From the Program Director: Welcome to Fall 2013

Welcome back to the fall 2013 semester. What a memorable summer it was for the Program in Educational Theatre! In addition to our on-campus course offerings, the New Plays for Young Audiences (NPYA) series completed its 16th season in June. NPYA once again saw student-actors and professional directors, as well as dramaturg Dr. Cecily O’Neill, develop three new TYA plays: What We Lost Along the Way by Corrine Esme Glanville, Meeka’s Rising by Carol Korty, and Shahrazad 1001, written by our very own Educational Theatre alum, Ramon Esquivel. This was followed in July by a spectacular production of As You Like It.  With teenagers from the Looking for Shakespeare (LFS) program performing the play, this version took place in the 1960’s and was great fun. Under the direction of Dr. Smithner, the annual LFS program once again gave graduate students registered for the accompanying course the invaluable experience of working with the youth acting ensemble, as well as the chance to delve into Shakespeare’s language and hone their coaching skills.

Students attending our London study abroad program, Drama and Youth led by Dr. Philip Taylor, had numerous rich experiences, including TYA programming at Rose Bruford College and site visits to Oily Cart and the Conference on Dorothy Heathcote as new additions to the curriculum. Some students continued on after the London program to join a new cohort of Educational Theatre students in our course on Community-Engaged Theatre in Dublin, led by Joe Salvatore, where they worked with Ireland’s finest drama practitioners with affiliations through Upstate Theatre and the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College in Dublin. It’s exciting to see the Program have such international visibility.

The summer months went by quickly but we enthusiastically embark on a new academic year. As always, there are lots of opportunities for students to get involved in projects outside of their course work. The main stage Educational Theatre production this fall is Myths of Metamorphoses, written and developed by Deborah Zoe Laufer (with help from the ensemble). This exciting new play is being directed by Dr. Amy Cordileone, with musical direction by Rachel Whorton, and will presented in the Black Box Theatre. You won’t want to miss it!

Throughout the year our annual storytelling events, produced by Regina Ress, will feature renowned artists telling tales from around the globe. Our Shakespeare to Go (STG) troupe will be inviting you to audition for their cut version of Julius Caesar. Directed by Daryl Embry, the play and its actors will travel to schools in New York City, providing inspiration to hundreds of our city’s young people, many of whom will see Shakespeare performed for the first time in their lives. Our Theatrix! project, launched in 2003, will continue to profile new work by students and provide them with opportunities to develop their artistry and collaborate with classmates. Last year Theatrix! brought the Educational Theatre community together with students from the Program in Music Composition to bring original musicals to life.  It was highly memorable–and we’ll keep you posted about similar Theatrix! events and projects as they develop. So remember to read all the educational theatre emails you receive about artistic projects, program announcements, seminars, internships and employment opportunities from the educational theatre list-serve.

Other artistic happenings throughout the year will transpire through Uproar Theatre Corp and Lamplighters, two very active Steinhardt clubs that were formed by Educational Theatre students. Uproar will be presenting Godspell on the weekend of November 21st, so keep a look out for more information about where that will be presented. Also, our Writers’ Roundtable will continue to investigate the roles of structure and accountability in the creative processes of playwrights at various stages of their careers.

I am pleased to announce that after another thought-provoking annual Forum last April that explored the process of Developing New Works for Theatre, next year’s Forum will investigate and pose questions around the work of Teaching Artists. Rest assured there will be lots of opportunities for students to get involved in this two day investigation of the teaching artist and teaching artistry that is sure to bring major interest and constituencies together to the NYU campus.

There’s a lot to look forward to this year, and I want to thank the outstanding Educational Theatre adjunct faculty, as well as my dedicated colleagues Philip Taylor, Nan Smithner, Joe Salvatore, Amy Cordileone and Jonathan Jones, for creating a dynamic environment where invigorating artistic work and meaningful learning transpires.