Doctoral Student Spotlights

Amissa Miller

Educational Theatre

I chose this Doctoral Program Because:
I chose to study Educational Theatre at Steinhardt because graduates of this program are leaders in the field, a field that is growing by leaps and bounds and making exciting discoveries about the intersections between art and education, pedagogy and practice. I knew that I wanted to be a part of this network of artist-educators changing the world.
My academic passion is:
Community-based theatre/applied theatre
In 5 or 10 years I hope to:
Create and generate opportunities for others to create; make artistic and scholarly contributions that stimulate dialogue and promote social justice
One of the things I enjoy doing in New York City when I'm not being a doctoral student:
Experiencing art in all forms whenever possible
A hobby I have is:
Documentary filmmaking (maybe one day it will go from being a hobby to a profession!)
My favorite place to get coffee or eat around NYU:
Recent discovery: Mom's Cooking on 8th street. Their curry root vegetable soup is perfect!
Focus of my research of scholarship:
Applying Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to the exploration of gender-based public harassment
I'm interested in this topic because:
I believe that the inherent dialogic nature of Theatre of the Oppressed work could lead to transformative communication between men and women on a topic that has generally been considered a "women's issue."
Academic or other experience that most influenced my choice of doctoral study:
My work as a teaching artist with Opening Act, a non-profit that brings free after school theater programs to public schools in New York City
Favorite course as a doctoral student:
Intro to Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed
What I like most about being part of a community of doctoral students:
Being able to connect with students at various stages in their research and writing allows me to place myself in that context, to know that the dissertation is something tangible that I can actually do!

Background Information

Where you grew up:
Born in Philadelphia, PA, and raised in Portland, OR
Career Goals:
Teaching, writing and creating in both artistic and scholarly realms
Honors, Awards, and Achievements:
I received a BA in Drama and Spanish from Spelman College in 2006 (Magna Cum Laude) and an MFA in Dramaturgy and Script Development from Columbia University in 2009 (Dean's Fellow). Dramaturgy credits include Diane Paulus' adaptation of James Baldwin's ANOTHER COUNTRY, produced at Columbia University, and the North American premiere of Koffi Kwahule's acclaimed BINTOU, translated by Chantal Bilodeau and produced by The Movement Theatre Company. I co-wrote the book and lyrics for STEP, a step dance/theater hybrid that premiered at the 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival, was produced at Ars Nova as a part of their 2008 A.N.T. Fest and was a part of the 2008 Skena Up International Film and Theatre Festival in Kosovo. My short play HURRY LOVE premiered at Columbia University in 2008, produced by the Black Theatre Ensemble.
Other professional or service activities:
I work as a teaching artist with Opening Act, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing New York City public high school students with quality after-school acting programs that foster commitment, community, and leadership through artistic achievement. I've also worked as a youth educator at the Brooklyn Young Mothers' Collective, where I developed and taught a social justice and community organizing curriculum to young mothers enrolled in the Advocacy & Thought Leadership internship program. I've volunteered as a guest artist with the All-Stars Project in Newark, New Jersey and as a weekly mentor with Free Arts NYC.