Veterans in the Theatre: New collaboration coming to SUNY New Paltz this March

FlierThe Office of the President, the Division of Enrollment Management, the Department of Theatre Arts and the Office of Veteran and Military Services will present “The Veterans Project: Leaving Theatre,” March 10 at 3 p.m. in Parker Theatre.

The production is created and directed by Fay Simpson, former instructor at the Yale School of Drama and founder of the Lucid Body Company.

“Leaving Theatre” is a unique piece that brings professional actors and veterans together to perform scenes dramatizing the challenges veterans face after being discharged. The performers then turn to the audience for an interactive discussion about the issues presented and how the scenes could have played out differently.

“This production has the potential to serve the campus community as a professional development piece for faculty and staff, and as an informational piece for students,” said Jason Gilliland, coordinator of veteran & military services. “By engaging with the challenges veterans face in their service and in reintegration, faculty and staff can learn more empathetic approaches to working with service members and their families, while students can gain insights into military experience they might not otherwise come to understand.”

This performance marks the first time the Office of Veteran & Military Services and the Department of Theatre Arts have collaborated on a production, but both envision the performance leading to more collective veteran outreach at SUNY New Paltz in the future.

“Jason brought us this opportunity, and we can’t feel more fortunate that he did,” said Associate Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts Ken Goldstein. “Our department’s work often tries to have a social justice undertone, whether it’s in programming, in curriculum or just in trying to contextualize the importance of arts in society. Our students and faculty, as artists, are interested in having our work be meaningful.”

The Department of Theatre Arts will accommodate the project by providing performance and rehearsal space, student support with lighting design and some light props and furniture. Theatre students will enjoy a unique opportunity “to shadow the early rehearsal process and get to see this professional company at work,” Goldstein said.

The project demonstrates the innovation New Paltz is putting forth in striving to meet the criteria of the “The 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success,” a voluntary initiative through the U.S. Departments of Education, Veterans Affairs and Defense that highlights specific ways colleges and universities can support veterans in higher education.

For more information about this event, please contact Niza Cardona, director of student accounts, at or 845-257-3157.

More information about Veteran & Military Service at SUNY New Paltz is available at

More information about the Lucid Body Veterans Project is available at