Open host Darren Jaime sits down with Founder and CEO of Cultural Innovation Group, Durrell Cooper (EDTC, MA and current EdD student) to talk about his organization’s mission to empower communities through art, civic, and community engagement. View the video clip here.
ArtsPraxis Volume 5 Issue 2 has been published.
Last April, at the 15th annual Forum: Performance as Activism, I was heartened to meet practitioners, artists, educators and scholars from around the globe who were enthusiastically engaged in using the art form of theatre to address pressing social and cultural issues. This edition of ArtsPraxis includes fourteen inspiring and pertinent articles that report on activist theories and practices that have been initiated, explored and successfully implemented in communities and classrooms.
At the Forum, we asked, “How is activism defined or redefined in 2018?” Through panel discussions, workshops, performances and paper presentations we explored how activism can disrupt, subvert and transform dominant social and political narratives. More than sixty presenters from twelve different countries relayed inspirational and revelatory methods towards the goal of promoting enduring social change through aesthetic expression. In this global space of open dialogue and exchange, we, as activists learned about organizational methods, pedagogical tools, aesthetic devices that, in responding to the complexities of our time, push past boundaries and binaries to redefine cultural innovation.
I hope that you will be inspired by the following theories and practices offered in this volume, ranging from the metamodern to dialogical activism to personal resilience, and surrounded by artistic innovation.
This issue of ArtsPraxis is available for download.
JAMES W. GUIDO
Art, in all its many forms, has always given people the opportunity to express their inner thoughts and feelings. Art adapts to the person, and different people exploring the same material will lead to different artistic expressions of that material. As a person changes over time, art can change with them, allowing them to discover new ideas by letting their imagination run free. Theatre arts have always been a breeding ground for presenting new perspectives, since there are no set rules and anyone can present a story onstage. New ideas for presenting information are being discovered all the time, leading to a never-ending wellspring of ways to pass along knowledge. This paper advocates for providing artistic theatre opportunities for Deaf students and emerging theatre artists in order to increase access and representation, as well as promote mutual communication.
This article describes Ximonïk, an original play by the all-female Maya troupe Ajchowen which premiered in the U.S. at the 2018 NYU Educational Theatre Forum: Performance as Activism. This editorial traces the author’s relationship to Ajchowen, which led to their involvement in the Forum. Further, it contextualizes Ajchowen’s unique approach to performance as activism in Guatemala, examining the history of their company and their experiences as Maya actresses.
How might the forces at work upon artistic production, its contexts, and the circumstances of its making, exert dynamic influences on artistic processes and on participants engaged in them? Might they inspire participants to view themselves as activists?
Everything is Possible, performed by 200 community actors, told the story of the suffragettes of York (UK). Created in 2017 in the aftermath of US and UK elections, it addressed issues of female enfranchisement, democratic engagement and violent protest, the concerns of 1913 resonating with and framed by the contemporary landscape. This paper considers the extent to which the making of theatre can foster a debate that is both internal as well as external; where the intended effect on an anticipated audience results also in unintended consequences in terms of participants, artists, makers and institutions.
This paper considers the relationship between individual, community and institutional approaches to activism in pursuit of social change, examining the processes of practice by discussing the commissioning, development and writing of the play from the perspective of the playwright. Finally, it considers whether participation may became a form of activism in itself.
Curious Theatre Company, based in Denver, Colorado, is currently celebrating their 20th anniversary. As stated on their website “The mission of Curious Theatre Company is to engage the community in important contemporary issues through provocative modern theatre.” Chip Walton, founder and artistic director, stated in a recent interview that their mission, in light of the current political situation in the U.S., remains unchanged but has been turned on its head; instead of aspiring to be a professional theatre company that produces socially aware plays, they now identify as a social justice organization that uses theatre as a platform.
Several organizational changes have occurred as a result of this spin on their mission including a restructuring of talk backs after performances, a re-evaluation of the process of both season selection and the commissioning of plays, to seeking ways to be flexible producers able to respond quickly to the rapidly changing political landscape.
In this article I will unpack the impact of the election of 2016 and the politics of the current administration on the ways in which Curious Theatre Company is defining itself, engaging audiences, choosing programming, and changing production practices.
GUILIA INNOCENTI MALINI
Interactions between political activism and performative practices are historically numerous in Italy but, recently, they appear somehow institutionalised. In this scenario, some social theatre initiatives, combining arts with care, education and social development, might constitute a new outlet for activism. After a brief introduction on social theatre, this paper seeks to establish the quality of its civic and political meaning through the analysis of two recent cases: the Franco Agostino Teatro Festival in Crema (Milan) and the Montevelino “school without boundaries” in Milan, different instances of performative practices promoting forms of active involvement of the local community in changes of curriculum, education system and community identity.
Children, parents, teachers, staff, common citizens, social workers and local cultural activists participate as actors, authors and audience to theatrical and performative events and workshops, producing new socio-cultural resources to be employed in local issues.
A new “educating community” might be emerging, able to reflect upon itself, devise new scenarios, build new relationships and transform people’s behaviours, starting within the school walls but spilling out into the community.
Even if this might not yet be indubitably identified as activism, here theatrical and performative experiences are becoming direct social action and a spur for local educational policies.
GUSTAVE WELTSEK and CLARE HAMMOOR
ILLUSTRATIONS BY KYLIE WALLS
As young people’s identities continue to be formed by social media, popular culture, and peer approval, mirrored representations of unquestioned ideals have taken center stage. Through an investigative inquiry into this practice, Weltsek and Hammoor emerge with a new possibility for understanding activism and self-formation in the drama classroom—dissociation. Using academic scaffolding and a playful graphic novel, the authors invite teachers, researchers, practitioners and learners to think into a theoretical moment of disconnect. It’s the moment young people talk about when they “let go” and are “consumed” by dramatic activities. The authors argue that moments of disconnect hold hope for the development of individual agency, social justice and equity both for individuals on paths of self-discovery/creation, collective actions for communities that arise within the drama classroom, and for how we think about and share our scholarship. The graphic novel central to Weltsek and Hammoor’s discussion offers a way of thinking into multimodality in scholarship and pedagogy.
Throughout the second year of their BA programme at York St John University (UK), drama and dance students engage with a compulsory module titled “politically engaged practice.” As part of this they are given a deliberately provocative assessment brief that requires them to “plan, design and implement a small-scale politically engaged piece of acts activism.”
This paper explores the experience of asking students to become, if only temporary, political activists. It does so by first setting out how arts activism is framed and defined for the module as an intersection between effect and affect. Under the headings “dialogical activism,” “culture jamming” and “quiet activism,” it then provides a typology of the kinds of arts activist projects undertaken by students. Suggesting that the assessment offers an opportunity for “authentic learning” the paper describes how students articulate the impact of the module on their sense of social consciousness and relationship to political issues.
Finally, the paper reflects on the role of activism within the academy, particularly in a context where universities are frequently accused of operating under a liberal bias that imposes particular political perspectives on students.
In the Youth Artists for Justice program, 12 socio-economically under-resourced, racialized youth conducted research and created an original play that invited others in the community and within the field of education into the imaginative sphere of critical and dialogic re-envisioning of the world. The study indicates youth ethnodrama performance as a potential site for a public relational pedagogy of resistance. This collaborative action research project aims to identify how this group of youth conceptualize their current and future roles within contemporary social movements and strives to garner within them a sense of hope and capacity to conceptualize and enact their political agency. Collectively, the youth cultivated a sense of solidarity, social responsibility, and political agency as they came to identify as an artistic ensemble analyzing critical issues and using theatre to depict forms of resistance. Following Judith Butler’s (2013) definition of plural performativity, the youth could use the theatrical space to perform and engender political participation. The pedagogical aesthetic of their original performance, Reflections of Tomorrow, illustrated realistic depictions of their own experiences and revealed the power and the passion with which they strive to make progress, inviting others to respect and enact their courageous resistance.
ANA DIAZ BARRIGA
On November 2017, in the city of Nogales, Arizona/Sonora, binational festival Beyond the Wall / Más Allá del Muro took place, bringing 15-foot tall puppets to the US/Mexico border. This essay is a first attempt to bring an academic gaze to Jess Kaufman’s and my activist pursuit, reflecting on how puppetry allowed us to deepen our conversation with community members and discover the true purpose of our artistic action. This paper will trace our journey from the conception of the performance as an attempt to reframe the politically-charged border wall, through the expansion of the festival via the inclusion of community leaders, to the actual event and performance with puppets built and operated by volunteers from various segments of the community. Exploring community-based theatre where puppets function as amplifiers of the stories and identities of community members, and suggesting the opalescent identity of the puppet as parallel to the identity of the borderlands, this essay uncovers and establishes new research questions, to be explored through praxis as they shape the future of the project with the aim of investigating how to create activism with a lasting impact focused on our common ground by rooting it on voices from the community.
This article explores how the aesthetics of activism can function as a driving force of a social movement by empowering the individuals and creating a “utopian vision” among them. Two recent major movements in Korea are introduced as examples; the Ewha Womans University protest and the Candlelight Protest, both of which indicate new possibilities of aesthetic activism. There was a big protest occurred at Ewha Womans University in 2016 summer, which was one of the crucial events that elicited the nation-wide Candlelight Protest. It was a site-specific theatre located at the main building of the school, which students occupied for 86 days until their demands were met. The students enacted a range of theatrical performances, such as holding public meetings with their masquerade-like masks on, making music videos, publishing comics on SNS, writing parodic novels, and parading with flashlights at night. Then in the winter of 2016, Korea witnessed a great wave of candlelight in the central square of Seoul, leading to the impeachment of the incumbent president. During months of Candlelight Protest, diverse groups of society—including families, teenagers, disabled people, queers, and various non-political clubs—gathered together with candles on the street every weekend.
In both Ewha Protest and Candlelight Protest, the performative and aesthetic power of the protest naturally altered the modalities of the community, transpiring a sense of communitas that emerged from the “feelings and sensibilities of utopia” which J. Dolan referred to as the “utopian performative.” Individuals were not amalgamated into a distinct community, but rather rediscovered themselves as individual beings, transformed through their solidarity, empowering themselves to transform reality. These protests show new possibilities of aesthetic activism.
There has been a recent and notable trend within contemporary performance spheres for artists to respond to various sociological, economic and political crises by creating participatory, community engaged performances. This article addresses how specific contemporary performance as activism projects have now evolved to respond to, and have been affected by, the emerging concept of the metamodern. By focusing on two 2017 productions, Mem Morrison’s Silencer and LaBeouf, Rönnkö & Turner’s #HEWILLNOTDIVIDEUS, this article argues that the metamodern oscillation between sincerity and irony, as laid down by Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker, has become an integral component in these artists’ performance-based activism. This article examines these performances in context with other politically engaged, participatory performance trends as well as the emerging concept of the metamodern in political and cultural spheres. The study offers a new insight into current practice formed upon the interstice of the metamodern and youth politics, and how performance as activism can be (re)defined within the current political landscape.
This paper concerns the one-to-one performance work of Passages—a group of performers aged between 60 and 90—founded to support Bridie Moore’s PhD research into the performance of age and ageing. It analyzes how these performances challenge perceptions of the old person as “other,” and uses audience feedback, together with performance and social theory to explore how the work achieves this. The group uses mask work, proximity and intimate performance as a form of quiet activism, to challenge structures of thinking in subtle and penetrating ways. The analysis refers to the performance The Mirror Stage, given at the University of Sheffield (UK) in September 2015, and the paper discusses the one-to-one performance form and the eight one-to-one performances that were presented in the show. It engages with de Beauvoir’s (1953/1972) and Phelan’s (1993) notions of the “other” in order to explore the way the perception of otherness plays out and is disrupted by the presence of the old person in one-to-one performance. The paper introduces the possibility that the contact facilitated by one-to-one could, as Allport (1954) argued, reduce prejudice concerning individuals who are members of outgroups such as the “old” and, by extension, to other marginalized individuals and groups.
MA ROSALIE ABETO ZERRUDO and DENNIS D. GUPA
The prison is not a dead end. Freedom is born in prison. Women in prison bounce back, resurrecting through their stories, reclaiming their bodies. This research investigates the politics of freedom, space, and body in prison. Women exercise their own sense of freedom navigating in a tight small crowded place through stories of objects, body lullabies, and archetypal ethnodrama. Women recreated new selves with new colors to light up their life in the darkest times.
Storytelling as a powerful tool for political and cultural assertion is essential in this research as a healing art process. The creative personal geography work makes women tell stories as a means of gathering parts of themselves back to one piece. Our work in freedom art we resonate to the words of Estés, “Stories are medicine… They have such power…we need only to listen… Stories are embedded with instructions which guide us about the complexities of life” (Estés p 15-16). This performance research presents the body monologues of women in a space (read: prison) where time restricts liberty and memories of freedom collapse with dreams of emancipation. Through a series of creative and performative exercises this prison became a performance space animated with the living narratives of human stories of objects and as a site of compassion where an overflowing bodies intersected and shared the politics of tolerance, compassion and love.
JACKIE KAULI and VERENA THOMAS
In Papua New Guinea, a country in the South Pacific, performance and ritual are part of day-to-day life through which social and cultural relationships are mediated. Understanding the way in which performances are woven into day-to-day experiences and political spaces lets us explore communal and indigenous processes around social change. Yet to date, there has been a very limited understanding of the value of performance for social change among development practitioners and those seeking to work with communities to impact on positive social change around certain issues.
Based on over a decade of engagement in arts-based research and development practice in the Pacific, we explore the way in which indigenous knowledge systems and performances can be harnessed to co-create narratives and performances for community audiences. Among others, we explore the model of Theatre in Conversation (TiC) (Kauli 2015), an arts-based approach developed as research and a theatre for development model, to overcome some of the complexities linked to achieving social change. TiC is used in Papua New Guinea to assist community organisations and individual facilitators develop narratives of strength and resilience that highlight the challenges, create the conversations, and deepen understanding around sensitive issues. These narratives are further captured through other media such as photography or film. Workshops are designed to improve artist-facilitators’ community engagement skills and artistry harnessing indigenous ways of learning and engagement in social change. In this paper, we highlight projects on gender-based violence and sorcery accusation related violence, as examples to explore the key aspects of this approach.
NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre will present Radium Girls, a production exploring one of the biggest labor scandals of America’s early 20th century, from March 1 to 10.
The show tells the dark story of female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with luminous paint and is accompanied by learning resources to help New York City school students and teachers grapple with this history.
Radium made waves across the country when it was discovered in the late 1800s-and became a key ingredient in everything from toothpaste to cosmetics-and was mixed with paint to create popular glow-in-the-dark watches. The female factory workers painting these watches were perceived to have glamorous jobs, given the high wages and luminous sheen left on clothes and hair from radioactive dust. That was, until thousands of factory workers began developing fatal illnesses.
Radium Girls by DW Gregory is inspired by the true story of Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she battles the U.S Radium Corporation, her former employer, and family and friends. The NYU Steinhardt production is accompanied by a series of pre- and post-show activities for use in school classrooms to help students better understand the work being shown, process their experiences, and demonstrate achievement towards the New York State Learning Standards for the Arts.
“Theater is great for bringing history to life and connecting with current events. Radium Girls has enduring and resonant themes, including the ongoing fight between people and large corporations, the denial of truth through cover-ups, and the role of the media in shaping public perceptions,” said David Montgomery, director of the Program in Educational Theatre and the show’s director.
NYU Steinhardt’s production of Radium Girls runs Friday, March 1 at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 2 at 8 p.m., Sunday March 3 at 3 p.m., Thursday, March 7 at 8 p.m., Friday, March 8 at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 9 at 8 p.m., and Sunday March 10 at 3 p.m. at the Provincetown Playhouse, 133 Macdougal Street. Tickets are $15 general admission and $5 for students, seniors, and NYU faculty. For tickets, contact NYU Box Office, call 212.998.4941, or visit in person at 566 LaGuardia Pl (at Washington Square South).
Originally published at BroadwayWorld.com
The Program in Educational Theatre is proud to announce the Spring main stage: Radium Girls written by D.W. Gregory and directed by David Montgomery. Auditions will be Saturday, 1/26 and Monday, 1/28 with callbacks on Tuesday, 1/29.
“In 1926, radium was a miracle cure, Madame Curie an international celebrity, and luminous watches the latest rage—until the girls who painted them began to fall ill with a mysterious disease. Inspired by a true story, Radium Girls traces the efforts of Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she fights for her day in court. Her chief adversary is her former employer, Arthur Roeder, an idealistic man who cannot bring himself to believe that the same element that shrinks tumors could have anything to do with the terrifying rash of illnesses among his employees. As the case goes on, however, Grace finds herself battling not just with the U.S. Radium Corporation, but with her own family and friends, who fear that her campaign for justice will backfire. Written with warmth and humor, Radium Girls is a fast-moving, highly theatrical ensemble piece for 9 to 10 actors, who play more than 30 parts—friends, co-workers, lovers, relatives, attorneys, scientists, consumer advocates, and myriad interested bystanders. Called a “powerful” and “engrossing” drama by critics, Radium Girls offers a wry, unflinching look at the peculiarly American obsessions with health, wealth, and the commercialization of science.”
Our production seeks an ensemble of 9-12 people of diverse backgrounds, ages, genders, races, ethnicities, and abilities to perform various roles in the ensemble. Almost all performers will play multiple characters. For more information or to sign up to audition, please visit here. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Cassie Holzum (Production Stage Manager).
Hope to see you there!
NYU Educational Theatre & Drama Therapy Forum 2019: Theatre & Health
April 11-14, 2019
An aging population, increasing climate and politically-motivated displacement, unstable housing, the rise of depression and anxiety, and the challenges of providing comprehensive healthcare amongst other concerns make health a significant challenge for our times. With this in mind, we invite you to join us for an exploration of how theatre, including improvisation, performance, and other drama processes, contribute to psychological, neurological, physical, social, civic and public health. Teachers, drama therapists, applied improvisation practitioners, theatre-makers, performance artists, and scholars are invited to come together to share vocabularies, ideas, strategies, practices, measures, and outcomes.
During this event, participants will consider the following questions:
What understandings of health and wellbeing inform improvisation and theatre-making?
How can theatre, including performance, improvisation and other drama processes, be used to address specific health concerns and promote wellbeing?
How can we assess health outcomes related to theatre?
How are artists, educators, and therapists using improvisation and performance in health related research?
How do health-related contexts inform aesthetic choices and social considerations?
Call for Proposals
DEADLINE: JANUARY 15TH, 2019 AT 11:59 EST
We invite the global community to submit session proposals dealing with research, artistry, and practice. Proposals can be submitted for workshops, papers, narratives, and performances that address the guiding questions listed above. Submissions are due by Monday, January 15, 2019 (11:59pm, EST), and we strive to notify potential presenters by February 20. We encourage new researchers and practitioners to submit proposals as well, so we can include new voices in the discourse.
Papers and Narratives (30 minutes):
We invite authors to submit a proposal for the presentation of a paper or narrative. Papers and narratives must be grounded in research, artistry, or practice and should somehow address the guiding questions for the forum. Proposals should outline elements of the research, practice, and/or theory-focused work the author wishes to present. Accepted papers and narratives will be organized as much as possible into thematic sessions. 30 minutes will be designated to these presentations: 20 minutes to present and 10 minutes for Q&A.
Workshops (45 or 90 minutes):
We invite practitioners to apply to facilitate workshops relating to the use of improvisation, performance, and/or theatre related skills to facilitate health and wellbeing. Proposals should outline the details of the workshop: who are the participants, what strategies will the facilitator(s) demonstrate, and how will the participants later apply this approach to their own work? Workshops will be held in an open workshop space. Workshops may be provided with a 45 or 90-minute timeslot and accepted practitioners should allow time within that period for discussion.
Artistic Sharings (45 minutes):
We invite authors to apply to share examples of theatre and health. Proposals should outline elements of research, artistry, practice and/or theory-focused work embedded within the piece. Proposed sharings should have already been staged and/or presented for an audience in another venue prior to their inclusion in the forum and could be comprised of a scene, scenes or the entire piece. Please note: Sharings will be staged in a workshop space, and will not receive technical support. Sharings will be provided with a 45-minute time slot and accepted presenters should allow time within that period for discussion of the work (i.e. 30 minute sharing/ 15 minute discussion)
The submission and review of proposals for the 2019 NYU Forum on Theatre and Health will be managed through an online conference proposal management system called EasyChair. This system gives you, the author, complete control over your submission. You can upload your abstract and check on the review status of your submission.
Please use the template below and submit through the ABSTRACT box on EASYCHAIR Do not upload additional documents – they will not be reviewed.
Under topic, please choose your type of proposal
Title of Proposal:
Type (Paper or Narrative, Workshop, Artistic Sharing):
Abstract (250 words maximum describing your session):
Relevance (250 words maximum describing how your proposal addresses the themes of the conference):
Biographical Statement (150 word maximum per presenter):
Proposals will be peer reviewed. Submissions are due by January 15th, 2019 (11:59pm, EST). Authors/applicants will be notified of the outcome by February 20, 2019.
Click here to submit your proposal.
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We look forward to seeing you at NYU in the spring!
The 2019 NYU Forum Committee and
Dr. Nisha Sajnani & Dr. David Montgomery, Co-Chairs
We have the privilege of hosting the inaugural NYU Steinhardt Dean’s Scholar-in-Residence for 2018-19, Rubén Blades, on Wednesday, October 24, 3:30-4:45pm in the Pless Hall Black Box Theatre. All Educational Theatre students, faculty, and staff are welcome and encouraged to attend this discussion with an outstanding exemplar of what it means to be an artist-citizen in the 21st century.
Rubén is an actor, musician, activist and politician. He is a 17 time Grammy winner, 3 time Emmy nominee, one time Presidential nominee for the Republic of Panama, and current star of AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead. He is an extraordinary artist and activist, as evidenced by his bio and website here.
Please make it a point to join us for this conversation! We look forward to your attendance and participation!
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER opens this Friday! Come out and see the hard work of a dynamic cast and thoughtful production team who have focused on showcasing the abilities of everyone involved through the story-theatre quality of this show.
Go to this link to purchase general admission ($15) or senior tickets ($5): NYU Ticket Central
To purchase student tickets for $5, follow these instructions:
Login to NYU home
Click on NYU life (on the left)
Scroll to box office
Click on campus events
Scroll to Peter and the Starcatcher (whichever date you would like)
Click login to get tickets (on the right)
Click get tickets now (on the right).
If you have any questions, please reach out to Cassie Holzum.
Hope to see you there!
Clinical Associate Professor
This post originally appeared on a blog for our 2018 Study Abroad Program in London.
By Brooke Snow
Today was an incredibly fulfilling and thought provoking day of growth. It’s days like today where I find myself thinking about how lucky I am to be a graduate student at NYU. This morning, we had a two hour workshop with Cecily O’Neill. I’ve worked with Cecily before, but this time was easily the most engaged I’ve ever felt with process drama. Our entire drama revolved around displaced people looking for their family in a time of a national tragedy. This drama felt particularly relevant due to what is currently happening at the Mexican-American border. I’ve done things similar to process dramas in the past, but never fully led one. I’d certainly be interested to conduct a drama about a current social issue. Process dramas definitely foster create empathy, and I found this particular one to be rather compelling.
The second half of our day is something I’ll never forget. We got to do a workshop at the Globe! We went to the Globe’s Sackler Studios and worked with actor-educator Tas Emiabata. Tas was full of passion and excitement. He was incredibly eager to teach us and really thrived off the energy in the room. If I’m a fraction as good and engaging of a teacher as Tas, I would be pleased. I felt like I learned so much just by watching him teach. Tas taught us a lot of incredible techniques on how to teach students the basics of Shakespeare. I really enjoyed the four archetypes. I think that that exercise is a wonderful way to teach all ages about the text and characters. I can just picture my elementary school kids running around our space as the trickster character. I also enjoyed how simple iambic pentameter became after Tas explained the Haka. I’ve always had difficulty worked with iambic pentameter, and I feel now feel completely confident to teach it to my students.
After our wonderful workshop, we saw the Globe’s production of The Winter’s Tale, a play I had never seen or read before. I found the story quite interesting and unlike any other Shakespeare play I’ve encountered. The acting was strong, and I appreciated many of the directing choices. I’ve been on a tour of the Globe before, but I’ve never seen a show there. I’m glad I got to check that off of my bucket list! Overall, today was incredible, and I am so thrilled that this experience is giving me all of these wonderful tools I can take home.
More information about the Study Abroad programs can be accessed on the NYU Steinhardt Global Programs Website.
This post originally appeared on a blog for our 2018 Study Abroad Program in London.
By Carey Urban
Today we continued the work Dr. William Barlow began with us on July 12. Last Thursday, he introduced us to several evocative images and a song, and we began playing with conventions designed to scaffold toward the devising of an original piece of drama. Dr. Barlow’s motto is that if we as educators don’t help young people deal with difficult situations and emotions, who will? “I don’t see the point in doing work that’s not relevant,” he says. “Walk into the challenging emotion; not away from it,” with the safety of dramatic distance! Collectively, the group decided to focus on a story about a divorce between the parents of a boy we named Toby.
We re-convened in smaller groups that had been established in the previous workshop to work in depth with conventions such as Tableau, Timeline, Teacher-in-Role, A Day In the Life, Collective Character, Hot Seating, Shape-Shifting, Telephone Conversations, Cross-Cutting, Altar Ego, Circular Drama and many more- over 40 in all! By day’s end, each group had devised 7-10 minutes of original material and everyone got to show off their acting chops to the group, including Dr. Barlow as Toby as Teacher-in-Role in a delightfully inclusive round of Circular Drama.
It was an ideal workshop for our last day before our curriculum assignments are due, as it was packed with varied and combined uses of conventions and procedures we can now use to enrich and vary our lesson plans. Sadly, though, it was our last day of class with Dr. Barlow and we have to wish him happy trails tomorrow 😦 We’re in the home stretch now: Today was Day 14 of an overall 19-day program.
Collectively I bet we’ve easily seen over 100 plays in that brief time. I for one am already getting melancholy about the experience coming to a close. But we still have a busy program this week and at least one more night out at the theatre together to look forward to. As I write this, I know many of us are burning the midnight oil typing away at our curriculum assignments. Good luck everyone, and don’t stay up to late!
More information about the Study Abroad programs can be accessed on the NYU Steinhardt Global Programs Website.
This fall, the Program in Educational Theatre at NYU will proudly present PETER & THE STARCATCHER, featuring an ensemble of developmentally diverse performers.
PETER & THE STARCATCHER is “a new play about our hero of old (…).” Before Wendy, before Neverland, & yes, before Peter Pan, there was Molly (a girl on the brink of everything—our intrepid hero) & there was Boy (a nameless, homeless, & friendless child so cast down he’d begun to fear his own shadow), whose story begins on the deck of a ship. Boy & his schoolmates are shipped off from Victorian England and sold to the evil king of a distant island. While at sea, the orphans are discovered by Molly & together they identify a mysterious trunk full of Starstuff (a celestial substance so powerful it must not fall into the wrong hands). So, when their ship is suddenly overtaken—seized by the fearsome pirate Black Stache, who’s determined to claim the trunk & its treasure for his own—Molly, the Boy, & his mates resolve to protect the Starstuff… embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.
Our Production: An acting company of developmentally diverse performers will collaborate to fashion a captivating theatrical event accessible to audience members of all abilities.
Often described as a “love letter to the theatre,” PETER & THE STARCATCHER’s dynamic book, by Rick Elise, is an ideal playground for collaborative theatre-makers—perfectly situated to showcase both source material & ensemble. Grounded in the aesthetics of Story Theatre, the world of PETER & THE STARCATCHER is uniquely defined (& redefined) by its players—invoking the collective imagination as found objects, architecture, & other elements of the everyday transform before our eyes. Essentially… everybody plays everything!!! PETER & THE STARCATCHER is, at its heart, an origin story—a pre-history of Pan that has, at its end, a 100-year old beginning (read: this adventure has little to do with being & everything to do with becoming). Our production will be, first & foremost, a love letter to the journey… to personal discovery & self-acceptance—a celebration of the attributes & aptitudes of each individual onstage that, in true Story Theatre fashion, blurs the lines between exposition, scenework, & personal narrative.
NYU’s Program in Educational Theatre encourages performers with & without developmental differences to audition & will provide reasonable accommodations to all individuals who request them. In order to audition, please prepare two sides from different categories from this document. If you have any questions, please reach out to Cassie Holzum (Production Stage Manager and Assistant Director)