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April 14, 2017

UMS in the Classroom: Every Brilliant Thing


Interested in using a UMS performance in your university classroom? For each performance on the season, we provide suggested curricular connections, links to contextual material online, citations for scholarly material, and prompts for classroom discussion. For additional resources and individualized curricular support, please contact Shannon Fitzsimons Moen, UMS Campus Engagement Specialist, at or (734) 764-3903.

UMS is also committed to making our performances an affordable part of the academic experience. Our Classroom Ticket Program provides $15 tickets to students and faculty for performances that are a course requirement. Please email to set up a group order.


This performance may connect meaningfully with courses in the following schools and disciplines:

  • Anthropology
  • Biology
  • English Language and Literature
  • History
  • History of Art
  • Linguistics
  • Screen Arts and Cultures
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Theatre & Drama
  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Public Policy
  • Social Work


  • Learn more about the creative process behind Every Brilliant Thing in this video from the Edinburgh Festival.
  • Why do we use humor to cope with traumatic events, depression or sadness? Stanford scientists may have discovered an answer. The journal article referenced is “Humor as emotion regulation: The differential consequences of negative versus positive humour” (Cognition and Emotion, 2012, Volume 26, Issue 2).


  • The creative team made a deliberate choice to stage this performance “in the round,” with the audience placed in a ring around the stage.  Why might this choice have been made?
  • As seen in Every Brilliant Thing, humor is a useful tool when combating tragedy and grief.  How does the play’s treatment of depression and mental health issues differ from other depictions you’ve read or seen? Did it make you think about these issues in a different light?
  • In Every Brilliant Thing, audience members play an active, participatory role in the narrative. How did this audience participation shape your experience of the play? Why do you think the artists chose to incorporate the audience in this way?
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