Forum on Educational Theatre Preview #3

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Preparations for the Forum on Educational Theatre April 21-24, 2016 are well underway. To register, To register, visit the registration page.

As we gear up for the event, we will post descriptions of some of the presentations–one of which appears below:

Performance: Feeling Blue; Empathy through Clowning

 

This hands-on workshop will interrogate notions of empathy production created by an ensemble of Blue School students in their devised clown show, Feeling Blue. Throughout the creation of this project, 15 ensemble members in grades 3-6 were challenged to create the physicalities of a multi-modal dramatic world in response to problems, images, sounds and imaginative impulses. Initiated by work in role as professional clowns, led by the internationally renowned Tinsel, ensemble members created a world of dramatic play and dynamic play production with high stakes and even higher absurdity.

This workshop will connect curious adults with child clowns from Blue School in a rehearsal environment facilitated by the director and assistant director of Feeling Blue. Facilitators will share rehearsal techniques as well as the multi-dimensional possibilities of facilitating a rehearsal process in role. These strategies will be deployed to offer insight into possible tools for empathy construction, identity interrogation and play production. As a result, participants will collaborate in forming and manipulating techniques for: devising theatre with children, developing social-emotional complexities and awareness through rehearsal and performance, forming a rigorous aesthetic practice in education, and deconstructing popular notions of the possible within drama and education.

Clare Hammoor is a theatre practitioner who teaches and collaborates with folks in private schools, public spaces and prisons. Clare is the Dramatic Arts Specialist for the Primary and Middle programs at Blue School and holds a B.A from Indiana University in Theater & Drama and Religious Studies and a M.A. from NYU in Educational Theatre. clarehammoor.com

Mariangela Lopez, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, has been teaching movement and dance since 1999. She has built an extensive experience teaching in communities from Pre K-12 in public schools to domestic violence, youth at risk and AIDS organizations. Previously, Mariangela was the Coordinator of the Adventures in Dance Program at Ballet Hispánico School of Dance. She was the Associate Director of Community Programs for Gina Gibney Dance and she was a faculty member at the Laban Institute of Movement Studies. Mariangela holds a BFA from The Boston Conservatory (1999), a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) from the Laban Institute of Movement Studies (2001) and Certified teacher from Dance Education from Dance Education Laboratory (2009).

 

 

Forum on Educational Theatre Preview #2

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Preparations for the Forum on Educational Theatre April 21-24, 2016 are well underway. To register, To register, visit the registration page.

As we gear up for the event, we will post descriptions of some of the presentations–one of which appears below:

Workshop: Teaching Qualitative Research through Process Drama

 

In the Qualitative Research graduate course I teach at Emerson College in the Department of Performing Arts, the students are Masters Candidates in Theatre Education. In an effort to draw parallels to their course of study in an arts-based pedagogy grounded in theatre, I use the framework of the Process Drama in order to teach diverse methods of qualitative data collection and analysis. According to Pamela Bowell and Brian Heap (2013), “Humans use drama to symbolically represent life experiences and make comment on them.”

 

 

Therefore, since qualitative research is the study of social life, it stands to reason that we can use process drama strategies to explore, experiment with, and comment on real life situations through the elements of theatre: focus, metaphor, tension, symbol, contrast, role, time, and space.

 

This workshop will invite participants to experience the use of dramatic activities and in-role exercises to simulate a number of methods used in qualitative research. All participants will be guided through the process of creating an avatar. Their avatar will be a high school student who is “hypothetically” participating in an arts-based research project in which graduate students from a local university are using drama education methods to answer some proposed qualitative research questions. These avatars will then experience participating in different data collection activities, including one-on-one interviews and focus groups. Half of the group will be researchers and half of the group will be “in-role” as high school students. We will also conduct observation activities in which one participant will facilitate a drama game while two participants serve as researchers observing the session. The rest of the group will go “in-role” as high school students playing the game.

Christina Marín, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Performing Arts at Emerson College. She teaches courses in Qualitative Research, Theatre of the Oppressed, Contemporary Issues in Education, and Human Rights in Theatre. She is also the Theatre Teaching Artist-in-Residence for Hyde Square Task Force’s youth theatre troupe ¡ACCIÓN! Community Theatre. She recently directed the inaugural production of Antígona: Las Voces Que Incendian el Desierto for Emerson College’s nascent student production company Raíz Latinoamericana.

 

 

 

Forum on Educational Theatre Preview

Forum banner.

Preparations for the Forum on Educational Theatre April 21-24, 2016 are well underway. To register, To register, visit the registration page.

As we gear up for the event, we will post descriptions of some of the presentations–one of which appears below:

Paper: A Wealth of Knowing

 

In celebration of fifty years of leadership and artist praxis, we take this opportunity to reflect on how that period of time has deepened our own understanding of the ways in which drama works whether in a classroom, studio, university setting or community hall. In so doing, we address a number of the questions that were posed as guides to this submission.

As the lens for this retrospective, we use a children’s picture book, Josepha (McGugan, 1994) “ past fourteen and trying to learn in primary row.” It is a story about an immigrant boy, friend to the younger narrator, who chooses to leave school to work for “a dollah a day” so that he can help support his impoverished family. Josepha “springs like a ram into the cart alongside his brother,” despite the impassioned pleas of a teacher who sees his potential: “It is nineteen hundred. Nineteen hundred, Josepha. A fresh century in your chosen land. You are quick and bright and cunning. Oh, the wealth of knowing you could reap.”

Josepha holds within its apparent simplicity the “novelty, surprise and teaching that connects with students’ past experiences and personal interests … low in threat and high in challenge” (Willis, 2008: 427). But more than that, it serves us as a metaphor for the wealth of knowing in our own discipline that we have come to acknowledge and appreciate over the past fifty years as central to artistry and pedagogy. And for today’s purpose, we use the story to illustrate five advances in our practice:

 

  1. The importance of distancing as a mediator of personal investment that provides protection into emotion (Eriksson, 2011; Heathcote, 1976).
  2. The power of story and narrative to shape our emotional and ethical realities (Nussbaum, 2003, Turner, 1998).
  3. The significance of our art form’s subjunctive mood to reveal the complexity and contingent nature of our world (Sennett, 2012, Kahneman, 2011).
  4. The contribution of Howard Gardner’s (1983) theory of Multiple Intelligences to an understanding of curriculum as interpersonal, intrapersonal, holistic and processual (Doll, 2008).
  5. The confirmation of the old adage that “drama teaches empathy” but how it does so and what is required in that teaching is now more apparent. (Levy, 1997; Miller & Saxton, 2015).

We are living in a time when there is a famine in quality conversation (Krznaric, 2014); face to face communication (Turkle, 2015) has become two-dimensional, and knowledge is now subject to “sensitivity alerts” (Jarvie, 2014). Such developments confirm the critical need for drama education to provide the metaphoric place where we may call into question our assumptions: the safe space in which to embrace the ambiguities that may disrupt and disturb, thereby shifting our understanding of who we are as we move from comfort to newness. A richer awareness of how drama works allied to current brain research reinforces Bolton’s (1984) recognition of the power of embodied narrative when he argued for placing drama at the center of the curriculum.

Carole Miller and Juliana Saxton are both emeriti professors at the University of Victoria, holding adjunct professorships in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and adjunct appointments at the University of Sydney, Australia. Each is the recipient of an Excellence in Teaching award. Together they chaired the 2nd International Drama in Education Research Institute 1997, were responsible for the Academic Program for the 5th World Congress of IDEA 2004 and served as the Reflective Keynote speakers for IDEA 2007 in Hong Kong. Their collaborative research is primarily situated in pre-service teacher education with a focus on inquiry-based instruction, applied theatre and the relationship of brain research to theatre practice. Their award-winning book, Into the Story: Language in Action through Drama (2004 Heinemann) will be followed in 2016 by Into the Story 2: More Stories! More Drama! (Intellect, UK/ University of Chicago Press).