Sexual Assault Prevention Theater

Instructor Name: 
Eden Isenstein
Course Description: 

In this class, students will learn about the dynamics of sexual assault as they practice using theater as a tool for social change. Students will develop a short play about sexual assault and its prevention based on classroom readings, discussions, prior learning, and lived experiences. This play will then be performed for various campus audiences based on the Theatre of the Oppressed Open Forum model, in which audience members are invited to stop and shift the action by joining the play, thereby practicing strategies for facing challenging situations and "rehearsing for the future."

This Capstone course is designed to engage our learning community in meaningful action with various learning communities within Portland State University through our collaboration with the Women's Resource Center. Please contact Eden Isenstein at for furthur information.

The goals for this Capstone are as follows:

  • To provide PSU Capstone students with a personally, academically, professionally, and creatively meaningful service-learning opportunity; and
  • To further the mission of PSU's Women's Resource Center as it works to educate the campus community about sexual assault and its prevention.

The objectives of this Capstone address both course content and the University Studies' goals of communication, critical thinking, appreciation of diversity and social responsibility, and are as follows:

  1. To offer students first-hand, real-world experience creating a learning community that will develop and perform an interactive theater piece for students on campus (communication, critical thinking, appreciation of diversity, and social responsibility);
  2. To increase students' understanding of the dynamics of sexual assault on college campuses and at PSU in particular;
  3. To enhance students' facility and confidence with written and oral communication, including the writing of reflective pieces and theatrical scenes;
  4. To increase students' abilities to think through and apply concepts to practical action, particularly as these pertain to community collaborations in general and our collaboration with the WRC and its constituents in particular;
  5. To facilitate students' building of healthy and functional relationships around both differences and likenesses experienced within the classroom community and with the community partner's constituencies; and
  6. To encourage students' ongoing identification with and participation in a shared community, both on a small scale (as members of a classroom learning community) and as change agents at PSU, using theater as a tool for social change.
Project Description: 

Each Capstone class is expected to complete a "final product," some sort of concrete representation of the collaborative efforts of Capstone students across their disciplines and with the community partners they serve. The final products for this class are the performances we will stage at the end of the term. Through the course of planning these performances, we will determine our objectives for the sessions, and we will evaluate the success of our work collaboratively according to our objectives. Everyone in the class will earn the same grade-up to 100 points-for the project.