Alumni Spotlight: Saharra Dixon

Saharra Dixon

Saharra Dixon graduated with an MA in Educational Theatre in January 2020, specializing in applied theatre

Tell Us About Yourself

I am a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and Community-engaged Theatre Artist. Primarily, I curate interactive and educational arts-based health and social justice interventions, workshops, and performances. I use theatre techniques like play, devising, scripting, improvisation, and Theatre of the Oppressed to achieve this. I believe the arts can be used as a powerful tool for behavioral and social change. I work to empower communities to engage in their own learning process. My expertise is in reproductive justice, maternal/child health, adolescent health, minority health, and sexual health. Originally from Atco, NJ, I began training as a performing artist at New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia, PA (under the direction of Walter Dallas and Patricia Scott-Hobbs), and continued working with many artists and teachers. I’ve worked with United Way, Planned Parenthood, NYU, University of Delaware, and several communities. I am currently a Sexual and Reproductive Health Educator. I received my MA in Educational Theatre from NYU, BS in Health Behavior Science from University of Delaware, and am a CHES® as recognized by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC).

Can you recall a memorable in-class or general NYU experience that struck you as particularly meaningful?

I am very vocal about my participation in the Theatre and Health Lab’s As Performance Series. I discuss my experience almost every chance I get because it was so monumental for me in terms of my own healing and academic and professional development. Turbulence is an original play exploring the experiences of creative arts therapists and health education specialists who identify as Black and Brown People of Color (BPOC) that was staged at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York City from April 11-14th, 2019. It was written by Daimaah Mubashir, director Britton Williams and members of the ensemble. This resulted in a participatory action research (PAR) process led by Dr. Nisha Sajnani and Britton Williams. This process allowed me to explore and observe the devising process and how transformative theatre can truly be. It also taught me how to take care of myself and others as a facilitator.

Another memorable moment was my Summer 2019 study abroad trip to Ireland with Professor Joe Salvatore. Aside from working directly with Ireland’s finest theatre practitioners, the experience helped me better articulate my artistry, learn from my peers, and explore different methods for my work. Phil Kingston’s (Abbey Theatre) Asking For It workshop, co-writing a script in four days, and site-specific work at Giant’s Causeway were meaningful to me.

What’s next for you?

I will continue advocating for theatre and public health. I’d eventually like to lead a program that explores similar themes, because arts-based inquiry is important. I’d also like to produce more work; I’m currently developing an immersive theatre in health education experience for young audiences. You can learn more about my work at TheDramaticHealthEducator.com. This degree can do so much for you. Take advantage of the opportunities, articulate, network, and believe in yourself!