Heather Carver, an assistant professor of theater at MU, uses the stage to give a voice to those who otherwise might not be heard.
Carver encourages others to portray their realities through programs such as MU’s Writing for Performance, which she co-directs, and the Life and Literature Performance Series. Both of these programs allow people to use the medium of play writing and production to tell stories of their own.
“I believe that stage performance can be a means of expressing experiences in many different ways,” she said. “It can be a place to use imagination and be creative, and allow people to find ways to have their voice heard.”
Carver kept this theme of promoting the stories of marginalized voices as she worked with Elaine Lawless, an MU English professor, to start the Troubling Violence Performance Project.
The project began with the two women adapting stories about intimate partner violence from Lawless’ book “Women Escaping Violence: Empowerment through Narrative” for the stage. Soon audience members began giving their stories of violence to the troupe, and Carver said they now perform more of these stories than the original narratives.
Carver got back recently from a conference in Kansas City where the group performed along with panels representing other MU students and alumni involved in writing for performance.
Carver, 36, has been at MU since the fall 2000, coming from Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. She likes to spend time with her husband, Bill Horner, a visiting political science professor at MU. They have two daughters, Tricia and Ellie.