Our Partnership with St. Joseph's
The Veterans Improvisation Rehab program is a collaboration between Pendragon Theatre and St. Joseph's Addiction Treatment and Recovery Center.
The brain-child of Robert Ross and led by Laura-Jean Swanson with facilitation by Dr. Patricia O'Gorman, veterans in recovery travel to the Pendragon stage once a week to practice improvisation exercises as a method of therapy.
In the summer of 2021, Pendragon performers from An Iliad visited St. Joseph's Veterans Program to present the play, outdoors with social distancing.
Read a testimonial below from St. Joseph's Veterans Program Director, Danielle Mangold.
"Pendragon Theatre's Performance of An Iliad Provides an Opportunity for Healing:
The actors, some of whom reside in our region while most were engaged from other theatres in New York City provided a Broadway-quality performance of the play.
An Iliad spins the familiar tale of gods and goddesses, undying love, and humanity’s unshakeable attraction to violence, all of which beg the question, has anything really changed since the Trojan War?
Following the performance, the Veteran residents participated in a “talk back”, an opportunity to speak with the actors about aspects of the play, and for the actors to ask the audience their perspective of the performance.
Veterans Program Director, Danielle Mangold, shares:
'The evening prior to the scheduled performance, I questioned whether this play should occur considering the bombing in Afghanistan that took the lives of 13 American service members just the day before.
From a clinical standpoint, I was concerned this event may create more harm than good. In consultation with St. Joseph’s Consulting Psychologist, Dr. O’Gorman, and Certified Recovery Peer Advocate, James Bornemann, it was agreed, that while this specific play was emotionally charged, it would hopefully provide a therapeutic platform for open communication and healing.
On Friday, the day of the event, my feeling was certainly anticipatory... would this foster healing or would this be the antithesis of such? During the performance and talk-back, it became clear to me, this performance not only provided joy in response to a momentary break for the normal schedule for our community, it also shaped a foundation for healing and recovery. Since the performance, therapeutic conversations continue to arise among the community reinforcing the inherent value in the integration of the arts and other experiential treatment modalities in the treatment of trauma.
As we say in recovery, there are no coincidences. Seeing the play normalized some of our Veterans’ experiences, reflected in the characters they saw portrayed. An Iliad also offered our veterans an opportunity to speak openly about their experiences, their frustrations, and their hopes, a conversation that is continuing."'