Woman brings social issues to the forefront, on stage and off: ‘You have to give to get’

Local News

A special performance this weekend, in Buffalo, will shine a light on issues plaguing some nursing homes. It’s the third play Dawna Durham has written, produced and directed since 2011. All of them have brought social issues affecting our area to the forefront.

Durham’s latest play is called The Nursing Home. She’s been in the medical industry for about 30 years.

“(I want to) be the voice for the residents, because some of them don’t have family members,” she said. “Who’s there to speak for them, besides ourselves?”

She said the play focuses on short staffing, neglect and abuse inside nursing homes. She created a play before The Nursing Home, which focused on HIV.

Her passion toward creating plays all began after Durham lost her best friend to domestic violence in 2008.

“Now everything I do is about making sure everyone is aware of domestic violence,” she said. “People just think it’s physical. It’s not just physical, it’s also mental, financial, verbal, emotional. It’s so many things, so I’m trying to make that aware to everybody.”

Durham herself said she was in an abusive relationship. After she lost her best friend, she realized she needed to do something to help be the change. She created a play called, Love Hurts, in 2011. She’s now making it into a movie.

But she’s not just creating plays. These performances are the start of a bigger conversation. After Love Hurts, she started hosting dinners to talk to people about domestic violence. She even puts together meals for those less fortunate in Buffalo. She helps as many as she can, on the stage and off.

“It’s just nice to help others,” she said. “Sometimes you have to give, to get.”

The Nursing Home will hit the stage on Saturday, October 12 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. you can buy tickets at Dorris Records on East Ferry St, in Buffalo, or at the door for $5 more. It will be performed at The Alleyway Theater, next to Shea’s.

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