New Repetitions Questions and Suggestions for a More Trauma-Informed Production Process

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Karie Miller
Kelsey Miller
Elizabeth Wellman


Trauma-informed care’s basic premise is that people are shaped by what has happened to them and what they have had to do to survive it. There is no shortage of examples to this effect, especially in our post-#MeToo and post-#WeSeeYouWAT culture. It’s easy to spot what isn’t working, but much harder to do something differently. That requires unlearning the decades of training and practice embedded in the performing arts. It requires us to deconstruct the perpetuated harm, justified by the cultural value of survival, grit, and the starving artist myth, though many of us, as educators, were taught those same rules when we were students. This article offers practical questions and suggestions for this process of deconstruction, specifically targeting every phase in the life cycle of a production.

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Notes from the Field
Author Biographies

Kelsey Miller

Kelsey is a Marriage and Family Therapy Associate in the state of Oregon with a Masters in Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy from Lewis and Clark Graduate School. Their Bachelors is in Ceramics and Sculpture from Southern Oregon University. They have training in attachment theory, somatic psychology, interpersonal neurobiology, transformative justice, trauma informed care, harm reduction, and experiential therapy models sprinkled in. Kelsey describes themself as a white, nonbinary, queer person, a double Leo, a maker of many things, a good dancer, a deep thinker and carer, and loud laughing goofball. When they aren’t offering therapy to mostly queer and trans people you can find them crafting an object, cooking, playing with friends, cuddled up in a cozy spot with a fur friend, or generally loving on their community.

Elizabeth Wellman , University of North Carolina Wilmington

Dr. Elizabeth Wellman (she/her/hers) is a historian and theatre-maker whose work centers intersectional voices and experiences on stage, in studio, and in traditional classroom environments. Her areas of specialization include burlesque performance history, popular culture and television studies, African American and Black theatre history, and intersectionally inclusive pedagogy. Her work has been presented at ATHE, ASTR, and MATC. Wellman’s current research interrogates workers’ rights and safety through the history of American chorus girls, an historically unprotected group whose financial and physical precarity demonstrates larger systemic issues on the American stage. Her dissertation,Taught It to the Trade: Rose La Rose and the Re-Ownership of American Burlesque, 1935-1972, troubles narratives of cultural and artistic illegitimacy in mid-century burlesque performance. Wellman’s master’s thesis focused on theatre made by and for survivors of sexual violence. 

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