Ova Saopeng is a teaching artist at TeAda Productions, a theater program that helps immigrants and refugees find healing through workshops and performances.
“Through the workshop, it hopefully changes their mood, their sense of belonging, and their sense of value,” he said. “It’s really a great way to open up, and I think through that is where the healing comes from.”
Meet Ova: theater instructor in Los Angeles, California
Ova Saopeng: What does freedom look like in your body? What does justice look like in your body? What is that image, or what is that stance? I’m a teaching artist and an actor with TeAda Productions, and we work with refugees and immigrants.
(Ova and the class making an expressive noise together.)
Ova helps refugees and immigrants heal through theater.
Most of them, when they come in the room, they’re stressed. They’re having a hard time living life because they’re in a whole other country, having left — and basically they’re seeking asylum. They’re seeking refuge. Where do they go to? They’re lost.
(Class exchanging a dramatic welcome to one another.)
Sometimes it does come out: the trauma, the hurt, the concerns, the stress. And so it’s really a great way to open up, and I think through that is where the healing comes from.
(Class chanting an exercise, then shouting together.)
Through the workshop, it hopefully changes their mood, their sense of belonging, and their sense of value.
(Excerpt from a theater production; people dancing.)
I’ve been fortunate and privileged to be transformed through theater, so I want to give that opportunity to the folks who are here.