SC 101: The Healing Power of Theatre

Can theatre comfort the suffering and heal the wounded? Can it rehabilitate the prisoner and reduce the chance of reoffending? While theatre performances are happening on Broadway, in community theatres, and on college campuses, performances are also taking place in prisons and on military bases. This course will explore how theatre can be a powerful instrument for transformation and recovery for at-risk communities.


Meet Your Professor

Department Chair of Theatre Arts, Professor of Theatre Arts

Jennifer Nostrala, MFA

I have been directing and teaching theatre for over twenty-five years. I am currently chair of the theatre arts department and an active member in our women’s and gender studies program.

Recent directing credits with Theatre Simpson include Moliere’s Tartuffe, Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, and a co-production with the Simpson College opera program of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. In the spring of 2016, I directed a play that I also wrote, Knowing Joan. In the play, a young songwriter, Yolande, is trying to find a way to move forward with her life when she finds herself haunted by Joan of Arc.

Over the past few years, I have worked with the Agents of Change on campus to create a performance for first-year orientation that deals with sexual assault and harassment on college campuses.

Directing credits off campus include Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Venus in Fur, and The Shape of Things at StageWest Theatre in Des Moines.  I directed the premiere of The Quiet Man at The Winterset Stage and Fat Pig at the Des Moines Social Club.

I have an MFA in directing from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. with majors in theatre and art from Simpson College. I live in Indianola with my husband, artist and professor Justin Nostrala. We have two boys, Seth (a first-year at Simpson) and Caleb (a sophomore in high school).


Meet Your SC Leader

Hello and welcome to Simpson College! I will be your SC Leader for The Healing Power of Theatre and I am super excited to meet everyone!

I will be a Junior this year and I am a Biology major with a Spanish minor. I am involved in many campus activities and organizations including Theatre, Speech, RLC, On the House Improv, Sustainability Club, Climbing Club, and Dance Club. In my free time, I enjoy writing, playing piano, and spending time outside (when it’s warm).

I grew up in Glenwood, Iowa, though I’ve lived in several other places before that; I was actually born in Heidelberg, Germany. I have two sisters that are both currently in high school, who are also involved in many school activities.

I am very much looking forward to being your SC Leader and doing my best to ensure your transition to college life goes as smoothly as possible. Feel free to email me anything this summer with any questions you might have:


Meet Your Writing Fellow