November 1999: “Kids love to learn with silliness,” says Terry Broomberg, who dispenses plenty in her Playing Mantis after-school drama classes in District 4J schools. “Each course is a story,” she explains, “each class a chapter.” In nine classes, one per week, Playing Mantis participants create an original play through role-playing and improvisation. They write songs, choreograph dances, make props and costumes and stage a performance. “Terry has trust in kids’ ability to be creative,” says art teacher Annie Hubbird, who has worked in Broomberg’s Imagine That! summer camps. A Zimbabwean with a degree from London’s Trinity College, Broomberg added a master’s in video production from the University of Oregon before a year of teaching in South Africa revealed her true calling. “I discovered I was a total clown and a good teacher,” she says. Returning to Eugene, Broomberg launched Playing Mantis and Imagine That! in 1993.
2020 update: Broomberg adopted the name Lola in 2000, when she used it to sign citizenship papers in her adopted country, the United States. She went back to the UO in 2006 for a master’s in counseling, and opened a counseling office in downtown Eugene in 2007. Her Imagine That! summer camps in 2020 will employ 14 teachers of art, drama, music and dance, to coach 56 kids, ages 7 to 13, in each of four two-week sessions. “It’s a beautiful balance,” she says, “between the quieter work of counseling and the bustling hubbub of Imagine That!” On Saturday, Feb. 29, she will present her fourth consecutive leap day event, Leap of Faith, a silent auction benefit for the Trauma Healing Project, free and open to the public, from 2 to 5:30 pm at 1100 Charnelton Street in downtown Eugene. “Outside, we’ll have therapy donkeys,” she says. “Inside, we’ll have live storytelling and music, free bodywork, art activities and discussion groups. The whole event is bilingual in English and Spanish.”