Associate Professor, Educational Theatre
"[Applied theater is] theater that is used in educational and other settings, like street theater and political theater. Its goal is to open up a real, constructive dialogue between theater artists and their audiences."
"The term applied theater has really caught on as a way of describing work that has a transformative orientation to it," says Philip Taylor. "It's theater that is used in educational and other settings, like street theater and political theater. Its goal is to open up a real, constructive dialogue between theater artists and their audiences."
Taylor joined the Department of Music and Performing Arts as an Associate Professor in 2002 after several years at Griffith University in Australia, and it is in applied and educational theater that he does his research and teaching. In fact, one of his books is called Applied Theatre: Transformative Encounters in the Community. Another book by Taylor, The Drama Classroom, tracks the experiences of different educators who use drama in the classroom as a way of having kids create relationships to work and to each other. His book Researching Drama and Arts Education considers the intersection of excellence in teaching and excellence in research. "Being able to critically reflect on your work is at the heart of what good scholarship should be," says Taylor.
Professor Taylor received his PhD in educational theatre from NYU, and he was delighted to be named director of the program. His mission is to get students "more actively involved in the life of the program." In this respect, he's supported a new student driven theatre workshop called "Theatrix!," which presents familiar and unfamiliar texts, using new and innovative dramatic forms.
"I also want to work more closely with my departmental colleagues in the music and dance programs," he says, "to create a very strong performing arts education research network."The Forum on Assessment in Arts Education, an annual assembly of international theater artists and educators, fosters inter-departmental collaboration. The Forum takes place every summer at NYU's Provincetown Playhouse, the nexus of exciting American theatre for over a century.
Ultimately, Taylor is looking forward to expanding the program and "for its scholarship to be seen as innovative and edgy, at the center of the arts community, changing agendas, facilitating conversation." And he is thrilled all of this will take place in New York City. "The city is a dream for me. There's a great eclectic range of activity. It's got a beat and an edge. There's no doubt it's the center of where the applied theater work is happening."