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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bringing Type 2 diabetes to theatre: Examining Appalachian audience reflections on The Sugar Plays

  • Author(s): Wright, Kallia Odette
  • et al.

The Sugar Plays are a family-focused health intervention. The goal of the play is to explore the experience of living with a Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) diagnosis in Appalachia. This present study examined audience reactions using three data-collection methods: (1) open-ended questionnaires, (2) participatory sketches and (3) semi-structured personal interviews. This qualitative analysis of 30 audience members who participated in all three methods found that they articulated lessons learned from the plays, evaluated the characters’ behaviors, and engaged in reciprocal storytelling. The audience’s reactions demonstrated that narrative telling is relational and that audiences were critically engaged in the process. The plays also helped health practitioners foster conversations about diabetes, the impact of intergenerational dietary habits, and the role of intergenerational buffers.

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