Vassar students to present performance created in collaboration with Hudson Valley Hospice, exploring illness, death, and healing, September 18-20, 2015

A group of Vassar students spent the summer interviewing Hudson Valley Hospice patients as part of the college's multi-year Creative Arts Across Disciplines initiative. One of this summer's Multi-Arts Collective research projects, "Healing Narratives: De-Stigmatizing Trauma and Illness through the Senses" culminates in the creation of the devised piece, In Light Of, to be performed September 18-20 in the Susan Stein Shiva Theater. This event is free and open to the public. Details about performance times are below.

In Light Of is a series of vignettes that explores the interaction of sound with the experiences of trauma and healing, and integrates audio recordings students collected from their hospice visits. The piece, written and choreographed by the students, illuminates the universality of death and the agency people have to shape and construct their own narratives.

In addition to the performances, installations representing the work's themes will be exhibited on campus from September 8-20. Also, in The Collaboratory, an adaptable, retrofitted trailer on campus, audio and visual elements that did not make it into the performance setting will be on view. It will be a space to reflect on the performance and to re-experience the voices and bodies that made it a reality.

"We are delighted to partner with Vassar College's Healing Narratives summer project. The students' open-minded approach to the subject matter, their gentle kindness with our patients and their thoughtful reflections brought joy and comfort to our patients as they shared their life stories, and has been indelibly etched in Hudson Valley Hospice's history. What started out as an interesting summer project has proven to be a gift to not only the students, but to our patients, their families and our staff. We look forward to continued collaboration with Vassar College," said Lisa Wilson, executive director, Hudson Valley Hospice Foundation. 

"This project has allowed us to reach out. Its opened up an awareness and sensitivity to the time we have," said Aran Savory, Vassar College senior and drama major. "We look forward to sharing that with Vassar and beyond—a deeper appreciation for the time we have to sculpt our stories as we live them."

Designed by students Joe DeGrand '17, Kelsey Greenway '16, Alex Raz '16, and Aran Savory '16, the project was mentored by Vassar faculty Sangeeta Laura Biagi, visiting assistant professor of Italian, and Michael Joyce, professor of English.

The Creative Arts Across Disciplines (CAAD) initiative at Vassar is generously funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for "campus accessibility information" on the Vassar homepage (

Directions to the Vassar campus, located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, are available at

About Vassar College
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

About Hudson Valley Hospice
Hudson Valley Hospice provides a full spectrum of compassionate care and family support to individuals in Dutchess and Ulster Counties when they decide that curative treatments are no longer an option. Hudson Valley Hospice care is a special kind of care, reflecting our mission to help individuals maintain their dignity and enhance their quality of life at a time when it matters the most.  For more information, please visit our website at


September 8-20

In Light Of
Susan Stein Shiva Theater
Friday, September 18, 7pm
Saturday, September 19, 3pm & 7pm
Sunday, September 20, 3pm
For tickets, email 

The Collaboratory
Monday, September 28 to Friday, October 2

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, August 28, 2015