Study Abroad London – Drama and Youth

By Isaiah Bent

NYU Steinhardt sent nineteen graduate students to London for three weeks; jam packed with new and exciting ways to approach theatre.  We experienced theatre for children with special needs, opera for children, process drama with the brilliant Cecily O’Neill, and of course, all the Shakespeare we could handle.

Isaiah with Cecily O'Neill

It was a once in a lifetime experience. Not only did we get to see around fifteen theatrical productions, but Dr. Philip Taylor put together an all-star group of British educators for us to work with during our stay.

A new wrinkle in this year’s London program was the amazing opportunity we had to devise a theatrical experience for second graders.  We guided sixty children through different “imagined worlds” we created using the new techniques we learned from our London professors.

When we were not knee deep in theatre (which was rare), we were enjoying the beauty of London.  Our lodgings could not have been better, given they were in Russell Square, smack dab in the middle of London.  Museums, world-class pubs, and extravagant gardens were all in walking distance.  My favorite local experience was when we dined on meat pies in the building where Sweeney Todd’s barbershop once stood.

Every student should make an effort to take advantage of this truly special program.  For more student stories, please check out our fabulous blog: http://nyulondon2014.blogspot.co.uk.

Study Abroad options for 2015 include our Theatre Practices January program in Puerto Rico and our Community Engaged Theatre summer program in Ireland.

 

 

Summer Abroad: Drama Education in London and Dublin

By Emily Tinawi

My elephant tattoo! It was done at Skin City in Dublin, Ireland

This summer I got an elephant tattooed on my ankle. It is a permanent representation of the life-changing summer that I had doing both Educational Theatre summer abroad programs in London and Dublin. Students who had done the programs before told me to take advantage of the study abroad programs, so I applied with excitement but didn’t really know what to expect.

As last school year ended I was feeling frustrated with myself as a teacher, was losing some of my drive, and knew that I needed to grow professionally and step up my game. That is where this summer came in. The trip was filled with experiences that can’t be done justice on paper. In London we delved deeply into process drama through workshops with David Booth, Cecily O’Neill, Philip Taylor, and a myriad of other experts in the field at the International Drama Educators Conference: Heathcote Reconsidered, in Greenwich! We travelled to Sidcup, England to partner with Rose Bruford College where we worked with Jeremy Harrison and learned about actor musicianship and how to use it for educational theater purposes. Mr. Harrison had such a fresh look at educational theater and added many new tricks to our toolboxes. We also went to theatre shows in the evenings which reminded me about the power of theater in all forms, commercial or non.

One of our devising pieces done on the streets of Belfast. Pictured: Robert Stevenson, Jayme Kilburn, Marshall Louise Burgart, Kristen Tregar, and Emily Tinawi

Ireland was a very different experience but equally life-changing. From learning about devising work by performing created pieces on the streets of Belfast to learning how to come into a community as an outsider, the Ireland program really caused me to look deeply at my theater practice. You cannot go through the Ireland program without feeling the deep importance of theater work in ALL communities! Living at Trinity College is truly special, knowing that every step takes you on a journey through history.

Out at Sidcup for a day of workshops with Jeremy Harrison. Pictured: Abigail Screer, Katharine McSherry, Emily Tinawi, and Janet Chia-En Lee.

Both Professor Taylor and Professor Salvatore clearly cared about us, our learnings, and ensuring that we had unforgettable experiences. I know that I will be a better teacher because of them.  Beyond the academic learnings, I made life-time friends. There isn’t a day that I don’t Facebook/snapchat/email/text/call one of the many new friends that I acquired over the summer.  When people look at my ankle they only see an elephant. When I look at my ankle I see a reminder of two of the best months of my life.

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For over 30 years, the program in Educational Theatre has offered unique opportunities for concentrated study and daily field participation in the uses of theatre education and applied theatre which are designed for teachers, teaching artists, university students, recreational leaders, language and speech arts specialists, theatre directors, actors, integrated arts educators, and community leaders.

For additional information about the program, visit:

http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/study_abroad/programs/Theatre_Practices

http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/study_abroad/programs/Youth_Theatre

http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/study_abroad/programs/Community_Engaged_Theatre