Artistic Advocacy: Public Relations Student to Premiere Original Play About Opioid Epidemic at Akron Civic Theatre
Kent State University student and Trumbull County native Emelia Sherin is calling attention to Ohio’s opioid epidemic in a new way.
The public relations major – formerly a performer for Disney Cruise Line – combined her talents in the performing arts, writing and advocacy to write the play (In)Dependent: The Heroin Project.
(In)Dependent is being produced by the Akron Civic Theatre as part of the Millennial Theatre Project, and will be performed Aug. 4 and 5.
“I started writing the play because the media was bothering me so much; it was eating at me,” Sherin says. “It was so much to a point that I felt like I had to do something about it.”
The play tells the story about two people whose lives intersect as they struggle to overcome heroin addictions. Though the play explores heavy issues, Sherin also established light-hearted and educational moments throughout. At one point in the play, the characters attend a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, and later, the audience has an opportunity to directly engage with the characters.
By hosting the open discussion portion of the play, Sherin says she wants people to better understand the reality of heroin in Northeast Ohio and subsequently be moved to action. The Columbus Dispatch reported that at least 4,149 Ohioans died from unintentional drug overdoses in 2016.
“I want people to understand how they can help,” Sherin says.
Sherin says her public relations education has played a vital role in the development and production of this show, giving her an outlet to combine strategic thinking and advocacy.
“Kent State University has empowered and influenced me to be the best student, worker and human being I can possibly be,” Sherin says. “The history [Kent State] holds in activism has pushed me to reach out to society in a myriad of ways. I have always wanted to give a voice to those who are unable to physically, emotionally or mentally voice their passions or stances.”