Anthony Bannister and Theater as Tool for Healing

Last week, theater artist Anthony Bannister spoke to members of the Bowdoin Community in a talk at the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good on “Theater as a Tool for Healing.”

Bannister is a member of “Only Make Believe,” a non-profit theater company based in New York City that works with hospitalized children. Despite his current profession, Bannister did not always know he would become a performance artist working in the non-profit sector. He went to a science-and-math public high school in Harlem in the 1960’s, and went to college with science in mind. “I wasn’t listening to my spirit,” Bannister said. After discovering his love of performance through dance, old movies and gospel music, Bannister found his niche in helping disadvantaged communities through interactive theater work. He said that in life, “you are constantly performing, doing a role, to make others feel comfortable.”

Bannister brought his SBG Generation Bridge program to Bowdoin to reach out to Brunswick’s senior community and educate Bowdoin students in using theater as a tool for building relationships. When asked why he wanted to make the trip to Bowdoin for these two days, Bannister replied, “I wanted to share this wonderful work with the next generation.”

Janice Jaffe, Associate Director for Courses & Research at the Center for Common Good, said, “Anthony is doing amazing work bringing different generations together—building communities and empowering people at different ages. It’s a wonderful opportunity for Bowdoin students to see theater being used in a different way. It helps them think more broadly about what they might do with their theater experience.”