyone will ever know.  Thank you for an amazing experience!"

    "It is hard to imagine that in the places we perform student are any different from those that I attend school with.  They are normal kids, able to laugh, able to ask intelligent questions, and able to feel anger and pain just like you and I.  The questions that they ask us often stump the actors/actresses as we struggle to find the right answers.  Each questions seem to pose a little bit of 'why did I' rather than 'why did you'.  I feel so honored to have been able to make a difference and be part of Social Action Theatre."

    "I really think that our skits sunk into the students and that we are not only helping them, but they also give us insights.  Thanks, Bob, for giving me the opportunity to participate in these performances.  It has been an experience that I will never forget."

    "I have to admit that before joining Social Action Theatre I was very nervous, but afterwards I realized that it was a life-changing experience for me.  I am so excited to have been involved in something, that makes a difference in people's lives and would recommend it to everyone, with stage fright or not.  It's really worth it!"

    "I feel that the experience that I had with Social Action Theatre really opened my eyes.  When performing for in schools I was thinking about my future, the students' future, and how I could do my part in helping teens with similar situations to those we portray in our skits.  It really helped me gain perspective and insight."

    "This profound experience has been one that I will not soon forget, if ever."

    "Being a part of Social Action Theatre helped me to get a sense of what it was like for my cousin.  My cousin from back home was a trouble maker in high school, but now has his GED and is working hard back home.  The last skit, Bobby's World, was probably the greatest skit I have ever seen done by the audience in my three semesters in this program.  It is something I will never forget."

    "This was my first year being involved with Social Action Theatre and it has truly been a great experience.  I feel like this program is extremely influential and provides a powerful experience for the groups we perform for, as well as the for the students who participate in them.  These performances from Social Action Theatre evoke such  positive responses from our audience and I am glad that I was able to take a part in it all."


    April 18, 2007

    Dear Bob,

          Of the families of the seventh graders that were at the presentation at prince of Peace Lutheran last night, we received seven evaluations.  I thought it would be good to share these with you.

         The first question on the Evaluation Sheet read, "Did you find the Social Action Theatre Group from UW-L to be a meaningful part of tonight's program?  Why or why not?"  These were the responses:

         Yes, it got discussion going.  Seventh graders relate better to college students.

         Definitely!  The kids were very engaged.  It was good for them to see other "youth" doing something good.

         Very.  It showed real life with good overview of what young adults are dealing with.

         Yes.  It involved us all.  It was a new entry way into the subject.  People (all ages) seemed to be receptive to the format.

         Yes.  It gives the kids examples of situations they may encounter.

          Yes.  They were good topics and it was effective having the young people present.

         Yes.  It showed my son some of the choices he will have to make in high school.

         Thanks again so much for your willingness to be a part of our efforts.  Please convey our thanks to the six students.  In comparing what we have done in past years with the seventh graders and their parents, last night's format really helped our "message" come alive.  And thanks for sharing with me what you did as to how your group has been asked to be a model for training other groups in our area.


    Elwood Rieke