USAO Drama Spreads Awareness, Gives to Community

Katie Davis, USAO assistant professor of drama, leads a brainstorming session about service learning to drama students. From left: Chris Bennett, Jeff Gray, Jessica Gray, Bobby Barron, Katie Davis and Russell Cunningham.

USAO Drama Spreads Awareness, Gives to Community


For drama students at USAO, it was the “summer of service.” They reached into the community by teaching art to Boy Scouts, served as actors in a police training program, and provided muscle to the reopening of the Washita Theater in downtown Chickasha.

“USAO drama students are encouraged to find immediate opportunities to share what they learn with the community,” said Katie Davis, assistant professor of drama. “Service is central to the interdisciplinary focus of the drama program, and I am always proud to see our students making a difference by donating their time and training to community causes.”

Senior drama major Roderick Kohl led the outreach for Boy Scouts. Kohl, who previously earned his Eagle Scout rank, said he enjoyed working with the Troop 267 of Midwest City. It’s doubly special for him because he is also from Midwest City.

“It gave them something else to do so they wouldn’t have repetition of the same activities they do while in scouts,” Kohl said.

USAO Drama put on skits, taught gruesome makeup techniques and provided acting lessons to the young audience. Mike Wepel, Troop 267 scoutmaster, said the event meant a lot to his scouts.

“I know that this event provided the scouts (with) a wonderful opportunity to gain insight into the world of drama, and I have received nothing but praise from each scout in Troop 267 from Midwest City, Oklahoma,” Wepel said.

In late August, Kohl and fellow thespian Jessica Gray, of Chickasha, helped the Chickasha Police Department by role-playing during a field training and evaluation program.

Lt. G.G. Music, Jr., was thankful for how much Kohl and Gray’s performance enhanced the program.

“Without their assistance, this training would not have been as meaningful and vivid,” he wrote in a thank you letter to Katie Davis. “They are a credit to USAO.”

After years in disarray, the historic Washita Theater in downtown Chickasha was reopened for its first-ever live performance, and USAO Drama was there to be a part of it.

The theater was converted from its original form — a movie theater — to a new house for live performances.

The first show in the newly renovated theater was “Once Upon A Mattress,” and Kohl said he was fortunate to be involved with it.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “It was a once-a-lifetime experience because it is (vital) to the Chickasha community,” Kohl said.

Kohl said he is proud of the fact that the USAO Drama department’s summer activities served as a great way to make a name for USAO in the community.

“It was a good bond between the USAO Drama Department and the Chickasha community, and it was giving back to the community,” he said.

Davis said she is proud of the variety of service projects by drama students this summer.

“Ask a drama major, ‘what did you do this summer?’ and you’d better be prepare for a long conversation,” she said.