Applied Theatre Initiative


Christians in Theatre Arts ( exists to encourage and equip Christian theatre artists to impact the world and further the Kingdom of God.  The Applied Theatre Center (in Greenville, SC) is a bridge between organizations offering programs which meet the needs of individuals and communities and theatre artists trained in a variety of applied theatre techniques.

Applied theatre, one of four initiatives in CITA, is an umbrella term for many theatrical techniques which are used to better the lives of individuals, groups and communities. Through our partnership with the Applied Theatre Center, CITA is exploring how we can employ theatre in obedience to the commandment to “love our neighbors.” The goals may be spiritual, psychological,or political but our motivation is always love, first for God and then for our neighbors.

Through applied theatre we provide experiences which deepen our walk with Christ as well as training in how theatre can impact the lives of people in our churches and in our communities – especially people who are marginalized through disabilities or disadvantaged living situations. In Greenville, SC the ATC is conducting theatre programs for the homeless, addicts in recovery, abandoned children in group homes, people on the autism spectrum, and others.

For more information visit the ATC Facebook page or contact us at

2014 SETC ad2 (2)

  Introduction to Theatre of the Oppressed

     January 23-24, 2015

    Taught by Carli Gaughf, ATC Director of Community Partnerships

Theater of the Oppressed provides tools for people to explore collective struggles and then experiment with inventing a new future together through theater. In T.O., theater is emphasized not as a spectacle but rather as a language accessible to all. In this two-day workshop, participants will be introduction to the purpose and methods of T.O., with a focus on the forms of Image Theatre and Forum Theatre.

Carli Gaughf  is a director, facilitator, educator, and performer. She worked in New York City for nearly a decade where she produced and directed performances of new works and taught theatre workshops for young artists. She has a passion for using theatre to explore stories with marginalized communities and has created performances in prisons, senior centers, and community centers. She moved to Greenville this year to facilitate workshops and build community partnerships with The Applied Theatre Center.  Carli has training in community-based performance from the renowned Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles and Urban Bush Women in Brooklyn, NY. She has a M.A. in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York and a B.A. in Theatre from Florida State University.

Registration powered by RegOnline


Here is what people are saying about the summer 2014 series of Applied Theatre and Spiritual Formation workshops:

The workshop on spiritual formation and worship was so inspiring for me.  Personally I was able to connect with God and the other participants in an intimate and dynamic way.  The enacted prayer touched me deeply, giving me new hope for the situation we prayed for.  I saw lives invigorated and changed through the experience.  As an MFA Theatre student, I found new avenues to explore for my thesis work and made some wonderful contacts.  I am challenged now more than ever to use Applied Theatre practices to change people and communities.  Anne Kinnebrew, MFA candidate U of Central FL

I recently attended an ACT workshop in Nashville, TN. I learned of the workshop through CITA and I’m so glad I attended. With a degree in Film and Theatre, I expected this to be a “traditional” acting class – but I was pleasantly surprised. I had no clue that such healing can take place with Applied Theatre – personally and spiritually. I loved it so much, I’m now considering to pursue an education in Applied Theatre. I HIGHLY recommend this program to EVERYONE!  – Peyton W., Little Rock, AR

“The AT Conference in Greenville, SC, was extremely valuable as a theatre artist, as a Christian, and as a Christian theatre artist. While I genuinely appreciated learning about AT and the Playback Cafe, I was personally inspired by Dale and the other participants in the workshop, leading to a deepening of my Christian faith. Perhaps most importantly, I walked away from the AT Conference with a renewed purpose for why I must, especially because I am a Christian, be involved in theatre. What’s more, as a professor of theatre, I am excited to bring these exercises and new insights to my performance students!”

Simon Provan
Assistant Professor of Theatre and
Head of Performance Studies
Wisconsin Lutheran College
Member of Actors Equity Association

“After attending the AT conference, I felt a refreshed sense of calling in my life as a Christian performer in theatre arts. Interacting with people of faith who pursue the arts is powerfully inspiring, and I walked away with new perspectives to think about as well as new friends. The collaborative nature of the conference was my favorite aspect: sharing games, discussing perspectives, and celebrating diversity in our interpretations. We are not in this calling alone, and I am thankful for the work of Dale Savidge and applied theater to remind us of that.”  Leah Thomas, Playback Café Greenville SC

The weekend reminded me why I am so passionate about using theatre in the context of healing, outreach and personal growth. I was encouraged to be surrounded by like-minded and like-spirited people of all ages who have a love for theatre as well as a love for others. Not only did we have a blast all weekend playing games, learning about Playback Theatre and getting to know one another, we were immersed into a deep well of spontaneity, creativity and invaluable education and resources. I was sad to for the weekend to end and wish it had lasted a week! Melinda Wilson, MA, (Educational Theatre & Theatre in Ministry)

I am so thankful to learn about playback theatre, and how it is used as a tool for ministry.  The concept is new to me, and offers a refreshing look at how life events might be interpreted toward therapeutic, even spiritual ends.  Even though I have been more involved with the logistics of theatre, this conference gave me a broader understanding of those involved in acting and improvisation.  I have a new appreciation for those who are able to glean life changing moments and present them theatrically with the goal of ministry to those who are struggling with past trauma.  Thank you for including me and allowing me the chance to be involved with such a unique ministry!  Lawrence Jones, MDiv candidate, Southern Methodist University TX

“At the Applied Theatre Conference in Greenville, SC, Dale Savidge guided us in deepening our faith as theatre artists and developing our theatre leadership skills as Christians. The various sociodrama exercises, Playback Theatre Forum, and Enactment Prayer allowed for clear self-discovery, engaging in team growth, and strong faith formation. My fellow participants inspired me; their ideas, passion, and skills encouraged me to continue my work in theatre and gave me renewed strength to share my faith with others who work in theatre. I left the conference feeling inspired, revitalized, and challenged. I look forward to using the skills and experiences I have gleaned from the conference in my own work, and anticipate sharing them with family and friends. I also look forward to exchanging unique encouragements and challenges from the new friends I met through the conference. This conference was a profoundly precious experience for me as I struggle through understanding my call as a Christian, a leader, and a theatre artist. I am deeply thankful for the work, study, and passion that Dale Savidge has offered to the field of applied theatre, seen clearly through this conference. I anticipate learning and experiencing more about the unique relationship between our faith and our call as theatre artists.” Kaile Videtich, Grand Rapids MI

I have attended many theater conferences but I can honestly say none has left me with such a sense of direction.  It is so powerful to be given and practice skills that can be applied in real world situations.  Also, having attendees that are using the skills on a regular basis in their work is a huge encouragement.  God was at work this weekend forming a unique bond between all of us. God is definitely using Applied Theater to further His kingdom here on earth.   Ann Mitchell