Easter Seals of Greater Houston, Adult LEAD Program

Clients involved in the Easter Seals LEAD (Life Enrichment for Adults with Disabilities) Adult Programs are adults who have experienced barriers with social integration and opportunities due to their physical disabilities. Based in Houston, TX, this program provides a safe environment for adults to socialize with one another and participate in activities enjoyed by all adults.

A.D. Players, Arts for All

Located in Houston, TX, “Academy Arts for All” is an inclusive program which offers those with learning differences a platform to create, express and perform under professional theatrical instruction. Instituted in Summer 2017, this program partners with local Houston area therapeutic and alternative learning institutes to provide student development through the arts. With a focus on teamwork, these courses create a cognitively-challenging environment where students are encouraged to develop creativity and social skill sets. Each course integrates elements of movement, music, vocalization and presentation with the end goal being to build participants’ confidence, community, socialization skills and self-expression.

The River/Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS)

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to teach at The River. The students (and theatre artists/teaching assistants/volunteers/staff members) worked very hard to showcase the upcoming TUTS Theatre Season through dance, music, art, and theatre provided by the students.

The River, located in Houston, TX, merged with Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) in 2010. The River offers instructional-based arts classes for individuals with disabilities, ages 4 to adults, as well as their siblings. Students can enroll in a distinct arts discipline that interests them, including music, dance, visual art, and acting. In the summer, The River provides an arts enrichment day camp with week-long sessions focusing on all aspects of musical theatre. These programs culminate in a celebratory opportunity for the students to perform for their family and friends.

B.R.A.V.O. & Independent Case Management

The development of B.R.A.V.O.S. “Vacation Gone Wrong” by the Because I Matter! Acting Troupe took a lot of preparation. The acting troupe developed the characters, dialogue, scene location, plot, obstacles and final outcome of the play. They used their imaginations and freedom to experience (and share) their creativity, risk taking, team building, and many other skills provided through Drama Therapy. I’m very grateful for the Independent Case Management staff members and volunteers that helped this production come to fruition.

The above video features two actors in the production of “Vacation Gone Wrong” by the “Because I Matter! Acting Troupe.” Take a look and see what they’ve learned from Drama Therapy and the importance of creating their own show.

Peyton works five days per week as a drama therapist for BRAVO: Bridging Recreational and Vocational Opportunities. BRAVO is Independent Case Management’s (ICM) day-support program for adults with developmental disabilities that provides activities to help build strong, independent citizens who contribute to their communities. BRAVO also includes hands-on employment training through paid internships in their retail stores, Biscuits and Bamboo.

Easterseals of Arkansas’ Center for Training and Wellness

Peyton has been selected by Arkansas’ Department of Human Services – Division of Community Service and Nonprofit Support (DCSNS) for the 2017 Community Service Award for providing drama therapy at Easterseals of Arkansas’ Center for Training and Wellness.

Drama Therapy Production of Easterseals: Speak Up for Yourself

The adults in the Drama Therapy program at Easterseals of Arkansas’ Center for Training and Wellness did a fantastic performance of Speak Up for Yourself! The cast created the storyline and came up with the dialogue for this anti-bullying play. As stated by one of the performers/clients: “I feel displeased sometimes. I feel disrespected. I don’t deserve to be bullied.” And this play represents how to overcome bullying in a positive manner. Great job to F.B.I. (Fair, Behave, and Interact) Acting Troupe!

Drama Therapy production of Easterseals: The Master’s Minds

The development of Easterseals: The Master’s Minds took a lot of preparation. The students developed the characters, dialogue, scene location, plot, obstacles and final outcome of the play. They used their imaginations and freedom to experience (and share) their creativity, risk taking, team building, and many other skills provided through Drama Therapy. The development of this play is proof that Drama Therapy provides many positive elements, especially teamwork and encouragement.

Meet Peyton and Mylon and hear them discuss the benefits of Drama Therapy at the Easterseals of Arkansas’ Center for Training and Wellness!

Mask Making

Group members of the Easterseals of Arkansas’ Training and Wellness drama therapy group completed an exercise on mask making. This exercise was a two part process involving the exterior and interior perspectives of oneself. The exterior represents how each participant thinks the “outer world” see him/herself based on having a disability. The interior reveals how each participant views him/herself. It is a great exercise that explores one’s self worth and self reflection.

Epilepsy Education and Group Support (E.E.G.S.)

Peyton taught a Drama Therapy workshop for E.E.G.S, an Arkansas based epilepsy support group. We focused on expressing emotions in a healthy manner, leadership, teamwork, and other important life skills. Here’s just a few photos from our workshop!

Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Burn Unit, YAR/Camp Sunshine

Peyton held a Drama Therapy workshop for Camp Sunshine and Young Adults Retreat (YAR). The organization was founded in 1991 as an attempt to promote physical and emotional healing, as well as growth and development of burned children. It now provides both adult and pediatric survivors across the state of Arkansas with an opportunity to establish lasting friendships, experience personal growth, and develop lifelong memories. Camp Sunshine and YAR are provided free of charge to the camper, as all counselors and volunteers attend on a volunteer basis. Funding is totally provided by the Arkansas Professional Fire Fighters who conduct fundraisers throughout each year to raise the thousands of dollars needed.

Pais Project

Peyton has taught two Christian-based drama therapy workshops for the Pais Project located in Arlington, TX. The drama therapy workshops were based over the weekend where missionaries from Germany explored how to show the love of Christ through drama, specifically within schools, the community, and churches.

What Is Drama Therapy?

North American Drama Therapy Association: “Drama Therapy is an active, experiential approach to facilitating change. Through storytelling, projective play, purposeful improvisation, and performance, participants are invited to rehearse desired behaviors, practice being in relationship, expand and find flexibility between life roles, and perform the change they wish to be and see in the world.”

Peyton Welch, MA, Registered Drama Therapist (RDT): “Drama Therapy is an expressive and action-oriented therapy that focuses on the here-and-now. It combines theatre techniques with therapeutic principals, providing a hands-on opportunity for change and personal growth.”

Playback Theatre Troupe, Kansas State University

The photos above represent a live performance as part of a Playback Theatre course at Kansas State University (KSU). The course was taught under the instruction of Randy Mulder, RDT/BCT. The photos were taken by Fatmah Al-Qadfan, the Marketing Director for the School for Music, Theatre, and Dance at KSU.

2016 NADTA Conference, Seattle, Art Project

Peyton’s art project was featured at the 2016 North American Drama Therapy Conference (NADTA) in Seattle, WA. The theme of the conference was “Sunshine Under the Umbrella,” featuring the importance of play in everyone’s life. Thus, Peyton’s project was designed as follows:

Outside Umbrella represents Emotional Struggles

  • There was a wooden box, note cards, and pens placed next to the umbrella. The attendees were encouraged to write down any struggles they were currently experiencing and place them inside the box, releasing any negativity.

Under Umbrella represents Inner Strengths

  • Once negative emotions were released, attendees could choose any color of PLAY(doh) that represented positive emotions they would like to experience. Attendees could choose more than one color and change them throughout the day/conference. The purpose of the exhibit is to acknowledge one’s positive creativity and PLAY(doh) with it!