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 Andrew Gaines 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.

Imagine / Hope / Dream / Create

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 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

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 

Summer Abroad: Drama Education in London and Dublin

By Emily Tinawi

My elephant tattoo!

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

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

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 the Global Studies website.

Applied Theatre in Dublin

By Chelsea Price

Since I have fully recovered from the jet lag, I am happy to share with you my amazing experience participating in the NYU Steinhardt Community-Engaged Theatre study abroad program in Dublin, Ireland!

With a home base in gorgeous Dublin city at the historic Trinity College, this program provided both theory and practical experience in the growing artistic realms of applied theatre and community engagement. We participated in site visits to renowned theatres and community centers to hear how top notch Irish practitioners were tackling and expanding on these vast categories of theatrical work, and even got to produce and perform some work of our own.

Now, if you think you’re going to Ireland to learn a few things about applied theatre and then being unleashed on some poor community group to change their lives, you’re sadly mistaken. This program challenges participants to think of their program colleagues as the community and includes a myriad of practical small group projects and performances.

So, collaboration is key in this program. You won’t get very far if you can’t learn to work with and work well with other people. If that’s not a problem for you, then you’ll have an absolutely wonderful time learning from and about others with vastly different life perspectives and talents, and you might even make some lasting bonds and friendships along the way. I certainly did!

I started off knowing next to nothing about the term, “Applied Theatre” other than what the pre-readings assigned before the program could illuminate. However, being immersed in another culture and taking trips to locations such as the Upstate Theatre Project in Drogheda, the National Theatre in Dublin, Dalkey Castle, and the Giant’s Causeway in Belfast, things started to click.

As I heard from guest speakers, saw work firsthand, personally devised theatre, and proposed plans to engage communities, this term started to take on a lot more depth for me. My general understanding has come to rest with the idea that a facilitator who uses theatre or theatrical elements to indirectly solve and combat social issues in a given community is working in the area of applied theatre. This is something that I have always known and believed about theatre and its ability to create social change, but I now have the academic terminology, research, and practical experience to back it up.

Honestly, if this study abroad program fits into your academic plan, but maybe you’re debating on whether to dish out the dough, take it from me: it is totally worth every penny. On top of being a fantastically fun and adventurous learning experience, it was some of the most practical work I’ve done in my entire Educational Theatre program at Steinhardt. I highly recommend it and I’m sure the Irish people will warmly welcome you!



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.

Study Abroad: Dublin 2013 – in Pictures

By Chelsea Price

Accommodations at Trinity College were amazing. I had my own, huge room!

This production got super “meta” for the group of American theatre students watching an Irish production of an American classic theatre piece.











Visiting a museum together.





Post film screenings at the Upstate Theatre Project, we enjoyed a discussion with the director and actors.







Watching classmates perform a devised theatre piece based on interviews in a public space, Victoria Square in Belfast.










A beautiful sunset over Trinity College as late as 10:30PM! Something I could get used to.









Seeing Major Barbara at the Abbey Theatre after reading it and developing educational resource projects for pre and post show workshops.











Devising original movement theatre at the natural phenomena, Giant’s Causeway in Belfast.










Marshall Burghart gets an archery lesson at Dalkey Castle.










Cast of “This is a Story” for final performance piece!






Forum: Developing New Work for the Theatre

By Matt Cohen

On Saturday, April 27th, I attended the Program in Educational Theatre’s 2013 Forum, Developing New Work for the Theatre.  For the first session, I attended the Case Study on New Play Development, moderated by Professor Joe Salvatore.  This seminar featured representatives from the New York Theatre Barn and Luna Stage.  For the second session, I participated in a workshop in Entry Points for Devising New Work, facilitated by Dr. Nan Smithner.

The Case Study on New Play Development provided a fascinating take on the development process of original musicals and plays.  Sammy Buck and Brandon James Gwinn, respectively the librettist and composer/co-lyricist of Speargrove Presents, NYTB’s musical about the drama surrounding a high school production ofRent, discussed how in the beginning of the process, they were two of numerous writers involved in the project, until Joe Barros (director) and Jason Najjoum (producer) whittled down the pool.  The musical is still a work in progress.

Nikkole Salter, playwright of Carnaval, discussed how she moved to New Jersey and discovered a theatre near her new home, Luna Stage, which accepted open submissions of new work.  She submitted Carnaval, and she and Cheryl Katz (Director of Play Development) discussed how impactful it was to have multiple readings of the work in her writing process, as well as the often surprising reaction of the predominantly blue-haired audience.  The seminar concluded with a brief question and answer session, and all of the panelists were wonderfully open in answering our questions.

In the workshop in Entry Points for Devising New Work, we learned about the various approaches to creating new theatrical work in many different settings.  These ranged from brainstorming specific topics to simply using inspiration from props.  At the end of the session, we were divided into two groups, and each group devised a brief piece about internet dating.  Both performances were indicative of a great deal of growth within the short time period.

The afternoon concluded with a Plenary Session, in which we discussed what was learned in the previous sessions.  We primarily addressed the topics of establishing rigorous, intentional new works development processes that are innovative and sustainable, holding the stakeholders accountable, and defining and measuring success in the process.  All in all, my peers and I attained a wealth of knowledge that day, and I appreciate having been given the opportunity to participate in such an enlightening forum.

Student and Alumni Updates

Kristin R. BennerKristin R. Benner (EDTA ‘12)  received a full time drama elementary (K-2) teaching position in the Montclair Public Schools in Montclair, NJ at the Gifted and talented/performing arts magnet. She puts on three productions a year and could not be more thankful for what NYU did to prepare her for this position.



Jeanine DeFalco (EDTC ‘12) is a Doctoral fellow in Cognitive Studies at Teachers College, Columbia, on an Army Research Lab grant studying detection of engagement and affect in a simulation-based combat medic training environment. Her general focus is on embodied cognition, narrative, and creative problem solving using role play.

Mary Leigh FilipponeMary Leigh Filippone (Undergraduate ‘06) runs the Theatre Department at Springfield High School just outside Philadelphia where her production of Our Town was recently honored as Best Play of 2013 by the Greater Philadelphia Cappies. She is pursuing a Master’s degree in Arts Administration at Drexel University. Mary currently serves as the President of the Board of Governors at the Players Club of Swarthmore Pennsylvania.


Julianna Krawiecki (EDTC ‘12) was awarded with a State of New Jersey Commendation Citation Award for the development and performance of “Our Stories of Sandy”, a student devised performance piece that illustrated Hurricane Sandy through the eyes of a middle school student. She teaches music and theater at Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School in New Jersey.

Christina Kosyla (EDTA ‘13) has accepted a teaching position with Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, NJ. Stuart is an independent, Catholic school for girls in grades K-12. Christina will be teaching religion (K-2), drama (3-5), and directing the Upper School fall play.

Robin Levenson (PhD ‘07) is currently a Professor at City College, CUNY, in the Interdisciplinary Arts Department where teaches speech and theatre, specializing in non-native speakers and actor training. Her students won prizes for speech at LaGuardia Community College in 2011 and 2012, and first place in 2013 at the CUNY‐Wide Annual Student Speech Contest.

Alex SarianAlex Sarian (EDTC ‘07) was appointed to the newly created position of Director of Finance & New Business at Lincoln Center Institute, the education division of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  In this role, he oversees all aspects of business development, marketing, digital/social media and consulting services for programs with an annual reach of 350,000.  He joins Lincoln Center after serving as the Director of Education at MCC Theatre and founding Affinity Arts Group, a private consulting practice.

Robert Stevenson (UG ‘13, EDTC ‘14) was one of several recipients of the Ida Bodman Service Award at the Steinhardt Baccalaureate Commencement in May. The award, recognizing his work with Uproar Theatre Corps, celebrates superlative and extraordinary service and exhibiting the highest standards of leadership in school activities.

Lantie TomLantie Tom (EDTC ‘12) has been professionally designing and building masks, puppets, and the occasional prop for theatre and education programs – sometimes with Educational Theatre alumni! Each project is unique, and she had the recent pleasure of working with Barnard-Columbia Ancient Drama Group, The Forum Project, and Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study.


From the Program Director: Welcome to Fall 2013

Welcome back to the fall 2013 semester. What a memorable summer it was for the Program in Educational Theatre! In addition to our on-campus course offerings, the New Plays for Young Audiences (NPYA) series completed its 16th season in June. NPYA once again saw student-actors and professional directors, as well as dramaturg Dr. Cecily O’Neill, develop three new TYA plays: What We Lost Along the Way by Corrine Esme Glanville, Meeka’s Rising by Carol Korty, and Shahrazad 1001, written by our very own Educational Theatre alum, Ramon Esquivel. This was followed in July by a spectacular production of As You Like It.  With teenagers from the Looking for Shakespeare (LFS) program performing the play, this version took place in the 1960’s and was great fun. Under the direction of Dr. Smithner, the annual LFS program once again gave graduate students registered for the accompanying course the invaluable experience of working with the youth acting ensemble, as well as the chance to delve into Shakespeare’s language and hone their coaching skills.

Students attending our London study abroad program, Drama and Youth led by Dr. Philip Taylor, had numerous rich experiences, including TYA programming at Rose Bruford College and site visits to Oily Cart and the Conference on Dorothy Heathcote as new additions to the curriculum. Some students continued on after the London program to join a new cohort of Educational Theatre students in our course on Community-Engaged Theatre in Dublin, led by Joe Salvatore, where they worked with Ireland’s finest drama practitioners with affiliations through Upstate Theatre and the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College in Dublin. It’s exciting to see the Program have such international visibility.

The summer months went by quickly but we enthusiastically embark on a new academic year. As always, there are lots of opportunities for students to get involved in projects outside of their course work. The main stage Educational Theatre production this fall is Myths of Metamorphoses, written and developed by Deborah Zoe Laufer (with help from the ensemble). This exciting new play is being directed by Dr. Amy Cordileone, with musical direction by Rachel Whorton, and will presented in the Black Box Theatre. You won’t want to miss it!

Throughout the year our annual storytelling events, produced by Regina Ress, will feature renowned artists telling tales from around the globe. Our Shakespeare to Go (STG) troupe will be inviting you to audition for their cut version of Julius Caesar. Directed by Daryl Embry, the play and its actors will travel to schools in New York City, providing inspiration to hundreds of our city’s young people, many of whom will see Shakespeare performed for the first time in their lives. Our Theatrix! project, launched in 2003, will continue to profile new work by students and provide them with opportunities to develop their artistry and collaborate with classmates. Last year Theatrix! brought the Educational Theatre community together with students from the Program in Music Composition to bring original musicals to life.  It was highly memorable–and we’ll keep you posted about similar Theatrix! events and projects as they develop. So remember to read all the educational theatre emails you receive about artistic projects, program announcements, seminars, internships and employment opportunities from the educational theatre list-serve.

Other artistic happenings throughout the year will transpire through Uproar Theatre Corp and Lamplighters, two very active Steinhardt clubs that were formed by Educational Theatre students. Uproar will be presenting Godspell on the weekend of November 21st, so keep a look out for more information about where that will be presented. Also, our Writers’ Roundtable will continue to investigate the roles of structure and accountability in the creative processes of playwrights at various stages of their careers.

I am pleased to announce that after another thought-provoking annual Forum last April that explored the process of Developing New Works for Theatre, next year’s Forum will investigate and pose questions around the work of Teaching Artists. Rest assured there will be lots of opportunities for students to get involved in this two day investigation of the teaching artist and teaching artistry that is sure to bring major interest and constituencies together to the NYU campus.

There’s a lot to look forward to this year, and I want to thank the outstanding Educational Theatre adjunct faculty, as well as my dedicated colleagues Philip Taylor, Nan Smithner, Joe Salvatore, Amy Cordileone and Jonathan Jones, for creating a dynamic environment where invigorating artistic work and meaningful learning transpires.

Instant Gratification 2013 / 24-Hour Play Festival in Pictures

By Jonathan Jones

On Saturday, September 7th, the Program in Educational Theatre kicked off the 2013-2014 school year with our annual Welcome Party and Instant Gratification: the 24-Hour Play Festival. Here are some pictures from the performances:

Instant Gratification 2013

Playwrights and Directors introduce themselves. From Left to Right: Micaela Blei, Jenna Briedis, Kathleen Turner, Daphnie Sicre, Oriana Miles, Marco Santarelli, Lyssa Deehan, and Robert Stevenson.


“The Story of Jack” by Robert Stevenson; Directed by Lyssa Deehan

Featuring: Liana Costable, Luke Doyle, Chelsea Flores, and Haven Mitchell-Rose

"The Story of Jack" by Robert Stevenson"The Story of Jack" by Robert Stevenson"The Story of Jack" by Robert Stevenson

“Living With It” by Jenna Briedis; Directed by Corey Rubel

Featuring: Crystal Gulley, Elizabeth Lozada, Gala Radinovic, Patti Veconi, and Charlie Wright

"Living With It" by Jenna Briedis

"Living With It" by Jenna Briedis

“Inconclusive” by Daphnie Sicre; Directed by Kathleen Turner

Featuring: Jenny Aaron, Alexis Lounsbury, and Owen Scott

"Inconclusive" by Daphnie Sicre

"Inconclusive" by Daphnie Sicre

"Inconclusive" by Daphnie Sicre

"Inconclusive" by Daphnie Sicre

"Inconclusive" by Daphnie Sicre

“The ELf with the Iron Fist” by Marco Santarelli; Directed by Oriana Miles

Featuring: Brigid Donovan, Gina Grandi, and Catherine Talton

"The ELf with the Iron Fist" by Marco Santarelli

"The ELf with the Iron Fist" by Marco Santarelli

“The Physicist Always Rings Twice” by Micaela Blei; Directed by Katie McSherry

Featuring: Andrew Anzel, Kordell Draper, Kaylin Hawkins, Melanie Ridgway, and Emma Vissicchio

"The Physicist Always Rings Twice" by Micaela Blei;

"The Physicist Always Rings Twice" by Micaela Blei;

"The Physicist Always Rings Twice" by Micaela Blei;

"The Physicist Always Rings Twice" by Micaela Blei;

"The Physicist Always Rings Twice" by Micaela Blei;

"The Physicist Always Rings Twice" by Micaela Blei;

"The Physicist Always Rings Twice" by Micaela Blei;