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Writing the next story

Theater is a risky and powerful space. For CSI Highline teaching artist Jéhan Òsanyìn, it is also a therapeutic place, a classroom that offers students a special freedom to share their lives openly with others. It’s also a place to shrink the distance between peers and teachers, and to demonstrate how sharing personal stories is among the most powerful ways to cope with trauma, loss, or life’s challenges. Theater becomes a vessel, a way to feel “whole, and human, and enough.”

Jéhan’s career in theatre began when she was in 6th grade — the same 
age as some of her students now. The theatre classrooms of her past were full of games and laughter and caring teachers. It is important to her that her students remember her classroom in a similar light. But it is also a 
place where she pushes students to be serious and to think through the perspective of an audience. In real life, the audience is also how society sees you, and Jéhan helps students see that their real lives, their own stories,
 are valid and valuable, too. Every student’s experiences are important, and sometimes you have to make society’s audience see that validity by stepping up to tell, and write, your own story.

- An Excerpt from Arts Corps

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