Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD specialist, mixed media visual artist, author, writer for Huffington Post, TEDx and RAINN speaker, award-winning health advocate, actress and playwright. Amy has headlined international conferences on leadership, entrepreneurship, women’s rights, mental health, disability, creativity, and domestic violence prevention. Gutless & Grateful, her one- woman musical autobiography, since its NYC debut in 2012, has won seven national awards. Her writings have appeared in over 70 online and print publications, and her story has appeared on TODAY, Cosmopolitan and CBS. She's currently touring a mental health advocacy/sexual assault awareness program to colleges nationwide and her book, My Beautiful Detour, will be available this June.
Amy has completed the Social Justice Summer Institute and Teaching Artist Project Training. She's written for TAG Quarterly, and is a Teaching Artist in the Fairfield County area. As a survivor and “thriver” of multiple traumas, Amy eagerly shares the gifts of life’s “beautiful detours” her work with students. To creatively engage student advocacy efforts, Amy developed a trauma-informed program combining mental health education, sexual assault prevention, and Broadway Theatre for college campuses, organizations and conferences. She has designed a creative curriculum for “Detourist Resiliency,” an outreach program taken to schools, hospitals, and at-risk youth. Inspired by her TEDx Talk on being a “Detourist,” Amy's Detourist workshops encourage a synthesis of art forms to devise multidisciplinary theatre, and is heavily based on the archetypal hero’s journey. She also has launched Detourist peer-led chapters on college campuses, creative arts workshops, and an online community to creatively fight stigma in society through storytelling. Amy is also an active artist and teacher in the Jewish community, receiving an honor by United Way for her music programs at Hollander House, completing artist residencies at Art Kibbutz, and and teaching “Hope Through Creativity” workshops for religious schools in Connecticut.
After studying Theatre of the Oppressed, she helped to train ACTSmart, a high school Playback Theatre troupe in Amherst, MA. She has worked with the fifth grade classrooms at Discovery Interdistrict Magnet School, and Black Rock Elementary School in Bridgeport, CT on storytelling through visual art, and with a studio arts class at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. She is also working with Girls Leadership in the New York area on facilitating Social Emotional Learning workshops using theatre games, creative writing, and storytelling. She has devised workshops for the Transformative Language Arts Network National Conference, the Eating Recovery Foundation, the 40th Anniversary New England Educational Opportunity Association Milestones Conference, the Annual National Mental Health America Conference, 2016 American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress, and others.
Most Memorable TAP Moment:
“Two summers ago, CWP opened my eyes training with artists and educators driven towards social change at the Langston Hughes House in Harlem. It was so amazing to be packed into a room with individuals from all over, united by a single passionate drive.
My most memorable TAP moment this year was definitely the workshop with Opening Act. It was an amazing opportunity to see how as teaching artists, we can take a trauma-informed approach to teaching theatre in a classroom. I loved their definition of PTSD, and how they integrated exercises that enabled everyone to play a part. The highlight of the night was creating a group poem, where we each contributed a line and a gesture. We had to start with two lists: “I believe I am” and “I believe the world is.” It was amazing to experience how each individual could play a part in a moving tableau based on our lists.”
Find out more about Amy here: