April 19, 2012

SUNY Empire State College Faculty and Students Present "War Stories"

GE Theatre at Proctor's, April 24, 7 p.m., Free and Open to the Public; Live Webcast

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – April 19, 2012)  Members of the faculty, students and staff of SUNY Empire State College present “War Stories,” a performance piece featuring the voices of men and women in the military, as well as those on the homefront, who have been profoundly touched by war.

The project is crafted by three of the college’s Northeast Center faculty, Elaine Handley, Claudia Hough and Cindy Bates, from texts supplied by members of the college community, and is directed by Bates.

“The power of live performance brings these stories and poems to life in a way that promotes healing not only for those who those who lived these experiences, but for our community as a whole,” said Bates.

“It's been privileged and exciting work to weave these stories together into an honest narrative about how war affects us all,” said Handley.

Handley, Hough and Bates will be featured on News Channel 13 in Albany as part of the 5:30 p.m. newscast on April 19, in a segment reported by Elaine Houston.

To watch the webcast live click here a few minutes prior to the performance.

About War Stories

The War Stories performance began as a writing course: "War Stories: Reading and Writing About the Impact of War," and was created by Hough and Handley, who teach writing and literature at the college.

A primary goal of the course is to provide students, especially military veteran students, a safe place to read, discuss, reflect and write about war. From the conversations and writing assignments the course engendered, they found stories about war to be enormously complex, emotional and political, full of ambiguity and surprises.

Moved by what they had learned from their students, and from their reading of experts, Hough and Handley came to understand the vital role communal storytelling about war can play.

In order for warriors to reintegrate, they need to tell their stories, and the community needs to hear them and acknowledge the sacrifice those in the military have made on behalf of the community.

Warriors aren’t the only people affected by war; others who have experienced war directly or indirectly, and who have protested war, also have stories that need to be told and heard.

To encourage the wider college community to think about the many ways war affects people both personally and as a community, Hough and Handley teamed up with Bates, a colleague and theater director, to create a performance and provide an outlet for students, faculty and staff to tell their stories.

For the past year, they have been working to create a live dramatic performance based on a diverse selection of writing about war they solicited from the college's students, staff and faculty.

The script consists of many voices of men and women who have been to war, as well as from those on the homefront. The performance has no political agenda, but invites the audience to come to a deeper understanding of how all are affected by war.  

The performance will be streamed live on April 24 at 7 p.m. at choose.esc.edu/WarStories.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout their college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace of their choosing.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 63,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

More information about the college is available here.


Media Contact

David M. Henahan, Director of Communications
518-587-2100, ext. 2918

(after 5 p.m. and weekends)

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