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Theatre & Drama Dept. play is centerpiece of campuswide campaign to prevent sexual assault


The University of Michigan has launched a major sexual assault prevention campaign in conjunction with the premiere of a play that marks the first commissioned work for the Big Ten Theatre Consortium's New Play Initiative.

Good Kids, a new drama by Naomi Iizuka to be performed by SMTD's Department of Theatre & Drama, serves as the centerpiece of an orchestrated U-M campus and community outreach campaign called Expect Respect: Flip the Script, one of several new initiatives added to the university's extensive ongoing sexual assault prevention efforts in the current academic year.

Post-performance guided discussions, bystander training, school performances, role-playing exercises, expert lectures and social media will be some of the tools used to generate awareness and conversations.

Good Kids, directed by Gillian Eaton, assistant professor of theatre & drama, explores the very public aftermath of a sexual assault and its cover-up among students at a Midwest high school. It will be performed on Oct. 2-5 and Oct. 9-12 in the Arthur Miller Theatre on North Campus. Tickets:

Iizuka is the author of more than 25 plays, including "36 Views," "Strike-Slip," "Anon(ymous)," "At the Vanishing Point" and "Polaroid Stories."

In 2010, Big Ten theatre department chairs realized that although most of their students were women, the majority of parts were by and for men. Over the next five years, the Big Ten Theatre Consortium's New Play Initiative will commission five plays to be written by rising American women playwrights with age-appropriate roles for college women.

The initiative, which includes plans to produce the plays at the consortium member universities, is the first program and collaboration of its kind. U-M is the first member of the consortium to produce "Good Kids."

U-M students are providing substantial momentum and leadership in the Expect Respect: Flip the Script initiative. In addition to the entire cast and crew of "Good Kids," a cohort of student ambassadors will receive expert training by professionals from U-M's Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center in bystander awareness and sexual assault prevention techniques. These trained students will fan out across campus to perform excerpts from the play and facilitate discussions about the issues it raises.

A website dedicated to the show and the Expect Respect: Flip the Script campaign will debut this month featuring an illustration by graphic novelist Phoebe Gloeckner, associate professor at the U-M Stamps School of Art and Design. She is known for "The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures" and for her graphic reporting on the murders of young women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Social media, including encouraging and posting student responses to "Good Kids," will play a major role in the outreach campaign, broadening the reach of its message and having a lasting impact once the production is over.

Also in October, as part of the Expect Respect: Flip the Script campaign, U-M will host Chris Kilmartin, author of "The Masculine Self" and an expert on gender and violence prevention. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Army on sexual assault and harassment prevention. His lecture, "Guy Fi: The Fictions that Shape Men's Lives," will take place Oct. 2-3 at the Rackham Amphitheatre.

In addition to the long-standing sexual violence prevention programming already in place, all incoming students this year will participate in bystander intervention training related to sexual assault and relationship violence prevention, and other possible situations of harm.

U-M's Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center-which works to promote healthy relationships, teaches nonviolence and equality and supports survivor healing-provides educational and supportive services for the U-M community related to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment and stalking. SAPAC Director Holly Rider-Milkovich recently spoke at a U.S. Senate subcommittee roundtable on campus sexual assault and was one of the negotiators for the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act of 2013.

Among the departments and offices involved in the U-M sexual assault campaign designed around the "Good Kids" production are: the Office of New Student Programs, Department of Women's Studies, Department of Athletics, Division of Student Life, Office of Institutional Equity, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Theme Semester, SAPAC, TeenVoice, Residential College, Office of Greek Life and SafeHouse Center, a community-based service organization in Washtenaw County. The initiatevie is supported in part by the Office for the Vice Provost for Equity, Inclusion, and Academic Affairs.

Last year, U-M introduced a new student sexual misconduct policy after extensive review of an interim procedure that went into effect in August 2011 in response to guidance from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. For more information on the policy, visit:

Trailer for Good Kids




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November 2012
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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower