“Team Intermission”: Stress Relief for Theatre Students By: Gretchen Lumpkin

Those involved in the world of theatre know the time, energy and commitment it requires to keep its world thriving. Those outside of the theatrical setting may not fully grasp this.


Students who are a part of the Hardin-Simmons University Theatre Department saw a need and with the help of Dr. Victoria Spangler, associate professor of theatre, the HSU Counseling Department and its students, “Team Intermission” was born. Team Intermission is a mental health and stress-relief event made especially for the busy schedules of HSU theatre students. Team Intermission is designed to create an environment where these busy students can put everything else on hold and just relax.


“There is always something going on in the theater and many times events and rehearsals overlap, so it absolutely can get exhausting. Anyone would agree if you are up at the school from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.,” said Emilie Johns, a junior musical theatre major from Wylie. “Theatre is what we all love and are passionate about but it truly is like a full-time job mixed with going to school, which is already like a full-time job.”


With classes, extracurricular activities and rehearsals all going on, Dr. Spangler and a lot of the theatre students had noticed the Counseling Department was holding multiple stress relief events in the evenings, at a time when all the stretched-thin theatre students had rehearsal. After meeting with Ashley Slaughter, a graduate student from Ranger in the HSU Counseling Department, they agreed the students needed their own event catering to the needs of the department and held at a time and place that would allow theatre students to participate.


Thus, “Team Intermission” was born. Every other Tuesday from 12 to 1 p.m., theatre students join together in the Voice and Diction room in Van Ellis Theatre where Slaughter leads them through guided meditations, breathing exercises and encouragement to find time in their day, even if only for five minutes, to go sit in a corner somewhere, relax, breathe and give their minds and bodies a break.


“It has been an excellent opportunity. It was definitely a prevalent need, especially last semester, and I’m extremely grateful that Dr. Spangler saw that need and and acted upon it,” Johns said. “I’ve taken these events to heart and even got a meditation app myself and I have seen a noticeable difference. We are so glad an event like Team Intermission is now available.”