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Hope Rise Thrive
to my fellow survivors.._edited.jpg

"Living in Light"

a play about resilience after abuse, highlighting non-physical forms of domestic violence

(5-21 Actors; Minimum 2 Males, 3 Females)

Living in Light explores not only the nuances of domestic violence, but the resiliency of those who have survived it. When Beth and Trevor, both abuse survivors themselves, meet Kira in a local coffeeshop, they open up with her in the hopes that she will see the truth of her own relationship. These three main characters, in fact, are composites based on research, in which 25 survivors were interviewed about their experiences. And here, in a local coffeeshop, their stories are told. At once a love letter to survivors and a means of education and prevention, Living in Light celebrates difficult conversations about topics which too often get left in the dark. 

More About Living in Light from the Original Press Release

The research behind the play: 

Geneece Goertzen, a survivor herself, spent time with the 25 survivors through a grant from the Louisville Institute. Their stories became “Living in Light.” She said the motivation to mold their experiences into something for the stage came from a love for “creating domestic violence awareness through art, and in this case, creating art through authentic research focused on the lives of abuse survivors.” 

“There’s something different about connecting to a character on stage—a character that maybe you personally resonate with or who reminds you of a situation with a friend or family member,” Goertzen said. “That connection brings power to the much-needed awareness in society.” 


Awareness like this works to destigmatize just how difficult it can be for someone who is experiencing domestic violence to leave a dangerous relationship. Housing, finances, physical safety, familial opinion, cultural norms and religious beliefs can make up just a few of the many barriers survivors see before them when making decisions about if and how to leave an abusive partner. 

The playwright:

Trent Clifford is the playwright of “Living in Life,” and for him, the play’s message is personal. “I wanted to tell a story that was true to the lived experiences of survivors like myself, bringing light not only to the nature of abuse, but the strength and resiliency of those who lived through it,” Clifford said. Trent Clifford is a playwright, author and theatre maker living in Waco, Texas. He is the founder of Wild Imaginings, Waco’s first professional theatre company. His plays have been performed around the country.

The Premiere Performance

Living in Light was first performed in front of a live audience in a local black box theatre. It was presented as a fundraiser for the local family violence shelter's pet shelter. For many survivors, keeping their pets with them is an important factor in deciding whether or not to seek shelter from domestic violence, and many say they would not consider shelter for themselves if they could not take their pets with them. Yet only a small percentage of shelters accept pets.

From the Waco Tribune-Herald article about the play:

"Both Goertzen and Clifford wanted to skirt the pain that dwelling on incidents of abuse

and violence could cause with viewers, and there’s no physical violence presented onstage.

What’s more important were the stories of the characters who had passed through

the fire of abuse in multiple forms to find a better life."

"It’s no coincidence, too, that the present action in the play is hopeful, with the pain contained in the past.

“It’s not dark theater. It’s about coming out of the darkness and into the light,” Goertzen said.

Clifford agreed. “It (the play’s content) can be heavy and hopeful,” he noted."

Comments from those who saw the play:

"Whew, that hits close to home."

"More people need to see this."

"This play made me realize I wasn't crazy."

"I felt seen."

"Go see this play. Go support these people. It is important, beautifully acted, and spot on."


"It was like seeing both my first and second marriages be played out on stage."

"The play would not have legs if Beth had not asked Kira if she was okay,

stayed to confirm the answer, and really listened to her."

"This does a good job of providing awareness without being preachy."

“I’ve continued to think about the characters all week. It really made such an impression on me.”

"I appreciated the mention of all the different kinds of abuse. And also the fact that the play

described how abuse doesn't just end because the relationship is over."

"This play is important. It needs to be spread across the country. Everyone needs to see this."

"This was such a creative way to present and share that very important information.

You have brought domestic violence to light. I am beyond moved."

"The play has a powerful message that churches need to see.

So proud of your work to teach this vital information."

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More Information

Use the contact button below to receive more information or to discuss licensing this play.

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