By Emily Tinawi
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.
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.
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.
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 the Global Studies website.