“I learned that the human spirit feeds off of hope, and hope is fuel we can cultivate ourselves. Ultimately, I learned that with resourcefulness, creativity, and unwavering curiosity, we can transform any adversity into personal growth and a resilience that is uniquely ours.”
Amy Oestreicher is an Audie award-nominated playwright, performer, and multidisciplinary creator. A singer, librettist, and visual mixed media artist, she dedicates her work to celebrating everyday miracles, untold stories, and the detours in life that can spark connection and transform communities. As a PTSD specialist, artist, author, writer for The Huffington Post, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, and health advocate, Amy has headlined international conferences on leadership, mental health, disability, creativity, and domestic violence prevention. She is a SheSource Expert, a "Top Mental Health" writer for Medium, and a regular lifestyle, wellness, and arts contributor for over 70 online and print publications. Her story has appeared on NBC’s Today, CBS, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen Magazine, The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, and MSNBC, among others. Amy has written, directed, and starred in her autobiographical musical, Gutless & Grateful, which has toured over 200 venues from 54 Below to Barrington Stage Company since its 2012 NYC debut. Gutless & Grateful has won seven national awards (including The Singular Award for an innovative original performance), is listed as part of the National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military, and is currently being licensed to students across the country for academic projects and competitions. Her plays have been published by Eddy Theatre Company, PerformerStuff, Narcissists Anthology, New World Theatre’s “Solitary Voice: A Collection of Epic Monologues,” and were finalists in Manhattan Repertory’s Short Play Festival, NYNW Theatre Fest, #MeTooTheatreWomen, "Women in the Age of Trump," and Tennessee Williams’s New Orleans Literary Festival. Amy has delivered three TEDx talks on theatre's ability to transform trauma, and trained with Primary Stages, Fiasco Theatre, and Tectonic Theatre Project in their Moment Work Institute's Teacher Training Program. She was recently selected to work with Moises Kaufman on the full-length drama Leftovers, exploring the impact of trauma on communities and the gifts that can be reaped. Her play Factory Treasure is the one-act winner of Central PA Theatre & Dance Fest, and was part of Identity Theatre's Staged Performance series. Her play Fibers, compiled of oral histories transcribed from three generations of survivors, premiered at Museum of Jewish Heritage this year. Her short play, We Re-Member, inspired by her grandparents’ sewing corporation and legacy as Holocaust survivors, has been featured in immigration and cultural festivals in six states. Her original songs are published with PerformerStuff and have been featured in Singer/Songwriter Showcases in New York (including the Duplex, and 54 Below), Colorado, and Massachusetts. Amy participated as a playwright and performance artist in the National Musical Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, where she helped develop the multimedia ensemble piece Born of Myth (2016), and was a writer, actress, composer, and set designer for Playwrights and Librettists, a festival of 27 thirty-minute plays in five days.
Her full-length drama Imprints, exploring the physical and psychological impact of trauma, premiered at the Producer’s Club in 2016. “Resilience and the Power of the Human Spirit,” Amy’s collaboration with Beechwood Arts on the immersion salon, has toured the world as a public installation, incorporating her monologues, art, writing, and recipes to express the life-altering detours and invaluable gifts of her resilient journey. As an active member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, League for Advancement of New England Storytellers, Dramatists Guild, Fairfield County Cultural Alliance, International Center for Women Playwrights, International Women’s Art Salon, Theatre Artist Workshop, and several art guilds throughout Connecticut and New York, Amy is an Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor Professionals Scholar, and the first annual SHERocks Herstory National Performing Artist Honoree. She is currently developing her multidisciplinary play with music, Flicker and a Firestarter with Playlight Theatre Company, which just had its first AEA Staged Reading. Her book, "My Beautiful Detour," is now available for preorder.
Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for The Huffington Post, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, health advocate, award-winning actress, and playwright. As a survivor and “thriver” of multiple traumas, Amy eagerly shares the gifts of life’s “beautiful detours” her educational programming, writing, mixed media art, performance and inspirational speaking. Amy has headlined international conferences on leadership, entrepreneurship, women’s rights, mental health, disability, creativity, and domestic violence prevention. She is a SheSource Expert, a "Top Mental Health" writer for Medium, and a regular lifestyle, wellness, and arts contributor for over 70 notable online and print publications, and and her story has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, CBS, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen Magazine, Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, MSNBC, among others.
To celebrate her own “beautiful detour”, Amy created the #LoveMyDetour campaign, to help others cope in the face of unexpected events. Her passion for inclusion, equity and amplifying marginalized voices has earned her various honors, including a scholarship from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor Professionals, the first annual SHERocks Herstory National Performing Artist Honoree, a United Way Community Helper award, and a National Sexual Education Grant honor. 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. She also has launched Detourist peer-led chapters on college campuses, Detourist creative arts workshops, and an online community to creatively fight stigma in society through storytelling. “Detourism” is also the subject of her TEDx Talk and upcoming book, My Beautiful Detour, available December 2017.
As the 2014 Eastern Regional Recipient of Convatec’s Great Comebacks Award and WEGO Health 2016 “Health Activist Hero” Finalist, Amy is a passionate voice in the ostomy community, founding the online community Fearless Ostomates, speaking for National and Regional WOCN conferences, and writing for the official print publication of the UOAA. Her presentations on alternative medicine, and patient advocacy and healthcare have also been accepted to international conferences on patient care, internal medicine, medical trauma and therapeutic humor in hospitals. 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. She was the 2016 keynote speaker for the Hawaii Pacific Rim International Conference on Diversity and Disability. and was the featured keynote speaker at the 2018 International School of Social Work Conference in Ohio.
She is leading mixed media creativity workshops to promote creativity as a mindset, an essential survival skill. Amy also offers creative coaching and consulting services help others navigate their own “life detours,” and prides herself most on ending each night with a gratitude list. Amy most recently gave her third TEDx Talk this year in Jacksonville, Florida on April 7th, 2018.
My art is honest, visceral, vulnerable and involuntary. I'm a scavenger, telling stories through mixed media art, movement, music, and text to make reimagined meaning from catastrophe. I'm a “Detourist,” embracing unexpected routes as opportunities for creative growth, and the opportunity to build a culture based on empathy and inclusion. Literally reassembling the fragments of my life, after decade of life-shattering trauma, pushed me to create a roadmap where there was none, reframing my own narrative as I begun to reassemble the broken shards of the life I once knew, as a sculptor would reassemble broken glass into a breathtaking mosaic. I learned that resilience comes from the hope that as artists, we must create ourselves, out of these dismembered parts of our lives. Through transforming the aftermath of trauma into art, we create our own unique masterpiece, cultivating a bold, new identity that is uniquely ours…yet, this transformation draws us together in a universal narrative. I create to find the commonality, as well as the distinctiveness, in all of our “life detours.”
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