April, 2016 Issue

In This Issue

21 online articles from this issue. Next



Sex Signals is a two-person, interactive play about gender stereotypes, myths surrounding sexual assault, consent and bystander intervention. "It's a show about how we can all contribute to a world where we treat each other better and respect each other on equal levels across genders and cultures," says Ben Murrie, the program's Contract & Client Relations Director. The campus market is where the program grew its roots, and continues to be a major focus. "The campus market is a big one for us," Ben says, "and that includes everything from very small community colleges to large state schools to the ivy leagues to conservative and religious institutions. The program runs the entire gamut of the college and university market. We also present for the military a lot as well. Sex Signals goes to every soldier entering basic training for the Army; we also do a training for the U.S. Navy and their initial entry training. The Marines and Air Force have received Sex Signals as well "

The tone of this show has been carefully crafted, as obviously the topical matter of Sex Signals consists of conversations many students have never openly had. "It is really difficult, because a lot of times, depending on the school system or home environment the students have come from, we are the first open conversation about sex these students have ever had. It's unfortunate this is the case but that is the reality of it, so we try and approach it from a perspective of meeting them where they are at. We are most often called in for orientations and new student programs, so we say 'Hey, college is a new and exciting experience, and there are all sorts of new things here, like learning and growth opportunities, both academic and socially. One of the things that is going to be on your mind is interacting from a dating perspective. There are some wonderful things about that and there are some confusing things about that and sometimes there are some dangerous things about that'. We want to talk to them about how those confusing things can ultimately lead to danger if we are not checking them and making sure we are in the right place in terms of paying attention to what other people and your partner want and respecting boundaries. One part of the presentation that has gained the most traction recently is the aspect of bystander intervention and how important it is in the reduction of sexual assaults and specifically date rapes on campus. "Students have to look out for each other. This is a new community that they are joining and it is important that they participate and watch each other's backs."

Christian Murphy, CEO of Catharsis Productions, is also co-creator of the program and was the first main male presenter. He summarizes perhaps the key element that has made Sex Signals the success it has on campus. "We try to talk WITH our audiences, as opposed to AT them. Some might consider that an unconventional way to have a conversation about sexual assault, but we have found the interactivity of having the audience involved in the conversation has made the message resonate incredibly well with them."

Catharsis Productions at 312-243-0022