UNH Professor of Theatre & Dance, David Kaye, founds PowerPlay. The program was initially funded with seed money from the Carsey Institute of Public Policy to create a development model to help train facilitators of public meetings. Building upon his expertise in the emerging field of Applied Theatre, Kaye utilizes professional actors to help facilitate roleplaying scenarios in an immersive, engaging, and safe way for trainees. This is followed with projects for two UNH Advance committees (GEAR UP and REAL), on-campus collaborations with NH Listens, UNH Cooperative Extension, and the Department of Nursing.
The self-funded program quickly grows and begins to attract a diverse pool of external clients. In its first two years, PowerPlay engaged in over 30 performances and training sessions for other national universities, National Science Foundation funded programs, international not-for-profit organizations, and regional corporate partners.
PowerPlay Interactive Development's potential is formally recognized by The UNH Research Office and UNHInnovation as a leader in an emerging field and significant example of UNH entrepreneurialism and outreach at the state and national levels. The Research Office dedicates funds to hire a managing director and stamp PowerPlay has an externally-facing, UNH-sponsored business.
The program bolsters its active roster of facilitators, actor-improvisers, and expert collaborators. PowerPlay continues to partner with and facilitate positive training experiences with academic institutions, private businesses, and municipal organizations throughout the country.