Applied Theatre 2: Engaging Communities with Transformative Theatre

By: Ashley Hamilton and Clare Hammoor

Professor Taylor’s Applied Theatre II class was assigned the mission of exploring the field of transformative theatre through several different projects this semester. Each student in the class was asked to choose a site and a population that they could work with. They were given a number of tools and techniques to apply the theoretical concepts discussed in class within their communities. The sites ranged included: classrooms, religious spaces, alternative learning centers, traditional theatrical stages and more. Each project worked with a unique population within the site. The populations included: grade school children learning about kindness, women being interviewed on body image, suspended middle schoolers, actors seeking development, and more. Here are a few snippets from these experiences.

Dana and Hoyeung: Theatre of the Oppressed Workshops

We led weekly Theatre of the Oppressed workshops with nine actors who have an interest in social justice. After the 6 sessions had taken place, a forum theatre performance happened on April 28th. Our goal was to expose the actors to TO work and pass along some knowledge about it so that they can use it in their future work. Our performance goal is to expose a systemic issue and create dialogue about possible solutions and what we can do as a community. A brief video of part of a session can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/FQzvuptouKM

Ashley, Nikki, and Nicole: DISORDERED

Ashley interviewed 25 different women on their experiences with body image and the American media. The data was then transcribed and assembled into a script. A play reading was held on April 25th with four actresses. There was an inner- active component of the reading in which the audience participated in answering the question: “my body is…”. Their answers were then transplanted into the script reading. After the reading, there was a talkback with a member of the NYU Health and Wellness Eating Disorder team and the audience was asked to fill out a response to the reading with their questions and thoughts. The intention behind this piece was to both raise awareness around female body image in America and also report on the experience on being a researcher pursuing interview- based theatre. Ashley also performed a part of the piece at the -ISM Project Showcase hosted by NYU’s CMEP on April 23rd.

Interested students should take Professor Philip Taylor’s Fall course, Applied Theatre 1, for an introduction to this work. The course will take place on Tuesdays from 4:55pm to 6:35pm for 3 credits. The course number is: MPAET-GE 2101-001.