In 1973 the activities therapy department at the Yale Psychiatric Institute began to organize and present plays before public audiences to help increase contact between patients and community members. Both patients and staff were anxious about opening the performances to the public; however, the first two plays were quite successful, and no serious disruptions occurred. When a third play was in rehearsal, the cast decided that it should be performed outside the hospital. The primary purpose of rehearsals, as well as separate weekly meetings with the director, was to provide a group identity that would help the cast deal with their fears and anxieties. The outside performance, at a state hospital a hundred miles away, was well received and gave the cast a sense of achievement and increased self-esteem.