BS '00, Communication Studies; MA '02, Educational Theatre
Growing up in a small town in Massachusetts, David Kilpatrick knew he wanted to work in the entertainment business. Thinking of pursuing a career in television, he chose to attend NYU Steinhardt as an undergraduate and major in Communications Studies. David also began interning at various local television studios. “I wanted to take advantage of everything the city had to offer. Each year I interned somewhere different. Those internships really shaped what I am doing today.” He started by working at NBC, but quickly decided that he didn’t like the environment. “I really came to understand that network TV is largely about money. It wasn’t for me.” The following semesters he interned for The Jim Henson Company and Sesame Workshop and became increasingly interested in educational entertainment. “I was very impressed by programs like Sesame Street that really tried to entertain and educate young people at the same time.”
After graduation in 2000, David decided to stay at NYU and get his master's in Educational Theater. “There are so few programs like Steinhardt’s that focus on the application of drama in the classroom,” he says. “The personal attention from faculty was amazing. I found getting my Master’s degree to be so rewarding and enjoyable.” After David completed his graduate studies in 2002, The New Victory Theater hired him as an education associate. This run-down landmark theater was refurbished in 1995 and reopened as New York’s first theater dedicated to families and children. “We try to expose kids to different genres of theater: puppetry, new vaudeville, Shakespeare, circus, etc. The education starts with exposure.”
David creates curriculum guides and runs weekend workshops that supplement the performances. “In addition to families, teachers bring their kids to the shows. We connect the productions to the school curriculum.” David also coordinates an apprentice program for high school and college students at The New Victory. “The Theater isn’t just for little kids. The apprentice program helps young adults gain job experience and an appreciation for theater. We also provide guest speakers and career guidance for them.” David is committed to legitimizing and promoting children’s theater. “It can be more dangerous to see bad theater than no theater at all and so I take my job very seriously.”
When asked what he will be doing in twenty years, David replies, “I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing, but I do plan on staying in educational theater for a long time…there’s a lot more that needs to be done!”
Editor's update: David recently left the New Victory Theatre to become Education Outreach Coordinator for the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.