A Success Story

Recently, while facilitating a work integration program for patients with severe mental illness, Karen used drama to engage participants, enhance their focus and prepare them to present a Spring Fashion Show.

The show was dramatically arranged; complete with red carpet, music and detailed commentary. It was staged for a packed house of patients, staff, and family members. All of the patient-models engaged entirely in the process and remained on task leading up to the show; from rehearsals to selecting work-clothing combinations, to the trip to the salon for hair and make-up prior to working the runway.

Each and every patient-model gave an exceptional performance with a level of engagement, alertness, and clarity of purpose that astounded many staff members including psychiatric staff. This created a 'buzz' for days, especially as some of the patients Karen worked with had not been thought capable of achieving what they had so easily done, with her coaching and guidance.

Karen proved that having "lofty expectations" can lead to success. Karen attributes the success of her charges to the principles and practices of Theatre at Work.


If we take man as he is, we make him worse. If we take a man as he should be we make him capable of becoming what he can be.
~Viktor Frankl: Why believe in others


"The Fashion Show that Ms. Freeborn (Karen) put together gave people with severe and persistent illnesses a chance to demonstrate their abilities, express their very individual personalities, and channel their creative energies and enthusiasm. In the time that they worked on this project, and for some time after, they were not patients; rather, they were people living in the moment and building a meaningful experience together."

~Ambrose Cheng, Psychiatrist