Towards the Fear: The creation of an interview theatre piece

By Arielle Sosland

Towards the Fear, directed and created by Professor Joe Salvatore is an interview theatre piece that focuses on topics of bullying, social combat and aggression.

The company consists of eight actors/researchers, four Drama Therapy students and four Educational Theatre students.

The Cast in Rehearsal

As a student studying Educational Theatre, working with the Drama Therapy students has allowed me to consider theatre through a therapeutic lens. Although not trained in Drama Therapy practices, through working with these four actors/researchers, I am engaging in discussions on how this work may emotionally affect our audiences.

Before rehearsals began, we were required to complete the UCAIHS (University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects) Certification Exam that allows us to conduct research involving human subjects.  In our initial rehearsals, Joe trained us in the proper interview protocol and informed us of the six open-ended prompts and questions that we used with each of our interview participants.

As the interviews were happening outside of rehearsal, in rehearsal we were devising movement pieces based off of source material and conversations surrounding the topics of bullying, social combat, and aggression. We worked to create three movement pieces to be showcased at the beginning, middle and end of the performance and essentially break up the interviews. Our initial movement piece was created based on the research of Robert Faris and Diane Felmlee on Social Networks and Aggression at the Wheatley School.  Both of these sociologists make appearances in the interview sections as well.

Once we finished the interviews, each actor/researcher transcribed up to three of the most compelling 2-3 minute sections of each interview. We then took three or four rehearsals to assemble the script.  First, we narrowed our participants down to twenty “characters” for the performance, and then a second pass reduced that number to sixteen.  Then we grouped the interview sections into categories to determine which sections worked nicely with others.

Eventually, we had about 70 pages laid out on the floor of the Drama Therapy Room in the Pless Annex and with great excitement we were able to say, “we have our script!”

To be part of physically fitting the pieces of the script together allowed all the actors to feel a great sense of accomplishment when we were able to step back and look at the transcriptions laid out in order on the ground.

Through this project we hope to motivate audience members to reflect on their own experiences of bullying, social combat, and aggression, and act on ways to change these environments. Towards the Fear, the title of our production reminds audience members the challenge of changing aggressive environments and yet the adults we interviewed all stand as examples that we are able to persevere and to empower others. I look forward to seeing and hearing audience reactions about the piece and stirring up critical conversations about this important topic.

For the full research article by Faris and Felmlee click here: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/10/10/findings.from.the.wheatley.school.pdf

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Towards the Fear: An exploration of bullying, social combat, and aggression
Created and Directed by Joe Salvatore and members of the company
Program in Drama Therapy

LOCATION: Provincetown Playhouse
ADMISSION: $15 General, $5 Students & Seniors
For tickets, contact NYU Ticket Central
ONLINE: nyu.edu/ticketcentral/calendar
BY PHONE: 212 352 3101
IN PERSON: 566 LaGuardia Place
(at Washington Square South)

Thursday, April 10 at 8pm
Friday, April 11 at 8pm
Saturday, April 12 at 8pm
Sunday, April 13 at 3pm

Summer 2014: Applied Theatre on the Square

The Program in Educational Theatre is offering a wide variety of applied theatre courses this summer from our beautiful Washington Square campus in NYC! Come explore playmaking, performance, and pedagogy with some of the top practitioners in the field, using New York City and Washington Square as your setting, text, and inspiration.

Courses include:

MPAET-GE 2077 Methods and Materials of Research in Educational Theatre

with Professor Joe Salvatore

This course will focus on how arts-based research can be used to create live performances and/or play scripts composed from qualitative research data collected through an interview process.  Specifically, verbatim interview theatre techniques will be introduced and situated within the larger genre of ethnotheatre, and it will become clear how ethnotheatre contributes to the arts-based qualitative research paradigm.

 

MPAET-GE 2978 Applied Theatre Praxis:Drama as Catalyst for Social Awareness (formerly Coping with Conflict)

with Dr. Philip Taylor

This course examines the social effects of applied theatre in community, vocational and educational settings. Informed by the work of Paulo Freire as well as other critical theorists and arts activists, like Augusto Boal and Bertolt Brecht, students will design and evaluate projects which have a social justice and human rights agenda.

 

MPAET-GE 2110 Devised Theatre: Theory  and Technique

with Dr. Nan Smithner

Through scholarly discussions, introduction of techniques, and resource sharing, students will explore a broad range of theories and methodologies of devised theatre. Students will also investigate companies and artists in New York City who devise their own work through field trips and lectures. Additionally, the class will work together to create a devised theatre piece incorporating environmental theatre and the resources of the city.

 

See you at the Square!

NYU Forum on the Teaching Artist: Navigation, Innovation, and Sustainability

For this year’s arts education forum, The Program in Educational Theatre at New York University is spotlighting the Teaching Artist. Allied professionals of all disciplines, newcomers to the field, administrators, and researchers are invited to exchange perspectives and collectively envision our shared future alongside leading arts organizations such as New Victory Theater and Lincoln Center Education.

This three-day event will highlight the work of local and international teaching artists through a variety of experiences: dynamic workshops and dialogues with artists representing Roundabout Theatre, AIE Roundtable, The Moth, Urban Arts Partnership, and more; panel discussions around navigation, innovation, and sustainability from cross-disciplinary arts leaders; performances both on campus and at premiere NYC arts venues; and networking opportunities.

Opening night of the forum will include the first ever Exemplary Teaching Artist Awards, celebrating four outstanding leaders in the field of teaching artistry. Nominated by their peers, these individuals are innovators in teaching practice, seasoned guides to teaching artists navigating the field, and experts in sustaining a teaching artist practice. This unique honor will be presented by Dr. Maxine Greene, world-renowned teaching artist pioneer and scholar.

The forum will also feature events such as a teaching artist job fair hosted by Community Word Project and a performance of Julius Caesar by Shakespeare-to-Go, NYU’s traveling Shakespeare troupe.  The forum will conclude with an excursion to the New Victory Theater for a pre-show workshop facilitated by New Victory teaching artists, a performance of Fluff: A Story of Lost Toys, and a post-show reception.

For more information and to register for the conference, please go to http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/edtheatre/2014_forum

Early registration (before March 28):                                                       Registration:

$15-NYU student                                                                                          $20-NYU students

$55-other students                                                                                       $65-other students

$85-general admission                                                                               $105-general

 

Twitter: @EdTheatreForum

At Look Back at Looking for Shakespeare 2013

By Robert Reid Goodson

As an educator, we are taught that we must reflect upon our work. Some scholars suggest that this process should be immediate, while others suggest we marinate on the work, then reflect. It wasn’t until recently with my prep work for Steel Magnolias that I began to reflect upon the 2013 Looking for Shakespeare Production of As You Like It. Yes, it’s been quite a few months since those June rehearsals and a lot has changed for all of us since then. But, for me, this reflection is necessary as I move forward in my own work as Managing Director for the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts in Tifton, Georgia.

June 26, 2013, I along with seven other graduate students began the journey of Looking for Shakespeare accompanied by 23 students. Like sailors on a ship, our captain was the talented and revered Dr. Nan Smithner. As the days unfolded, actors cast, scheduled set, and rehearsals commenced, the words on the pages, yet again, began to dance into life. Our production was set between 1968 – 1972, in a very distinct moment in time when love and harmony were an unstoppable force.

Dr. Nan Smithner advises the cast of As You Like It

Each day, exercises helped to build the confidence level of the cast. Not each day was perfect, and during some rehearsals tension was high, but through the grad students leadership, that journey persevered. We were blessed with original music, created by our own Natalie Mack, to embellish the portrayed story. Music rehearsals, scene work, fight choreography, dance choreography, costume fittings, staging, and run-throughs consumed our days for four weeks. But in the end, we did it. Our group created and breathed life into a run of As You Like It.

Natlie Mack rehearses music with the cast

Throughout the process, friendships and rapport were established with the students. Hopes, goals and dreams were shared and memories were made in the Black Box. A very unique and diverse group of individuals came together for an unforgettable weekend run. Though it has been several months since this event happened, I rejoice in the fact that I was part of the magic of NYU.  Were there things that I would have changed? Sure. But, isn’t that the point of reflection; to look back, examine, marinate and take note of the experience to enhance our educator tool box? I can say that I am a better artist because of the people I worked with. The students, reconfirmed, that I will first and foremost be an educator in any job I perform. For, they are the true reason; I am in the theatre arts profession. To my colleagues, thank you for sharing your talents with the students and with me. I certainly have some new tools to add to my bag of tricks. To Nan, where would our program be without you? You made the experience unforgettable and are always leading by example a high standard for theatre educators.

As You Like It in performance

Many months have passed. But as I look back, I smile and treasure those short four weeks. We found Shakespeare and I have no doubt that this year’s summer production will find him too.  Like Rosalind said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players: they have their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts”.  Which part will you play today as you reflect and continue upon your theatrical journey?

Looking for Shakespeare 2014

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Each summer since 1999, a group of 15-25 young people from the New York City community participate in Looking for Shakespeare. High school students work with a director and graduate students from NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre to shape an original production of Shakespeare. The program was expanded to include students from across the country in 2009.

This summer, the 2014 production will be Twelfth Night staged as a musical vaudeville. Interested young people can apply here and interested graduate students should register for MPAET:GE 2982 Directing Youth Theatre with Prof. Jonathan Jones

The School for Scandal – Opening This Weekend!

LOCATION: Provincetown Playhouse
ADMISSION: $15 General, $5 Students & Seniors
For tickets, contact NYU Ticket Central
ONLINE: nyu.edu/ticketcentral/calendar
BY PHONE: 212 352 3101
IN PERSON: 566 LaGuardia Place
(at Washington Square South)

Friday, February 28 at 8pm
Saturday, March 1 at 8pm
Sunday, March 2 at 3pm
Thursday, March 6 at 8pm
Friday, March 7 at 8pm
Saturday, March 8 at 8pm
Sunday, March 9 at 3pm

News from the NYSTEA Student Conference

By Gus Jacobson

Hello, Educational Theatre world! My name is Gus Jacobson. I graduated from the Undergraduate Program in Educational Theatre way, way back in 2012! Every year, for the past five years, I have had the pleasure of working at the New York State Theatre Education Association (NYSTEA) Student Conference as a teaching artist and Conference Committee Member. The Conference is an amazing whirlwind of a weekend attended by close to one thousand public high school students and their teachers. In the coming years, the conference is expected to continue to grow in size. We are already close to filling an entire resort hotel to capacity!

NYSTEA is a strong, statewide organization of theatre educators that promotes and supports theatre education for students in grades pre-K through 12. In addition to the Student Conference, NYSTEA oversees an Educator’s Conference (held at Niagara Falls, NY this autumn) as well as arts education advocacy all over New York State. The Student Conference, which just celebrated its 17th year, creates a wonderful opportunity for high school students from all over New York to come together for a full weekend of workshops given by colleges, universities and other theatre professionals, as well as networking with one another and experiencing a variety of performances throughout the conference. Students come from all over New York State to attend the conference –from Long Island to the Finger Lakes to the St. Lawrence River! In fact, I met fellow Undergraduate Program Alum Andy Germuga (’12) at the Student Conference in 2008 when we were both only seniors in high school. I was in school down in Westchester County, and he was from Rochester. Still, the NYSTEA Student Conference brought us together for the first time!

In previous years, NYU has sent its own delegation of theatre teachers to lead workshops for the high school students. This past January, I was thrilled to see two familiar faces, Rachel Tuggle Whorton and Ashley Lauren Hamilton. As I am sure they can attest, the energy of the conference is incessant, contagious, and remarkably “theatre kid.” Some students play their guitars in the hotel lobby, leading their new friends in song, while others might choose to brush up their monologues for our College Auditions or perhaps go snow tubing outside. Our friends from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS also attend every year to raise awareness, accept donations, and raffle off autographed posters, Playbills, and other unique memorabilia.

Speaking for the attending high school kids (for I was once one myself), this conference is a high school career highlight. In the over 100 workshop offerings, students receive expert instruction in technical theatre, acting, dance and voice. Each and every student schedule is hand crafted to reflect what the student’s interests are as well as workshops that might creatively challenge the student. In one weekend, every student will take five, 90-minute workshop, in addition to the social activities that high school students can choose from in between workshops.

Working at NYSTEA has become many things for me. There is the nostalgia of remembering the amazement that I felt as a high school student; the honor of working alongside so many teachers and practitioners who are as passionate about theatre education as I am; and the sheer joy of seeing how excited these students become. For those of us on the Conference Committee, the hours are long, the paperwork can be tedious, and the To-Do List can seem never-ending! But when all is said and done, it is because of this conference that I know of the power of theatre education, and I never hesitate to return for another year.

If you think you might be interested in working at the NYSTEA Conference on the Conference Committee, as a Teaching Artist, or perhaps as a College Representative or Vendor, we’d love to have you at the next conference. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments at acj253@nyu.edu! For more information about NYSTEA, please visit their website www.nystea.org

From the Editor

Greetings and welcome to the spring semester!

As Program Director, David Montgomery. noted in his semester in review post in December, we have many exciting projects which have occurred during the winter break and which will follow later this semester including our study abroad trip to Puerto Rico, Nan Smithner’s main stage production of The School for Scandal, among others. Be sure and check the blog every Tuesday throughout the semester for program news and announcements. And, as always, remember that Revue is all about the experience of the NYU Educational Theatre community – so if you would like to contribute, be sure and let me know.

Best,

Jonathan Jones

Revue Editor

jonathan.jones (at) nyu.edu

 

Posted on | Posted in Uncategorized |

First Lady Michelle Obama Recognizes Project Discovery

By Rachell Hull

First Lady, Michelle Obama at left, and Rachel Hull at right

Shortly after completing my MA, EDTC in 2004 I applied for jobs in the wide ranging theater education, specifically within a regional theater. Ten years ago there was amazing pockets of work being done regionally, though not the pulsating hives that exist now, enough stimulating stuff for a recent grad and I was eager to put all that we had theorized and practiced to the test.

Being from Texas originally I wasn’t planning to return, thinking rather about setting sails for new horizons. But, through the interview process I found that Dallas Theater Center had been running a unique program whereby students in the surrounding public high schools were coming to the theater to see Suzan-Lori Parks and Nilo Cruz – playwrights I had just discovered in my grad classes.

How was it possible that this new work was finding its way so quickly to a high school audience, many of whom had never been to the theater before? What did that experience feel like? How was a regional theater providing this level of artistry for students at NO COST to the student? When I discovered further that these students weren’t being shepherded into a student matinee, but rather were attending evening performances and holding their own against the upper echelon of arts patrons in Dallas, I threw all expectations out the window and signed on.

That was more than 9 years ago, and it was the best decision I’ve made. Project Discovery led me through a deep exploration of community, an urban city like Dallas, a blue city in a red state, amidst a complex web of suburban and urban communities. It led me from a Manager of Education programs to the Director of Education and Community Enrichment – examining the intersection of arts education and community development. Project Discovery has shown me time and again the power of dedicated teachers and young people who demand and surpass high expectations. And it led me on November 22nd to the White House, where we received the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

Though the experience of walking the hallowed halls of the White House was amazing and surreal! It paled in comparison to the moment Project Discovery’s name was called. This award, presented by First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama recognized the 12 out of school arts and humanities programs in the United States that are at the top of their game! First Lady Michelle Obama opened up the ceremony telling the youth award recipients of how proud she was of them, and how proud they should be of themselves. To the educators she said, “You know better than anyone else the effect that art can have on a young person’s life. Giving the child a chance to fill a canvas, or to perfect a harmony or to shine on stage, that can spark the flames of a lifelong passion. And it can teach valuable skills: skills like hard work and persistence. It can open up possibilities that young people might not realize for themselves. There are thousands of programs all across the country that are doing this kind of important work every day.”

All of us at Dallas Theater Center are humbled by the excitement, congratulations and shared joy that has come from past students, classroom teachers, actors and teaching artists. There is an amazing team of support for this program, two of which are also NYU grads – Mara Richards, NYU Class of 2000 is our Manager of Education programs and uses her passion for Augusto Boal’s work to spark civic conversations prior to Clybourne Park just a couple of months ago. And Jenci Pavageaux, one of our dedicated, fearless Dallas ISD teachers spends her off nights bringing students to the theater. This tremendous recognition will be celebrated in January with participants, artists and supporters and the ripples of the award will continue to be felt, just as the impact of Project Discovery continues throughout North Texas. Though this award only confirms what Dallas Theater Center and participating schools throughout North Texas know, that this program is essential to the social and cultural development of our young people.

From the Program Director

By Dr. David Montgomery

The holidays always serve as a sudden reminder of the fact than an entire year has almost past.  It’ fun to look back, and when reflecting on Educational Theatre’s fast moving fall semester, so many events pop to mind that helped to make it exceptional.

The fall main-stage production of Meta, by Deborah Zoe Laufer and directed by Amy Cordileone, appealed to audiences of all ages by combining ancient stories with modern styles and music to examine the cyclical nature of humanity. With strong direction and top-notch performances and ensemble work by the actors, the story of Echo who looked critically at her own life was both educational and entertaining.  It was wonderful to see the high school audiences at matinees so highly engaged with the piece and asking significant questions during the post-show talk-backs, revealing the notable ways in which the show sparked audiences’ curiosity about the myths and their relevance to current society. Another collaborative effort resulted in performances of Sam Shephard and Joe Chaikin’s play Tongues. Directed by Dr. Nancy Smither in partnership with Jonathan Haas, the Director of Percussion Studies who oversaw the percussion ensemble, educational theatre actors and percussion students worked creatively to bring the play’s monologues to life through movement, words and inspired percussion instruments/sounds, creating a dynamic and visual theatrical experience.  The group was a big success at the The PASIC conference in Indianapolis, and performed again on campus at the Loewe Theatre.

Congratulations go out to our two student organizations as well. Uproar Theatre Corp had great success with their production of Godspell, directed by educational students  Sarah Jaffee and Dan Walsh, which incorporated clever staging and imaginative choreography to showcase students’ fantastic singing and acting abilities. Very impressive! Also, members of The Lamplighters created 5 beautiful pieces of theatre for young people that were showcased in December. Looking ahead, next semester we look forward to seeing Educational Theatre’s main stage production of School for Scandal, directed by Dr. Nancy Smithner, as well as the Theatrix short play festival and the performances of the NYU Youth Theatre Ensemble and Shakesspeare to Go. Additionally, an exciting collaboration between Drama Therapy and Educational Theatre will result in an upcoming performance about bullying, directed by Joe Salvatore. More information is to come regarding this performance, so stay tuned.

This semester’s Applied Theatre series featured workshops from facilitator Peter Friedrich who demonstrating theatrical techniques he used when working with an Islamic post-conflict society, from Anna Hermann and Imogen Ashby of the organization Clean Break who who explored their work with women in the UK criminal justice system, and from political-artistic coordinator Geo Britto who lectured about Augusto Boal and the work of the Center of the Theatre of the Oppressed’s in Rio. Other guest lecturers visited the Applied Theatre and Drama in Education classes, and in many courses, exciting work was created and shared. Theatre-making projects, as found in the Theatre of the Oppressed and Devising Theatre classes among  others, were showcased for the public at the end of the semester which celebrated the tremendous artistic work of our students.  I’ve also seen some very impressive masks and puppets floating around the office, created by students in Ralph Lee’s Mask and Puppetry class.

Importantly, several students put drama education theory into practice this semester as they student-taught at schools throughout the city. These students confronted the issues that every beginning teacher faces, planning lessons, knowing students as individuals and as members of a group, creating a positive classroom climate, expecting the unexpected—and much more.  Additionally, with the help of their instructors, they focused on successfully preparing for the new edTPA test.

So many other significant events transpired this semester, some of which are reflected in the older pages of this blog, and I want to thank the students, faculty, and larger Educational Theatre community for making it so special. Looking ahead, I’m struck with a wave of excitement for 2014, where the Program in Educational Theatre will continue to flourish, thrive and do great things. On behalf of the Program’s faculty, we wish you all the happiest of holidays and hope this year brings you joy, good health and success in all your endeavors.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: NYU Forum on the Teaching Artist: Navigation, Innovation, and Sustainability (April 25-27, 2014)

NYU Forum on the Teaching Artist: Navigation, Innovation, and Sustainability

April 25-27, 2014

Hosted by The Program in Educational Theatre at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

For our 2014 annual forum, The Program in Educational Theatre spotlights the Teaching Artist. The intersection of pedagogy and aesthetics has extended its reach to a broad array of interdisciplinary perspectives and multiple art disciplines. We invite all allied professionals, newcomers, administrators, and researchers to exchange perspectives and collectively envision our shared future. The forum will begin Friday night, continue all day Saturday, and conclude Sunday afternoon.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS:

Submissions are due Monday, January 20, 2014 (11:59pm, EST), and we strive to notify potential presenters by February 17.

Click here to submit your proposal, review a comprehensive description of the event, and consider the governing questions behind this forum.

Feel free to submit any additional questions to NYUedtheatreforum@gmail.com or to add yourself to our mailing list for future updates…

Please share this information with a colleague, friend, list, and...wait for it…like us on Facebook!

We look forward to seeing you at NYU in the spring!

~Your 2014 NYU Forum Committee

The Program in Educational Theatre

Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

New York University

82 Washington Square East

New York City