Tongues by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin, to be performed Fall 2013

The Program in Educational Theatre has been taking part in a unique collaboration with the Department of Music and Performing Arts’ Program in Percussion Studies, on a new production of Sam Shepard’s play, Tongues. Written in 1978 by Shepard and Joseph Chaikin, Tongues is a series of monologues set to percussion, and was first performed at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. Chaikin and Shepard explored a dramatic form stripped of plot elements and reduced to essentials of sound and utterance. Shepard writes: “Tongues is a play about voices. Voices traveling. Voices becoming other voices. Voices from the dead and living. Hypnotized voices. Sober voices. Working voices. Voices in anguish.” In this lyrical and poignant theatre piece, the inherent philosophical themes are hunger, work, family, death, and the poetic sense of human possibility.

Dr. Nan Smithner is directing the piece, in collaboration with Jonathan Haas, Director of Percussion Studies, who oversees the percussion ensemble.  The actors from our program are Andrew Anzel, Heleya de Barros, Ashley Hamilton, and Clare Hamoor. They have contributed greatly to the realization of the piece with inventive aesthetic suggestions. The percussionists, Abigail Fisher, Robert Guilford, Brandon Nestor and Sean Perham, have worked creatively with the actors to bring the text to life using a variety of unusual and inspired percussive instruments. Through movement, words and sound, the percussionists interact spatially, musically and emotionally with the actors, creating a dynamic and visual soundscape.

This NYU collaborative production is going to culminate in a presentation at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, on November 13, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The piece will also be performed at NYU on Monday, November 25th at 7:30pm in the Loewe Theatre, 35 West 4th St.

Lincoln Center Education

Dear Ed Theatre Community,

It is with great pride and excitement that we share with you the announcement of Lincoln Center’s first rebranding in history for its education division – rebranded as Lincoln Center Education.  With the completion of a $1.2 billion redevelopment of the Lincoln Center campus, this rebrand reflects an unprecedented expansion in the field of arts education by the world’s leading performing arts center.

Announced only recently, and in addition to a new name and a new visual identity (created by Ogilvy & Mather and The Brand Union), Lincoln Center Education (LCE) received $4 Million from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation to add innovative programs to its core work – the largest education grant ever awarded to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Lincoln Center Education’s rebranding arrives after a year-long examination of its existing programs and initiatives. New programs will join established efforts in schools and in the community, reflecting the organization’s updated vision and objectives. Harnessing the resources of Lincoln Center, LCE has realigned itself to most effectively develop arts education programs in five distinct areas:

  • K-12 education: programs for more than 25,000 students in over 200 schools in the New York metro area.
  • Higher education: partnerships with local colleges and universities to train teaching candidates in arts education and help recent graduates find employment with school partners.
  • Community outreach: programs include Poet-Linc, Lincoln Center Local, and other free events such as the monthly Meet the Artist series in the David Rubenstein Atrium, designed to engage the community in the arts and events at and beyond the Lincoln Center campus.
  • Lincoln Center Institute: LCI is refocused as a dedicated institute within LCE for research in arts education, and training for educators using an arts-based teaching model.
  • Consultancies: LCE’s special consultancy practice shares its expertise in arts education and creative learning.

In addition to the work we’ve been doing for over 35 years, we are thrilled to share the following new programs and initiatives:

  • “Arts in the Middle” – this new pilot program, created in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, is a three- to five-year initiative beginning in the 2013-14 school year to provide arts programming and teacher training at public middle schools which are underserved in the arts, so as to make the arts a lasting part of these schools and their community.
  • Lincoln Center Education is commissioning a work designed for an audience of children on the autism spectrum.
  • Lincoln Center Education is expanding the existing Lincoln Center Local program, which brings free Lincoln Center programs to neighborhood libraries in the outer boroughs, and alternative locations such as shelters, senior centers and facilities with incarcerated youths.
  • Two additional charter schools partnering with the New York City Department of Education and New Visions for Public Schools have opened this fall, making a total of six that are operating to date. LCE expects to ultimately partner on 18 charter schools.
  • “Next Stage” – Lincoln Center Education is launching a new series of panel discussions, lectures and other programs in the coming months, seeking to generate high-profile discussions on important topics in arts education. This public forum will allow established artists to demonstrate how education has played a role in their work. The initial forums will each be focused on particular arts genres, including dance, music, theater and visual art.

Lincoln Center Education is a global leader in arts education and advocacy and the education cornerstone of Lincoln Center, the world’s largest performing arts complex.  As such, LCE is committed to enriching the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners by providing opportunities for engagement with the highest-quality arts on the stage, in the classroom, digitally, and within the community. Founded in 1975 as the Lincoln Center Institute, LCE has nearly four decades of unparalleled school and community partnerships, professional development workshops, consulting services, and its very own repertory. LCE has reached more than 20 million students, teachers, school administrators, parents, community members, teaching artists, pre-service teachers, university professors, and artists in New York City, across the nation and around the world.

If you visit our ‘splash page’ (our new website will go live in early spring!) by going to you’ll notice our new value proposition, which is at the core of everything we do:

The arts cultivate a unique skill set that is indispensable for the 21st century: problem solving, collaboration, communication, imagination, and creativity. Lincoln Center, the world’s premier performing arts center, translates those skills from the stage to the lives of children, equipping them for success in their careers and to serve as active participants in their communities. We offer a distinctive approach to education that helps young minds perform in a dynamic world.

We invite you to learn more about our work and the many ways in which you can be a part of it.  The Educational Theatre community has given us so much – we look forward to increasing our engagement with the program, its staff, its students and its alumni.

With much love and appreciation,

Russell Granet (MA ‘95) – Executive Director

Alex Sarian (MA ’07) – Director, Finance & New Business

Melissa Gawlowski Pratt (current PhD) – Program Manager


New Plays for Young Audiences: An Extremely Appealing Process

By Blanca Vivancos

When last summer I got the email announcing I was going to be part of the cast of one of the shows at NYU Steinhardt’s New Plays for Young Audiences, I was thrilled. Of course it’s always exciting to get a positive answer after an audition, but in this case there were a few extra reasons why I wanted to be part of that project. For those of you who don’t know how New Plays for Young Audiences works, it is basically a theatre work in progress based on a new play that is still a working draft. During one week, actors, director, and playwright work together to give the play shape, showing the final result to an audience in a staged reading. This process is extremely helpful for the playwright who gets direct feedback from the actors and can adapt the play based on what is actually working or not working on stage. But as I was saying, this process was also extremely appealing for me for several reasons:

First, being an actress, the opportunity to be part of a work in progress is a challenge. Having to build a character based on a text that changes from one day to the next until the very last minute requires flexibility and technique, and there’s never enough of that for an actor, right?

That process becomes even more fulfilling by having the playwright on stage, working with the actors, explaining, listening, and re-writing. That is an amazing experience! How many times, reading a script, I would have paid to have the chance to ask the author, “Why?”  Well, New Plays for Young Audiences gave me that for free!

Third, I would add that being a writer myself, observing the creative process of another playwright always gives food for thought. And having the opportunity to be part of that process, feeding back to the author from the actor’s perspective, is also an experience every playwright should have at least once.

This project also gave me the chance to work under the direction of Deirdre Lavrakas, from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. I guess anyone with some experience in theatre would agree with me about how much we actors learn by watching a director at work. And in this particular case, the lesson was even bigger because the director had to be flexible enough to adapt the show to the new version of the script in every rehearsal!

Probably one of the things that motivated me the most was the outstanding cast I shared the stage with. Most of the actors were related to the Program in Educational Theatre at NYU Steinhardt, so our rehearsals were a reflection of what that program is: a perfectly balanced combination of artistic talent and human touch. It is always a pleasure to work on stage with talented people who know how to listen, share, and create to build the best show possible.

Finally… lets be very honest with this: New Plays for Young Audiences happens at the Provincetown Playhouse in NYC, where Anne Bancroft, Julie Harris, Eugene O’Neill, and Bette Davis launched their careers. And yes, it’s not a bad reward to add my name to that list!

Clean Break’s Unlocking Potential: Using the arts with women in the criminal justice system

Clean Break was set up in 1979 by two women prisoners who believed that theatre could bring the hidden stories of imprisoned women to a wider audience. Still the only women’s theatre company of its kind today, Clean Break has remained true to these roots, continuing to inspire playwrights around the complex theme of women and crime – enlightening and entertaining audiences. Integral to this, is the company’s long-established theatre-based education and training program enabling women offenders and those at risk of offending to develop personal, social, professional and creative skills leading to education and employment.

Behind the scenes, we provide high-quality theatre-based courses, qualifications, training opportunities and specialist support which are critical for the rehabilitation of women offenders in prisons and the community.  On the stage, we produce ground-breaking and award-winning plays which dramatize women’s experience of, and relationship to, crime and punishment. Our women-only identity is crucial to our history and rationale, and provides us with the most effective model for representing, understanding and meeting the complex needs of women who offend.

Clean Break will visit NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre for two events this week:

Thursday, October 24, 2013 – 8:15 pm – 10:15pm (Clean Break: A Presentation)- Bobst Libray LL150

and Friday, October 25, 2013 – 1pm – 4pm (Clean Break: In Practice)- Pless Acting Studio at 82 Washington Square East

For 10/24, RSVP to:

For 10/25 RSVP, to:

META By Deborah Zoe Laufer Opens This Weekend!











By Deborah Zoe Laufer

What if the Gods, Goddesses, Nymphs and Sirens of Greek myth congregated nightly at their favorite downtown dive?  What happens when these tragic heroes wrestle with fate and contemplate hubris through song as the impending flood bears down?  META… That’s what! Join us for the most cathartic fun this side of Olympus!

Program in Educational Theatre
LOCATION: Black Box Theatre

ADMISSION: $15 General, $5 Students & Seniors
For tickets, contact NYU Ticket Central.
BY PHONE: 212 352 3101
IN PERSON: 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South)

Friday, October 25 at 8pm
Saturday, October 26 at 8pm
Sunday, October 27 at 3pm
Thursday, October 31 at 8pm
Friday, November 1 at 8pm
Saturday, November 2 at 8pm
Sunday, November 3 at 3pm

Interdisciplinary Territories: Applied Theatre and Drama Therapy

A workshop for all current students in Educational Theatre and Drama Therapy with Peter Friedrich, MFA- Scholar in Residence at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. This workshop focuses on a series of theatrical techniques — invented, borrowed or modified — that had the most success for Peter during 5 years of teaching and directing in an Islamic post-conflict society.

When: Friday, October 18, 2013 – 9am – 2pm

Where: Pless Annex Basement

82 Washington Square East

How: Space is limited. Please email andrewgaines (at) nyu (dot) edu to RSVP

Pleading for Better People

By Caleb Winebrenner

It’s now been 12 months since I was officially conferred my degree in Educational Theatre. Every time I think about that, I realize that one year seems like a short amount of time. But 12 months is 12 miniature chapters of growth and discovery working as a teaching artist out in the real world.










No, this isn’t a post outlining what I’ve done month-by-month. But it is about how my views of  working as a teaching artist have shifted, every time I’ve flipped a page on the calendar. I’m very fond of NYU Steinhardt, and I always look forward to my next trip to the city. There is so much more that I could have gained from my time there. There’s also a lot that no amount of study will get you.

I’ve come to see that as a teaching artist, I must set my sights more broadly than being an artist and educator. In a recent chat with my wife she said, “The world pleads for better people.” Every day she asks me how my day was when I get home from work. Like any teacher or teaching artist, I answer with stories about my students and what I am doing in my classroom. Recently, I’ve been trying something new.

In my work at the local Boys and Girls Club, I noticed something. Students rarely looked me in the eye. They didn’t greet each other. Instead, they moved about in the room like dust particles, none of them really aware of any of the others. When they were aware, it was more for gossip or teasing. When I shared this with my wife, we had the conversation I mentioned above.  I lamented that my students didn’t have those social skills. She responded that it’s not something our world really teaches any more, but it should. Frankly, I think she’s right.

So now I have a rule that every student must greet me as they enter my room. One-by-one, each of them has to look me in the eye, and shake my hand. Some of my students resist it and try to shove past me, but I don’t let them. Why? Because as I see it, my work as a teaching artist isn’t really about arts education. It’s about genuine human connection. That’s the real magic of theatre, as I see it. It’s a way for people to play together, and it’s a way to practice things not done much outside of that space.

But more than that, it’s a way to regain a sense of being a part of something. Many of my students want to resist what we’re doing, because it’s after school and they think that I should be as apathetic as they are. Or at best they think its silly.

But it isn’t silly to expect something from your students, even after school. It isn’t silly to ask for a world where our young people are raised with integrity, kindness, awareness, and perseverance. Our world needs gifted artists and educators, but it pleads for better people. As a teaching artist, that means I have a role to play.

Outside my room at the Boys and Girls Club there’s a mural. It’s a little speech bubble with the words — Imagine, Hope, Dream, Create. That’s the sequence with my students, and to grow as a teaching artist. Right now, let’s imagine a world where our young people become better people. Then move into hope: asking  what small actions can be done to make visible the world we imagine. My students and I can dream of that world together, dream it with theatre, and ultimately create it out in daily life.


Caleb Winebrenner is a teaching artist based in Tempe, AZ. His work focuses on empowering youth through creative play, storytelling, and devised theatre — and the more he does it, the more he loves it. He is currently working on a book of games and stories for community and youth development and launched a crowdfunding campaign to support it. He writes the blog Discovering Teaching Artistry and tweets, @caleb_teaches.


Geo Britto from the Center of the Theatre of the Oppressed (CTO) to present on November 8th from 10:00am to 11.30am


Geo Britto

Geo Britto has been a member of the CTO, established by Augusto Boal, since 1990. He has worked on several projects, creating groups of Theatre of the Oppressed and empowering multipliers in slums, schools, prisons and mental health centers, among others. Specifically, he coordinates the mental health projects and culture point / Living Culture(Cultura Viva). Geo has given numerous workshops and lectures and brought shows to Palestine, Bolivia, Mozambique, India, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Guatemala, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Egypt, and also countries of Europe and North America. He currently coordinates the new project “Theatre of the Oppressed na Maré” (which is the name of a favela), creating groups of Theatre of the Oppressed in the largest and one of the most violent favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Join us for this informative and active lecture that will take place in The Black Box Theatre at 82 Washington Square East from 10:00am to 11:30 am on Friday, November 8th. If you wish to attend, please RSVP to Leslee Myers at:
lesleemyers (at) nyu (dot) edu

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.


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: