Announcing ArtsPraxis Volume 4 Issue 1

ArtsPraxis Volume 4 Issue  1 has been published.

I am proud to present this new issue of ArtsPraxis, featuring articles in response to the guiding questions and themes established for the NYU Forum on Educational Theatre in April 2016, which included applied theatre, drama in education, and theatre for young audiences. As a number of authors submitted articles under the heading of youth theatre, I curated a stand-alone section for this topic as well as I felt it wise to highlight the breadth of research in this area at this time.

A great asset of the 2016 Forum on Educational Theatre was the degree to which the NYU Program in Educational Theatre was able to reconnect with our global community. In large part, this was due to the efforts of Philip Taylor following his experience at the International Drama in Education Research Institute in Singapore in 2015. Under the direction of Prue Wales, it became evident at that event that even in this time of inescapable electronic connections, there is nothing that can take the place of face-to-face fellowship. Just this week, we are coming off of our latest international conference, the NYU Forum on Ethnodrama, looking at the intersection between theatre art and arts-based research paradigms. After many months of political duress, we communed. We shared art, research, and activism.

In the spirit of maintaining our international dialogue in these troubled times, this issue of ArtsPraxis continues the conversation. Our contributors present scholarship from Africa, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. I hope that you find this work as inspirational as I have and that you consider joining us next spring at the 2018 NYU Forum on Performance as Activism.

Volume 3, Issue 1 of ArtsPraxis is available for download here.

ArtsPraxis Volume 4, Issue 1

ISSN: 1552-5236

Editorial

JONATHAN JONES

 

Responsivity in Applied Theatre Practitioner Expertise: Introducing Identifying Patterns and Names

KAY HEPPLEWHITE

ABSTRACT

This article outlines a research project investigating the expertise of applied theatre practitioners. Summarising some of the research approaches and findings, a conceptualization of ‘responsivity’ is proposed to encapsulate the blended expertise of those artists that work in community, participatory and applied settings. The ‘practice responsive’ research methodology utilizing ‘reflective dialogues’ with practitioners is explained and the resulting artists’ commentaries are embedded throughout. I outline how reflection and response thread through a conceptualization of applied theatre in literatures, and discuss how these themes informed both the method and the findings of my research. Whilst offering namings for patterns found common to practitioners operating across diverse contexts, the article also acknowledges how naming can close down understanding of the complex operations and qualities of the practitioner. I suggest a theoretical proposition of ‘__’ (underscore) to open up understanding of the workers and the work of applied theatre, in order to allow further insight to their expertise. The proposal concludes by arguing how the practitioners’ developmental response to the work enhances applied theatre’s beneficial objectives for participants.

 

Making Theatre in Communities: A Search for Identify, Coherence, and Cohesion

JOHN SOMERS

ABSTRACT

Traditionally, theatre was created and performed in communities to celebrate religious and other significant aspects of shared community life. Many such customs possessed a quasi-religious identity in which theatre depictions were thought to appease those spiritual forces which controlled the lives and fortunes of mere humans. In the UK and the Western world more generally, the cohesiveness of community life has lessened as families become more self-sufficient. Until relatively recently, rural communities in South West England were dominated by the farming industry. The land of many farms has been merged and the farmhouses sold to relatively well-off incomers. They often operate a self-sufficient life, sending their children to private schools outside the community and engaging in leisure pursuits which take them out of the community in which they live. Thus, community cohesion is weakened and the opportunities for cooperative and communal action lessened. Theatre has the potential to bring disparate members of a community together in common purpose, providing a forum in which new and lasting relationships can be formed. If the dramatised stories have their roots in the identity and history of the community in which they are made, long-term residents have ways of sharing their knowledge with the ‘newcomers’.

 

The Long Game: Progressing the Work from Thesis to Practice

LINDEN WILKINSON

ABSTRACT

This paper discusses the evolution of significant findings made within the context of a doctoral research project and the structures that developed to share these findings through workshops for students and teachers. As the research concerned an 1838 Australian Aboriginal massacre and the construction of a memorial to commemorate this event one hundred and sixty-two years later, the aim of the project was to locate a reconciliation narrative. The project failed to do so, because ultimately in the words of the participants the memorial was seen as a beginning and not an ending.

Nevertheless this understanding did deliver powerful insights into the complex nature of reconciliation within a dominant settler culture. And it was felt that sharing these insights was worth pursuing. 

Central to the doctoral research was the creation of a verbatim theatre play, therefore the workshops relied on drama techniques to establish through affect new ways of knowing shared history. However the execution of the content proved challenging. Because of the way settler history continues to be understood, engagement with the intellect via political correctness as opposed to the imagination was problematic. The necessity of prioritizing the imagination became as much of a learning curve for workshop facilitators as workshop participants.

 

Discovering a Planet of Inclusion: Drama for Life-Skills in Nigeria

KAITLIN O. K. JASKOLSKI

ABSTRACT

This paper explores the on-going development of a Drama for Life-Skills project in Lagos, Nigeria, which embraces aspects of applied & educational theatre practices. Using neurodevelopmental disability assessments and standards, the project creates a simultaneous balance of teaching and learning life skills in the disability community. It focuses on work currently being done with students of the Children’s Development Centre Lagos, incorporating theatre practices into the daily living activities of adolescents with disabilities with the goal of gaining increased life skills. In developing their most recent production, Discovering a Planet of Inclusion, members of the Centre team up with teaching artists, therapists and community members to teach, learn, practice and incorporate life skills with theatrical performances designed for schools and community centers throughout Nigeria.  Company members with disabilities (including autism, cerebral palsy, and various genetic disorders) perform with the hope of showcasing their abilities, ending stigma, and inspiring opportunities for the disability community throughout the nation. The paper will include anecdotes and analyzation from the performance praxis, development of advocacy and vocationally-based theatre performances, and ways to incorporate disability therapies (occupational, physical, multisensory, communication) into theatrical performances. The paper also discusses the importance of inclusion in destigmatizing disability and the cognitive benefits of applied theatre within communities.

 

The Evolution of Monologue as an Education

SCOTT WELSH

ABSTRACT

Performance is social theory, or it can become so, when we use it as a means to understand social phenomena rather than merely viewing it as a spectacle or for entertainment (Brook, 1972). Theatre that explores domestic violence (Welsh, 2014), homelessness (Welsh, 2014) or the plight of refugees (Robinson, 2015) are all examples of dramatic processes  becoming social theory. There are many more examples such as the work of Lloyd Jones or Pina Bausch, both of whom use experimental theatre as a means of educating, understanding and criticising society (Marshall, 2002; Pendergast, 2001). This article explores the relationship between theatre and education in three somewhat diverse contexts. Firstly, the autobiographical monologue, The Outcaste Weakly Poet Stage Show, describes experience in a conversational style. Experience and conversation are inevitably educational, that is, being is learning and listening is learning. Secondly, I explore the practice of monologue writing with a sample group of Australian school students on the subject of social labelling, reinforcing the idea that theatre practice is education by applying it to a classroom setting. Finally, I examine a monologue writing workshop conducted with a group of teachers-in-training, revealing the potential of monologues to foster empathy among teachers and their most difficult students. Theatre then becomes a source of learning and philosophical reflection for audiences, a way of practising social learning in a school setting and increasing emotional intelligence, empathy and communication between teachers in training and their students.

 

Noise as Queer Dramaturgy: Towards a Reflexive Dramaturgy-as-Research Praxis in Devised Theatre for Young Audiences

JESSICA M.  KAUFMAN

ABSTRACT

Dramaturgy is often considered the work of the ‘neutral outside eye’, but in devised theatre, the dramaturg is embedded within. This requires creative solutions for how a devising dramaturg might navigate engagement with the totality of their work—the piece, the devising process, and the context—from their own position within all three. In this article, I will recount and re-examine my work as dramaturg-researcher devising Martha and the Event Horizon. The research inquiry suggests a praxis of dramaturgy-as-research inspired by Home-Cook’s model of noise as a function of attention and Sullivan’s (2003) poststructuralist analysis of queerness as both being and doing, wherein the devising dramaturg embodies the queer doing to take an external perspective on their work via the critical context. Examinations of the devisor’s relationship to spectators by practitioner-researchers Goode (2011) and Reason (2010) respond to the research question and suggest a non-linear model within which the audience experiences meaning through Boenisch’s (2010) reflexive parallax. Placing these research outcomes within Bryon’s (2014) ‘active aesthetic’ and Nelson’s (2013) practice as research model, I propose the dramaturgy-as-research praxis as the key to a rigorous, flexible framework for constructing diverse avenues for meaning-making in devised theatre, particularly applicable to audience-driven work.

 

Children’s Theatre: A Brief Pedagogical Approach

DENNIS ELUYEFA

ABSTRACT

There are several theories as to what constitutes children’s theatre. This diversity exists because the term is used as a literal description of theatre that involves children in one way or the other – theatre for children, theatre with children, and theatre by children. This complexity means there is a need to specify the sense in which the term is being used. There is no universal agreement within academic discourse on the parameters in which the term should be defined. While some scholars suggest age as a defining factor, others think it should be decided by the performers who design a piece of theatre based on their knowledge of the children audience. What is children’s theatre? What should be the level of involvement for children? This paper is not a systematic review of the discipline and it is not an attempt to re/define children’s theatre. Rather, it is about a pedagogical approach to creating a piece of theatre for children between the age of 4 and 10 that can enable them to learn and be morally developed while being entertained at the same time. In this paper children’s theatre is the term that will be used throughout.

 

Feeling Blue: An Investigative Apparatus

CLARE HAMMOOR

ABSTRACT

This auto-ethnographic inquiry explores found and constructed apparatuses in the production of a devised clown show with 3rd-6th grade children at Blue School in New York City. Through a playful negotiation between artifacts, theory, and memory, this essay works to untangle the production of meaning and the possibilities of children’s theatre. Drawing from Agamben’s theorizations of apparatus, Hammoor writes into knowing and understanding the frameworks he built and discovered in directing a sad clown show with children.

 

Participatory Aesthetics: Youth Performance as Encounter

PAMELA BAER

ABSTRACT

In this paper the notion of a participatory aesthetic is developed by exploring how a collaborative and creative process provides opportunities for young people to engage in an act of becoming in relation to one another, building powerful and affective art work that is not bound by the conventions of traditional forms of theatre and art making. The paper begins with a discussion on the role of affect and participation in applied theatre, offering a theoretical framework that is used to analyze two case studies. The first is a project in Accra, Ghana that resulted in a youth-led documentary film about HIV/AIDS and gender relationships. The second is a YouTube based applied theatre project with LGBTQ youth in Toronto, Canada. In both case studies the paper demonstrates the power of dialogue in building a participant driven aesthetic rendering of theatre for social change. The paper concludes stating that a participatory aesthetic is a deeply visceral and vulnerable encounter that builds important pedagogy through affective artistic engagement.

 

From Les Mis to Annie, Jr.: A Discussion of Dramaturgical Adaptation for Musical Theatre in Education and Accessibility of Musical Theatre to Youth

SEAN MAYES

ABSTRACT

As an arts educator, it is inspiring to have access to the spoils of the art of musical theatre to engage and captivate young minds and artistic hearts. In providing an artistic output, one affords both the satisfaction of involvement in a collaborative art coupled with the lasting gift of community and artistic inspiration. Regrettably, the endeavour towards providing an accessible dramatic medium can prove challenging for the best of theatre & music pedagogues and artists alike. Musical theatre becomes increasingly more difficult as both musical and dramatic requirements needed for its execution modify.

With these constraints, youth face obstacles in exploring many works of the genre they love faithfully. As educators, the responsibility in maintaining accessibility is tremendous. Improper attention to the usage of the vocal instrument without regard of these developments can cause irreparable damage. Limited access to works for youth and negligible adaptation risk staleness and disinterest.

How might the educating artist continually provide an accessible medium of musical theatre to the young performer? From a dramatic & musical lens, this paper discusses the responsibility of the educator in identifying and addressing the unique challenges confronting young performers via the art of musical theatre.

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ArtsPraxis Volume 4, Issue 1 looks to engage members of the global Educational Theatre community in the ongoing dialogue about where we have been and where we are going. This call for papers was released concurrently with ArtsPraxis Volume 3 and the submission deadline for Volume 4, Issue 1 was February 1, 2017.

Dr. Jonathan Jones, New York University
Editor
jonathan.jones@nyu.edu
steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/artspraxis

Editorial Board:

Amy Cordileone, New York University, USA
Norifumi Hida,
 Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music, Japan
Byoung-joo Kim,
 Seoul National University of Education, South Korea
Ross Prior,
 University of Wolverhampton, UK
Nisha Sajnani,
 New York University, USA
Daphnie Sicre,
 Borough of Manhattan Community College, USA
Prudence Wales,
 Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong
James Webb,
 Bronx Community College, USA

NYU Educational Theatre Presents 2017 Swortzell Innovator Awards to Laurie Brooks and Johnny Saldaña

NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre has named Laurie Brooks and Johnny Saldaña the recipients of the 2017 Swortzell Innovator Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions and sustained service to the field of educational theatre.

Laurie Brooks and Johnny Saldaña are the winners of the 2017 Swortzell Innovator Award

The Swortzell Innovator Awards were established in 2016 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Program in Educational Theatre and honor its visionary founders, the late Lowell and Nancy Swortzell. The inaugural award winners were Lynda Zimmerman, Rebecca Brown Adelman, Trent Norman, and Jay DiPrima.

“The Program in Educational Theatre is thrilled to bestow Laurie Brooks and Johnny Saldaña with the Swortzell Innovator Award not only for their exceptional work in the field, but to honor their ongoing commitment to actively sharing their high quality expertise with others,” said David Montgomery, director of the Program in Educational Theatre at NYU Steinhardt.

Johnny Saldaña has been named the winner of the 2017 Swortzell Innovator Award for outstanding and sustained service to the field of ethnodrama and qualitative research. Saldaña will be presented with his award at the NYU Forum on Ethnodrama, which takes place April 21-22, 2017.

Saldaña is professor emeritus from Arizona State University’s School of Film, Dance, and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. He has authored, co-authored, and edited eight books on qualitative research and ethnodrama including Longitudinal Qualitative Research: Analyzing Change Through Time and Ethnotheatre: Research from Page to Stage.

Saldaña’s works have been cited and referenced in more than 4,300 research studies conducted in over 120 countries in disciplines such as education, medicine and health care, technology and social media, business and economics, government and social services, fine arts, social sciences, human development, and communication.

Laurie Brooks has been named the winner of the 2017 Swortzell Innovator Award for outstanding and sustained service to the field of Theatre for Young Audience. Brooks’ award will be presented at the 20th anniversary of NYU’s New Plays for Young Audiences, which takes places June 10-25, 2017.

Brooks is an award-winning playwright and fiction author. She has received numerous awards and grants including TCG National Theatre Artists Residency Program (The Coterie Theatre), AT&T FirstStage award, three Distinguished Play Awards and Charlotte Chorpenning Cup from American Alliance for Theatre and Education, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Irish Arts Council Grants (Graffiti Theatre Company). Brooks’ Lies and Deceptions Quartet for young adults includes The Wrestling Season, commissioned by The Coterie Theatre, developed at New Visions/New Voices, and featured at The Kennedy Center’s One Theatre World 2000. Additional award-winning plays include Deadly Weapons, The Tangled Web, and The Riddle Keeper, commissioned by Graffiti Theatre in Ireland; Selkie: Between Land and Sea, developed at New Visions/New Voices; Brave No World and Jason Invisible, commissioned by and premiered at The Kennedy Center; Devon’s Hurt, The Match Girl’s Gift, A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas, Franklin’s Apprentice, The Lost Ones, Triangle, Atypical Boy, and All of Us.

Brooks has been an assistant professor, playwright in residence, and literary manager for NYU’s New Plays for Young Audiences. She has served as playwright in residence for the HYPE Institute at The Alley Theatre in Houston, artist in residence at Arizona State University, and has taught at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and The University of Texas at Austin.

Brooks’ new play, Now Comes the Dust, will be staged at New Plays for Young Audiences in June, where she will also be part of a 20th anniversary roundtable event and panel discussion to explore emergent directions in writing and producing works.

Two Weeks with the Queen Opens Tonight!

Tonight I caught the dress rehearsal for Two Weeks with the Queen, a fantastic show you won’t want to miss!
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Based on a popular Australian novel by Mary Morris, Two Weeks with the Queen is a moving TYA play that appeals to people of all ages. While it explores some serious subject matter, director Philip Taylor ensures that the story is told with humor and warmth to create an uplifting experience about overcoming fear and handling the challenges that life has to offer. Fast paced, funny and skillfully directed, the show highlights a very talented ensemble of actors. Meghan Crosby gleefully and beautifully portrays the spunky and determined 12 year old Colin, while the rest of the gifted cast, including Cheryl Brumley, Maggie Bussard, Brendan Chambers, Eric Gelb and Shannon Stoddard, impressively play a variety of memorable characters. What a pleasure it was seeing them all work together so well, each making strong choices to create many lovely moments on stage.
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The designers and crew also deserve praise, including Daryl Embry’s clever set design, Leah Cohen and Daryl Embry’s appealing lighting, Meaghan Cross’s delightful costumes, and Kari-Noor Thompson’s effective sound design. The production stage manager Sarah Brown, assistant stage manager Jiawen Hu, and assistant director Andrew Gaines are also to be congratulated for their hard work in helping to create this remarkable show.
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Poignant and full of hope, Two Weeks with the Queen is a production with a lot of heart! Book your tickets now for the performances listed on the poster below.
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Download the program here: https://tinyurl.com/2WksPrgrm
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David Montgomery

Ella Mae Mullavey Ada Doctoral Awardee

Clare Hammoor is an Ed.D. candidate who is the Drama Specialist and Director at Blue School, the Artistic Director of (re)emergent theatre, a theatre company in collaboration with folks recently released from prison, and an instructor in the prison system with Hudson Link. Clare’s research is a deep dive into the absurd world of queer clowning with young people. He’s excited about directing Blue School’s latest devised work, Clowns in Space, featuring 18 clowns, live-student led-original music and child-created props and costumes in collaboration with a crew of professional adults.

TYA@NYU Update

Jeff Church, Producing Artistic Director of The Coterie in Kansas City, Missouri, “is pleased to be back with New Plays for Young Audiences in the Steinhardt’s terrific Program in Educational Theatre at NYU.”   Jeff directed for NYPA in its very first year (1998) and continued for the next seven years though 2005.  “Lowell Swortzell was leading the summer developmental festival at the time, and he was one of the greats.  One of The Coterie’s most important commissions, The Wrestling Season, by Laurie Brooks, was developed here in 1999,” said Jeff.  Jeff used the NPYA program to work on some experimental scripts as well, such as a transgender-themed play, The 12:07, also by Laurie Brooks.

Distinguished Program Alumnus Returns to the Playhouse This Summer

Lowell Swortzell and Laurie Brooks at The Provincetown Playhouse in the late 90s.

Laurie Brooks will be in New York for this year’s NPYA at The Provincetown, developing her new musical, Dust, with her team, Composer/Musician Paul Carrol Binkley and Director Jeff Church. Dust tells the story of Ellie, a girl who the town believes is an angel that can call rain from the skies and make crops grow again. The ravages of the Dusters that caused the death of her mother are bad enough, but  even worse, Ellie knows she’s just an ordinary girl who cannot perform miracles. The phenomenon of one brave family who stayed through the Dustbowl and the prescient topic of climate change are embedded in this story.

 

ArtsPraxis, Volume 3

ArtsPraxis Volume 3 has been published.

It is with great enthusiasm that I present this third volume of ArtsPraxis. In 2003, I worked as a research assistant for Philip Taylor cataloging the extant journals in the arts, arts education, and arts therapies disciplines in order to demonstrate the need for the first volume of this publication. To find myself now as Editor is both humbling and gratifying, given the time and attention that I have contributed to this journal over the years.

This volume features a number of articles that were presented in some form at the Forum on Educational Theatre in April 2016, for which I served as manager. The Forum celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Program in Educational Theatre at New York University: building on the past and looking towards the future. The event was a fine testament to the legacy of the Program’s founders, Lowell and Nancy Swortzell who began the Program in 1966. All told, with presenters, performers, staff, volunteers, and delegates, the participant pool exceeded 400 individuals, demonstrating the strength of the field and a commitment from colleagues the world over to come to New York, share their work, and celebrate this milestone.

The 3rd issue of ArtsPraxis is available for download here.

 

Editorial

JONATHAN JONES

 

“A kick in the pants” or Mentoring as “a brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction” (John C. Crosby 1859 – 1943)

JULIANA SAXTON, CAROLE MILLER, and  MONICA PRENDERGAST

ABSTRACT

The elegant phrases of John Crosby to describe mentoring have been amended and added to over the years to include, “a shoulder to cry on and a kick in the pants” (Josefowitz, 1980). This paper is a follow-up to the podcast the authors engaged in with Edie Demas as their moderator at the NYU Forum on Educational Theatre, April 2016. Here on the editor’s invitation, we expand on our conversation, moving from our personal experiences of mentoring/being mentored to examining the confusions that arise over the application of the term itself, what is effective mentoring and how it may be derailed. We begin with what we said (slightly modified) about our own experiences of mentorship to set the context.

 

Theatre in Education: It’s a critical time for critical thinking

ROGER WOOSTER

ABSTRACT

Theatre in Education emerged in the 1960s from roots in progressive education and new wave theatre and developed a pedagogy heavily influenced by drama and education philosophy. At the heart of this theatre/education hybrid was a belief in the necessity for children to become critically engaged with the world. The best TIE offered children the tools to understand and to shape their world. This progressive approach to education has been marginalised during the last forty years. This article charts this descent into utilitarianism and asserts the need for Applied Theatre and TIE to enhance students’ critical thinking skills rather than offering didactic messages and exercises in socialisation. The obstacles to working authentically with TIE are multifarious. Alongside issues of funding, timetabling, access to students and appropriate working space, there are problems associated with appropriate training in TIE praxis. Professionals no longer have the access to the necessary research and rehearsal time where facilitation skills can develop. The ‘authentic teaching’ lauded by Heathcote is out of favour at the time when critical thinking skills are of paramount importance. This article asks if there is a way for TIE to adapt to the new realities of how children learn and play so that again it can offer a theatrical safe haven where critical thinking skills can be honed in order to equip young people with the critical skills to shape their own futures.

 

Kiss me Khatema: Kate’s “capitulation” in The Taming of the Shrew as seen by female Muslim university students

JAMES PAUL MIRRIONE, PhD

ABSTRACT

Shakespeare’s plays, especially those that have a modern day resonance to the issues of the modern world, are indeed elastic in their ability to speak across generations and cultures. This paper provides a number of sample responses by young Emirati female students at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) from courses taught by the author, who was in residence there as the Drama and Theatre specialist from 2005-2014. Over the course of several semesters, these female Muslim university students’ verbatim comments reveal how Kate’s final words moved them to respond in the varied ways they did. These responses demonstrate the emotional tightrope that the students seem to be navigating; one that originates in tradition while also clashing with modernity. The Taming of the Shrew, and the journey of Kate as she is confronted by the challenges of an arranged marriage within a patriarchal society, is one that speaks to these students. As a non-Muslim practitioner of theatre and drama, the challenge was to see which of these two personas would win out – a Kate or a Khatema – which turns out to be the subject matter for a larger societal investigation of the roles of men and women in the United Arab Emirates.

 

From ‘discovered’ to ‘constructivist’ in applied theatre programmes: Preparing postgraduate students as future artist-educators

ROSS W. PRIOR

ABSTRACT

Applied theatre as a named field is still relatively new yet ‘the range of applied theatre practice is vast; it happens all over the world as part of a grassroots movement involved in social change and community reflection’ (Prendergast & Saxton, vi: 2009). This article explores the underlying teaching philosophies inherent in the published course descriptors of a sample range of eight graduate/postgraduate programmes in applied theatre across three countries. The selection of these programmes, although somewhat random, has been based upon their prominence within academic parlances and those that provide programme documents in English. Consequently the representative sample survey is across one cross-section of postgraduate provision and is analysed in order to extract a range of philosophical themes underpinning learning and teaching. In distilling these philosophies the article presents a discussion of how the subject knowledge of applied theatre work ranges from ‘discovered’ to ‘constructivist’ in nature. In turn these themes are interrogated against published research in the field and postulate on how applied theatre programmes might further consider the ways in which they adequately prepare their students as future artist-educators to work in this diverse and challenging field. An outcome of the survey revealed grand claims made in the published programme descriptors.

 

Facilitating social justice dialogues after interactive theatre performances: An introduction to our methodology

TRENT NORMAN, REBECCA BROWN ADELMAN, and LIGIA BATISTA SILVERMAN

ABSTRACT

Applied theatre performances that address social issues can inspire feelings and reactions. In this article, we draw from our experience working together as facilitators since 1999 as examination of the challenges we have encountered and the importance in holding space for difficult – yet productive – conversations. Working from a framework of inclusive justice, we merge social justice practices in applied theatre and inclusive education. We share with the readers our experiences with the role of self as facilitator and the concept of holding space; we challenge the idea of neutrality in facilitation, and advocate for the facilitator as instrument to change. We are not offering a manual of instructions – we offer, instead, a few ingredients that other facilitators may also find helpful in their practice.

 

“They have become my family”: Reciprocity and responsiveness in a volunteer-led program for refugees and migrants

ANNE SMITH

ABSTRACT

Creative English is an applied theatre program that supports English language learning for adult refugees and migrants in the UK. The program is shaped by an ethic of care, focused on responsiveness, reciprocal relationships and empowering individuals to take action. This article identifies challenges and opportunities highlighted by the rapid expansion of a project governed by these values and delivered by volunteers.

 

Secondary students confront issues of identity through devising and performing a new play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

SONYA BAEHR

ABSTRACT

In 2014, secondary students at the Poly Prep Country Day School began an eleven-month project with their acting teacher and a professional playwright that culminated in performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August of 2015. The goal was to premiere a new play created out of the concerns and challenges facing these young Americans as they wrestled with their national identity in an increasingly interconnected world. The students also dealt with issues of race, class, and sexual identity as they refined dialogue and characters in daily rehearsal sessions. The director’s process of building Americans in Breshkistan was modeled on that used by professional companies when they workshop a new piece with a playwright. The students created choreography and stage combat, as well as nonverbal movement sequences in which they worked together as an acrobatic team. The project united and engaged thirteen students of various races, classes, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and personality types. Students were responsible for creating and realizing the lighting and sound designs and for running the show. This project could serve as a model for schools to adopt into their regular curriculum, connecting high-level, student-created productions with performance possibilities at local professional theater venues.

 

Mapping the field of young playwrights programs in the United States

JIM DEVIVO

ABSTRACT

The production of plays written by young people has been in practice at theatre companies and arts organizations in the United States for nearly forty years. However, while young playwrights programs have emerged across much of the country in the past decade, the field has not been adequately addressed in the literature. This paper addresses the scope and variety of young playwrights programming and compares the praxis of organizations engaged in the work.

 

ArtsPraxis Volume 4, Issue 1

ArtsPraxis Volume 4, Issue 1 looks to engage members of the global Educational Theatre community in the ongoing dialogue about where we have been and where we are going. This call for papers is released concurrently with ArtsPraxis Volume 3 and the submission deadline for Volume 4, Issue 1 is February 1, 2017.