The students make a theatrical performance about the students’ well-being

In recent months, seven students have worked on student welfare and theater under an honors lab. They were instructed to find the story behind the numbers and process it in a creative way. ‘I want to give a face to the problems the students are facing.’

In order not to get stuck in vague terms, but to make students’ well-being visible and tangible, Vera van Berlo, education adviser at Radboud University, decided to make theater in an honors laboratory. The participating students were instructed to interview other students about their well-being. They were allowed to choose how they would shape the results of this, as long as it was in a creative way.

Theater is not an unknown area for Van Berlo. ‘Ever since I took theater lessons during my studies, I have been doing improv theater and practicing acting. The well-being of the students is an important issue in my work, and I wanted to see if theater and well-being could be combined. ‘ She supervised the honorary laboratory in collaboration with theater maker Corné van Sprundel.

Experiment

Rosan Witmond (21) is one of the participants. The sociology and law student has an affiliation with theater. “I especially enjoy being behind the scenes, but Vera encouraged us to try new things. I have a big mouth, but when I’m on stage I’m shy. I saw the honorary lab as a fun experiment to also feel a little better on stage. ‘

Students during the dress rehearsal. Own picture

Students were asked weekly to interview other students on topics such as stress, loneliness, mental health issues, and insecurity, but also on support, attachment, and joy. They had to convert the stories that came out of this into something creative. Everything went by: monologues, poems, dance and song. Van Berlo: ‘I was amazed at the students’ creativity.’

Lonely

Annet van Berkel (22) also participated. She has performed before, but since she graduated, she does not have time for it anymore. When she saw the call to the honorary lab, she seized her chance. ‘The subject appealed to me. I have a bit of a fear of failing since primary school, and when I look around, I see people everywhere who are experiencing problems while studying. ‘

‘I like helping others by being a listening ear’

Witmond: ‘In the honors lab, I got to know aspects of student well-being that I had never dealt with myself. In fact, I always do it well, which is why I like helping others by being a listening ear. ‘ Yet, over the past two years, she has often thought about the subject. “When I was able to spend less time with friends during the corona, I sometimes felt lonely.”

Expectation

On stage, students show a selection of what they have done in recent months. ‘The common thread is that we are getting closer and closer to the students,’ says Van Berlo. ‘The opening is superficial, but during the performance we get closer and closer to what the students are feeling and who they really are.’

Van Berkel combines monologue with acting. It’s about putting things in perspective and seeing opportunities. She hopes to be able to show the man behind the numbers. ‘I want to give a face to the problems the students are facing.’ Witmond agrees: ‘We have talked to so many students and heard various stories that cannot be summed up in numbers.’

Van Berlo is very proud of the students. “From the first lecture, everyone has been open to each other. I thought it was cool that students dared to show up in front of each other in such a vulnerable way. ‘ She is very excited about the show. “I’ve been dreaming about it for a week.”

The performance can be seen tonight (May 31) from kl. 20.00 to 20.45 in Theaterzaal C in the Elinor Ostrom building. Entrance from 19:45. More information can be found here.

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