Tuesday, July 10, 2018

InterPlay Atlanta July News

The Secrets of InterPlay
September 28th-29th

InterPlay Life Practice Program leaders, Christine Gautreaux, Carolyn Renée & Jennifer Denning
Learn how you can use the tools and ideas of InterPlay to 
unlock the wisdom of your body. 

Get your body, mind, heart, and spirit all on the same page.

Learn more about yourself through connection and community. 

Create more ease and fun in your life!

This multiple-day event will give you direct experience in many aspects of the InterPlay system developed by Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter over the last 28 years. The Secrets of InterPlay is the first part of The InterPlay Life Practice Program which will begin in Atlanta in October 2018. 

Friday, September 28th, 7-9 p.m., Saturday, September 29th, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, September 30th, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Registration/Information: 510-465-2797 or info@interplay.org


Saturday, July 14th
10-11:30 A.M.
The Mask Center

Friday, August 17th
12-1 P.M.
Sevananda Natural Foods Co-op

Sunday, August 19th
1-2 P.M.
Norcross Cultural Arts Center

Sankofa Communities: 
Embracing Yesterday, Creating Tomorrow

Soulprint Players offering a "gesture choir" on the theme of Sankofa
                     -photo by Ruth Schowalter

Sankofa: "It is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind."

On Wednesday, June 27th, InterPlay Atlanta's Soulprint Players partnered with the Early Edgewood-Candler Park Biracial History Project to lead the community in a ritual honoring and remembrance of the thriving black community that once lived in Candler Park. Soulprint Players shared the timeline illuminating the systematic edging out of the black community. 
Audience members are led in a "one hand dance" on behalf of our ancestors
                            -photo by Ruth Schowalter

The performance was followed by a community discussion about the effects of gentrification and how we can advocate for affordable housing and equitable communites in the present.

More information about a September performance and continued community engagment coming soon!

Our Liberty is Bound Together
InterPlay Atlanta partners with "Set Them Free"
Three Sentence Immigration Stories of the Plight of Turkish Refugees. Here, doing the InterPlay "Pittsburgh Form," one of the workshop participants finishes her three sentence story with the gesture of prayer and others follow.
-photo by Ruth Schowalter

InterPlay Atlanta is collaborating with Turkish immigrants and those seeking refuge in the Metro-Atlanta area. Joining Hafsay Grd of "Set Them Free," InterPlay leaders Ruth Schowalter and Christine Gautreaux are helping women and teenage girls to tell their immigration stories and that of 10,000 Turkish women and 650 children held unjustly in Turkish prisons. On June 26th, close to twenty-five women and children gathered for the storytelling workshop, "Our Liberty is Bound Together" at the Istanbul Cultural Center Atlanta and Atlantic Institute in Milton, Georgia. This performance workshop was part of the Art and Social Justice programming.


Stay tuned for an upcoming storytelling workshop in August!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

InterPlay Atlanta April News

"The Art of Recovery"
Saturday, April 14th

Men at Trinity House participate in the InterPlay warm-up
An InterPlay performance 
with the men of Trinity Community Ministries

Saturday, April 14th
3:00 p.m.

Trinity Community Ministries
21 Bell Street 
Atlanta, GA 30303
Recovery is an act of courage. InterPlay Atlanta has been visiting Trinity Ministries since March 2017 offering InterPlay sessions to the men of Trinity Ministries.  "The Art of Recovery" is an InterPlay improvisational performance based on InterPlay forms, by the men of Trinity Ministries to share with the community a creative approach to recovering a sense of themselves through InterPlay. Come out and support their journey of recovery!

"The Art of Recovery" is supported by a Project Development Grant from Alternate Roots with funding from The Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the Surdna Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Our Liberty is Bound Together: InterPlay & Set Them Free
Saturday, April 21st

Saturday, April 21st.
9:30 a.m.-noon
location TBD

All women and teenage girls are invited to a 3-hour InterPlay workshop to collaborate with "Set Them Free: No Moms and Babies Behind Bars in Turkey" an initiative to increase worldwide awareness of the 10, 000 women and 650 children (from newborn to age six) held in Turkish prisons as political prisoners after the failed coup attempt in Turkey.

After the InterPlay session, we will share food and learn about "Set Them Free" and the Gulen (Hizmet) Movement from women who used to call Turkey home. We hope to create friendships and together find ways to bring attention to the human rights violations against Turkish women and children in their own country. 

Everyone is welcome to come to solely play and learn. Your presence is welcome. And to those of you who are feeling compelled to make a difference with human rights issues, we hope this InterPlay workshop will be the beginning of a sustained effort to heighten the awareness of the world to the plight of these Turkish women and their children.

Certified InterPlay Leaders Ruth Schowalter and Christine Gautreaux will be facilitating. Attendance is free. Questions? Contact Ruth (404-580-2392, ruthtruth@mindspring.com) or Hafsa (girdap@icloud.com).

Soulprint Players at Earth Day Celebration
Sunday, April 22nd

2-3 P.M.

Sevananda Education Room
Sevananda Natural Foods Market
467 Moreland Ave,30307

Join InterPlay Atlanta and the Soulprint Players for Intergenerational InterPlay and a performance on "Earth Wisdom" at Sevananda's Earth Day Celebration. Check out the whole weekend's activities  here.

Earth is our Homeland-InterPlay & Earth Poetry
Saturday, May 5th

Saturday, May 5th
1-4 P.M.

The Atlanta Shambhala Center
1447 Church St.
Decatur, 30030

$25-30 or offer what you can

Join Dharma poet, Debra Hiers and InterPlay Atlanta co-founder, Jennifer Denning, for an afternoon of spacious play, connection, stillness and poetry in honor of our homeland- earth! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Applied InterPlay: Communicating Science Workshop at the Atlanta Science Festival

Written by Ruth Schowalter, certified InterPlay leader and MS Applied Linguistics and ESL

Have you ever thought about how you might embody the difference between weather and climate change? Do you know the difference? Well, we had tremendous fun playing around with those concepts at the InterPlay - Atlanta Science Festival 2018 workshop, “Communicating the Facts: More than a Feeling" (see the workshop description below).

Thanks to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s demonstration of “Weather versus Climate Change” on “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” (see this video), we invited pairs of people to play with this concept, with one person as climate change and the other as weather. The climate change partner was asked to choose a destination in the room and to walk to it in a fairly steady line, while the weather partner was given the task of moving (dancing?) erratically in front of or behind or around their climate change partner (Yes, we played music). Then we had the partners reverse their roles. In this way, each got to experience either the steadfastness of the climate trend, but also the variability of weather. 

The workshop participants were jubilant! Not only had the movement enlivened them and exploded the community room into happy chaos, but also something had clicked in the way each understood this hard-to-understand difference between daily weather patterns and long-term climate change. This is the “magic” of the connections made through kinesthetic activities while explored together with others.

On this March Friday evening, the doors to the Little Five Points Community Center for Arts & Community were open, allowing spring breezes to come in along with the close to 40 participants for our workshop. At the other end of the Community Center facility, the play “Freaky Friday” was playing to a sold-out audience at the Horizon Theatre. Some of theatre goers wandered down to see what we were doing. A strong sense of community was established – Science, InterPlay, and Theatre!

During our two hours together, my collaborators, two scientists, and I were overly ambitious for what we wanted to offer. Among some of the activities we InterPlayed with were the following how-to’s:

Play around with the scientific method 

Express the difference between beliefs-opinions-feelings, and facts

Release or vent frustration around communicating scientific concepts at a time when science under attack in the United States is called “fake news”

“Change” someone’s mind about his/her stance on scientific issues

“Change” someone’s stance on science? Really? How? A lot of us think that people who “don’t believe in science” are merely suffering from a “deficit of the facts.” To solve this lack of knowledge and resulting lack of concern about climate change, pollution, and endangered species – to name a few concerns – all one need do is provide a bouquet of scientific facts. Then the person we are addressing will change his/her mind. Right? Wrong! 

Facts may impact someone’s thinking in the short term (or not), but that change is not long lasting. People’s thinking is influenced by their communities (family, political groups, friends, etc.). However, there is hope for science communicators impacting the education of nonexperts.

This hope is in the form of narratives – telling stories! That is, when you tell a story from your life enfolding scientific facts, there is a greater chance of another person listening and being influenced by that story (See this article and this article as just a beginning). Knowing the powerfulness of stories in communicating science, at the conclusion of our workshop, we offered one of several InterPlay storytelling forms to our workshop participants. (I hope to explain about this in more detail in another blogpost, so stay tuned!).
Before participants left, they were asked to fill out an evaluation of our workshop, and we got high ratings of “excellent” along with some “very goods.” As our first time to offer a workshop on this topic, I know we have more to learn about playing around with communicating scientific facts. But this first effort was tremendously fun and seemingly successful!
Post "Communicating the Facts - More than a Feeling" workshop photo.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thanks to my collaborators, Tony Martin (science author, Emory educator 
Tony Martin
Dottie Stearns
and paleontologist) and Dottie Stearns (dancer, B.S. Environmental Sciences, and a Master’s of Public Health and pre-med student), who without their knowledge and commitment to science outreach this workshop would not have been possible. Thanks also go to the organizers of the Atlanta Science Festival, Jordan Rose, Meisa Sailaita, and Kellie Vinal, who shape this event in powerful and elegant ways. And as always, thanks to Phil Porter and Cynthia Winton-Henry for co-creating InterPlay

Workshop Description: This 2-hour improvisational workshop is a chance for participants (teens and adults) to engage their kinesthetic imaginations and affirm just how successfully they can communicate scientific facts, while also providing the means for addressing false or misleading information. The main goal is to help participants develop proactive skills for communicating environmental science on a range of topics such as global climate change, pollution, natural resources, and extinctions.

Science is based on facts, so how can we as science advocates communicate our knowledge when others don’t “feel” the same? Participants will have fun exploring new ways to express factual science through the improvisational activities of InterPlay. Using movement, story-telling and their voices, participants will be led incrementally into enlivening and personalizing the way they speak up for science.
SOME OF THE WORLD IS REPRESENTED HERE! After our workshop, participants lingered chatting and wanting different photo opportunities with Dottie, Tony, and me. Here, in the photo above you can see how diverse our crowd was. We had people from Atlanta, Georgia, and others from Colombia, Turkey, and Iraq. In the photo below, along with an Emory University student from Tony's Science Communication class, are Chinese Scholars visiting Georgia Tech posing with me (far right).

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Importance of Play for Men

The Men of Trinity House pose for this photo after an InterPlay Session with InterPlay Leaders-in-Training Ade Anifowose and Carolyn Renee.
Written by Ade Anifowose, InterPlay Leader-in-Training

“I stand for a society that creates space for men to play, a society that allows men to recreate themselves from moment to moment.” -Ade

There is a universal myth that men do not express emotions. I say "myth" because it is not true. Have you been around men watching sports, playing with their children or having an argument? Men express emotions, but not always in the same ways as women do.

The irony of this myth is when men do express emotions of gentleness, compassion, or kindness, their masculinity is questioned. Men are generally placed (by society) in a damned-if-you-do or damned-if-you-don’t situation.

Collectively, we all need to shift our mindset about what it means to be a man and develop a better understanding of men’s emotions. Let’s support men and boys in being with their emotions without a rush to judging those emotions being good or bad. Without support, emotions of rage, frustration, and anger intensify. We humans are emotional beings. Our emotions play a major role in how we show up in the world both in our communities and relationships.

Ade Anifowose, InterPlay Leader-in-Training
Atlanta, Georgia
I have found that InterPlay tools empower individuals to “have” their experience. I remember attending an “InterPlay Retreat for Men” last February, in Germantown, Maryland. It was mind-blowing. Watching men, play, create, share their stories, dance, and be in stillness, softened the edges of restrictions that I had placed on myself, based on what I was taught by society.

As an InterPlay Leader-in-Training, on a weekly basis I co-lead InterPlay at Trinity House in Atlanta. There, I get the opportunity to watch and experience men in recovery connect with innocence and their stories of belonging. I watch them share their gratitude for being able to connect with their inner child in a safe environment.  Through their stories, I am reminded that everyone wants to be acknowledged and heard.

There is an invisible thread that connects us all. When we play, we strengthen the connection and we are all the better for it. I stand for a society that creates space for men to play, a society that allows men to re-create themselves from moment to moment.

InterPlay is a rebellious act of self-care in a world where we are taught to not care about our own needs. It allows men to embrace their humanity, emotions, and expressions. This is a gift to humanity.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

InterPlay, Art & Social Change

Dear Friends,

As 2017 comes to a close I am reflecting on an incredible year.  It's been a year filled with many changes and calls to action for activists and people concerned with social justice.

In July, thanks to a leadership development grant from Alternate Roots (made possible by funds from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Surdna Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), I was able to travel out to Oakland, CA to InterPlayce the headquarters of Interplay.

The Door To Interplayce - Enter Here for Fun!
A view into the InterPlayce Studio

The back of the InterPlayce building

Here I participated in the second week of Art & Social Change for Millennial Leaders as a sacred lurker in order to learn about the program with the idea of bringing it to the East Coast.

The program is led by Agnotti  & Natty, two amazing millennial InterPlay Leaders with the support of the entire InterPlayce staff for two weeks.

During this program Interplayers learn practical ways to use art to bring awareness to social justice issues.
Heading out for InterPlay on the streets of Oakland with an art response

They listened to their inner authority,
had guest speakers,
took InterPlay to the streets/subways,
went in depth with InterPlay forms to access body wisdom,
did an art response at the peacekeepers park,
finished the week with a performance
and so much more!

Art & Social Change 2017 participants after the performance

 It was a wonderful chance to see the leaders of our organization in their natural habitats!

Some of our InterPlay Staff & The Co-founders!

The Art & Social Change program has made such a difference in so many lives & in the world!
I was so inspired by the leadership, participants and intersection of InterPlay and Social Justice work....Agnotti, Natty, Foluke & I are in the beginning stages of planning an additional Art & Social Change program, open to millennials plus other activists, for the last week of June 2018 - so save the date and stay tuned for more info!

In Peace and play,


Christine Gautreaux, MSW, CIL



Thanks to my friend & InterPlay leader Soyinka I had the best tacos ever at International & 22nd street!

Best Taco on the planet