NYU Drama Therapy Program faculty, alumni, students, and researchers attended the 43rd Annual North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA) Conference in San Diego, California from November 3-6, 2022. The annual conference connecting drama therapy professionals and students in North America took place in person for the first time in three years.
In addition to a weekend full of rich discussions about race, gender, sexuality, disability justice, and seeing the profession through a social justice lens, NYU Drama Therapy Program faculty and alumni were honored with three prestigious awards.
Clinical Associate Professor Maria Hodermarska received the Gertrud Schattner Award for her life-long dedication, activism, research, mentorship, and practice in the drama therapy field. This is the highest honor given by the NADTA. Hodermarska leads the NYU/NADTA Disability Justice Initiative and has been a champion for inclusion and accessibility, in clinical practice. In her award acceptance speech, Maria said that she dreamed of “...a drama therapy that is socially just and response-able while reflecting to the deep injustices that persist are wrapped and bound in me, in all of us, and will–I hope–live beyond any of us.”
Adjunct faculty member Britton Williams, MA, RDT, LCAT, was given the NADTA Research Award for her outstanding scholarship. Williams is pursuing her doctoral degree in the PhD Program in Social Welfare at the CUNY Graduate Center where she is a member of the inaugural Mellon Humanities Public Fellows cohort. Her research involves the development of The Black MAP Project which "seeks to historicize and (re)imagine mental health care for Black people(s) through a liberatory lens. Designed as an online historic archive of Black aesthetics, this project lifts the deep history of Black music, performance, embodied and enacted practices as expression, cultural memory, resistance, freedom dreaming, and liberatory praxis."
The production team and cast of the critically acclaimed film Behind Blue Sky (2021) received the North American Drama Therapy Association Performance Award. Behind Blue Sky is an exploration of the 20-year legacy of 9/11 as experienced by people of color in New York City. The award was accepted by co-producers Dr. Nisha Sajnani, NYU Drama Therapy Program Director, Maria Hodermarska, Clinical Associate Professor, Ellen Smittle, Program Administrator and BBS production stage manager, and Gabrielle Fidis, assistant director and dramaturg.
We thank the North American Drama Therapy Association for recognizing the efforts of the NYU Drama Therapy program to research drama therapy and expand its impact worldwide.