Edward Albee, 1928 – 2016

“You’ll read about it in the papers tomorrow, if you don’t see it on your TV tonight.” – Edward Albee has passed away.

On the death of Tony-Award winning playwright Edward Albee, the Program in Educational Theatre salutes this giant of the American Theatre who last spoke at the historic Provincetown Playhouse (now owned and run by NYU) in 2010 just after a multi-million dollar refurbishment. Albee had a long history with the Provincetown, as it was the site of the long running production of his first success, The Zoo Story, in 1960 when it appeared on a double-bill with Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape.

Edward Albee, photographed outside of the Provincetown Playhouse during the run of his play, "The Zoo Story," in 1960

Video from the 2010 re-opening of the Provincetown Playhouse event, which featured Albee along with Obie Award winner and founder of the Living Theatre Judith Malina, and director of the archives of La Mama Experimental Theater Ozzie Rodriguez, in discussion with Village Voice theatre critic Michael Feingold can be accessed here:


Instant Gratfication 2016: Luck of the Draw

Our annual 24-hour play festival, Instant Gratification, kicked off the 2016/2017 school year. Produced by Ashley Hamilton, adjunct faculty and doctoral candidate, the event employed the talents of four student playwrights, 4 student directors, and 11 student actors. Images from the productions follow (photos by Jonathan Jones):

Lilly Stannard and Marc Lussier appear in Izzy Batts' "McVille Majesty," directed by Evangeline Lu.

Jordan Bialik and Hannah Dorph appear in Jonaya Kemper's "Carter," directed by Hayley Sherwood.

Emma Burnham, Samantha Rosenblatt, Jessica Cressionnie, and Lizzie Boscolo appear in Alyssa Oltmanns' "Mercury Retrograde," directed by Amanda Fahey.

Marissa Ontiveros, Maggie Bussand, and Jiawen Hu appear in Rai Arsa Artha's "Side Honey Honeymoon," directed by Melissa Gabilanes.

Arts Education Down Under – NYU Astor Fellows 2016

by Jamie Cacciola-Price, EdD Student and Astor Program Assistant

Over 10 days during late July and early August, the Astor Fellows, under the program direction of Dr. Philip Taylor, explored “Arts Education Down Under” in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. The program offered Fellows, a select group of 12 NYC Dept. of Education arts teachers, the opportunity to explore cultural staples of the country, such as seeing Cosi fan Tutti at The Sydney Opera House, a visit to Taronga Park Zoo, a picnic at Hanging Rock, an “Aussie Rules Footy” game, and a play at Melbourne Theatre Company.

Fellows also shared rich learning experiences through secondary and primary school visits, and teacher training opportunities through The Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne University. A particular area of interest was Australian Aboriginal history, presented by NYU Sydney, which shared many similarities to Native American history. Teaching artists and organizations, such as Ausdance, offered an inside look into the cultural dances and practices of indigenous peoples. Another highlight was being able to witness innovative teaching practices, such as the Kathy Walker Play-Based Learning Method, being utilized in a primary school setting at Noble Park Primary School, which serves a large population (88%) of ESL and immigrant students.

Overall, the trip was an incredible enriching experience both from an artistic and educational lens. Please visit the blog at www.nyuartseducator.com for a complete itinerary, educator resources, and a daily journal of the activities and learning experiences of the Astor Fellows while down under.

NYU Astor Fellows and Melbourne University drama education students explore "Drama Methods" with Dr. Jane Bird - August 2, 2016

View a photo slide show here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uCOtosMIPs

NYU Forum on Ethnodrama: The Aesthetics of Research and Playmaking / April 21-22, 2017

NYU Forum on Ethnodrama:

The Aesthetics of Research and Playmaking

April 21-22, 2017

Join us for next year’s NYU Educational Theatre Forum for a robust conversation about the aesthetics of ethnodrama. How do artist-researchers engage audiences with the presentation of data? Theatre artists and academic researchers will come together to share ideas, vocabularies, and techniques.
Save the dates: April 21 & 22, 2017

If you’re interested in participating, please email Joe Salvatore at:


Website to be posted soon at: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/edtheatre/forum



** Image from Towards the Fear: An Exploration of Bullying, Social Combat, and Aggression, produced in spring 2014

Fall 2016 Main Stage: “The Miracle Worker”

The Program is excited to announce that the fall show will be The Miracle Worker by William Gibson based on Helen Keller’s autobiography The Story of My Life. The Miracle Worker is a three-act play about Helen Keller, a girl who is blind, deaf, and mute who learns to communicate through the help of her teacher, Annie Sullivan. The original production of the play premiered on Broadway in 1959 and was subsequently adapted into a film featuring original Broadway cast members Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke, both of whom won Academy Awards for acting in the film.

Educational Theatre faculty member David Montgomery is excited to be directing this show in the Blackbox Theatre. All students are welcome to audition and audition announcements will be made soon.




EdD Student Receives Empire State Excellence in Teaching Program

Congratulations to incoming EdD student and ETED alum Jamie Cacciola-Price for being one of the first recipients of the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Program which recognizes teachers across New York who are successfully preparing a new generation of learners for the future. The program honors outstanding individuals who exemplify the highest standards of teaching, working to foster creativity, instill a love of learning, and inspire independent thinking and student initiative.

“New York State has thousands of excellent teachers who prepare our students for the future and help them reach their full potential,” Governor Cuomo said when he announced the award in May 2016. “This new program will recognize our most outstanding educators, while supporting their professional growth. I commend all teachers for their dedication to making a difference in the lives of students across the state.”

Each year, the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Program will recognize teachers from 10 different regions of New York, spanning from the North Country to New York City. Public school teachers are eligible to apply for recognition. Any member of the public can nominate a teacher by filling out a recommendation. Teachers who were nominated submitted an application for review by a panel which included:

  • Kevin Casey, Executive Director, School Administrators Association of NYS
  • Catalina Fortino, Vice President of the New York State United Teachers
  • Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers
  • Robert Reidy, Executive Director of the NYS Council of School Superintendents
  • Bonnie Russell, President of the NYS Parent Teacher Association
  • Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of SUNY

Honorees received a $5,000 stipend to support their professional development interests and will also be invited to meet with university, workforce and policy leaders across the state to share their expertise and insights.

Spring 2017 Main Stage: “Two Weeks with the Queen”

The Program is excited to announce that the spring show will be Two weeks with the Queen, a play about brotherly love in the face of a devastating disease. Auditions for this Theatre for Young Audiences classic will be in December. Based on an Australian novel by Morris Gleitzman and a stage adaptation by Mary Morris, Educational Theatre faculty member, Philip Taylor, is delighted to be directing this show in our landmark Provincetown Playhouse. All students are welcome to audition.

Swortzell Innovator Awards Presented at 50th Anniversary Alumni Celebration

L to R: John Patrick Shanley, Jay DiPrima, Trent Norman, Rebecca Brown Adelman, and Lynda Zimmerman

The planning committee for the 2016 Forum on Educational Theatre accepted nominations to honor emerging and seasoned theatre arts practitioners, educators, and thought-leaders changing and impacting our field with their work, reflecting the qualities and values modeled by Nancy and Lowell Swortzell, founders of The Program in Educational Theatre at New York University 50 years ago.

Nominees represented excellence in at least one of the following areas:

  • Drama in Education, Applied Theatre, or Theatre for Young Audiences

At the 50th Anniversary Alumni celebration, the Program acknowledged the recipients of the 2016 Swortzell Innovator Awards:

In recognition of excellence in Drama in Education, the Program honored Lynda Zimmerman, co-founder of the Creative Arts Team, the oldest and largest Educational Theatre Non-profit in the United States.

In recognition of excellence in Applied Theatre, the Program honored Rebecca Brown Adelman and Trent Norman, co-founders of Affinity Arts, an applied theatre company dedicated to positive social change in Colorado and neighboring states.

In recognition of excellence in Theatre for Young Audiences, the Program honored Jay DiPrima who has successfully nurtured the Aurand Harris Memorial Playwriting Award for the New England Theatre Conference for two decades.

NYU’s Program in Educational Theatre thanks the awardees for their service to their communities and to our field.


One of our awardees, Jay DiPrima, shared these words with us:

It is an honor to be recognized as a Swortzell Innovator in the Theatre for Young Audiences and Play Production.

Nancy & Lowell’s passion for plays for TYA go back more than the 50 years of this program’s founding – the work of Theatre in Education in England, the founding of The Creative Arts Team that has served youth throughout NY, their avid interest in International Youth Theatre (ASSITEJ), Lowell’s multiple publications of plays for young audiences and published collections of plays for young audiences from around the world and now their enduring legacy of New Plays and the nurturing of playwrights for young audiences hosted here at the Provincetown Playhouse.

This is the stream I go afishin’ in.

I believe the particular reason that I received this award (in addition to the fact that I have been engaged in work as writer, director, producer, and actor for young audiences for too many years), is because of my association with Lowell Swortzell and Aurand Harris.

Back in the day, I studied beginning and advanced playwriting with Aurand Harris and Lowell Swortzell. When Aurand died back in 1996, I was in a position as Chair of the Children’s Division of the New England Theatre Conference to help establish a memorial playwriting award in his honor. Another member of the division, Nina Schuessler (another NYU alumni) who worked with Aurand for many years at the Harwich Theatre on Cape Cod while he tested out his new works in production, affirmed this proposal.  When I called Nancy and Lowell to seek their advice, (as they were now executors of his estate), they were thrilled. So NETC voted to initiate the Award in November of 1997 with Lowell and Nancy as honored guests and speakers at the event in Worcester, MA. Thus The Aurand Harris Memorial Playwriting Award was created to honor the late Aurand Harris (1915-1996) for his lifetime dedication to all aspects of professional theatre for young audiences. I’ve had the honor to serve as the Chair of this Award for seventeen years.

Since its establishment, 25 new plays for young audiences have received either a $1,000 first place or $500 second place award. Every playwright has been honored at the annual conference and many works have received staged readings. I am proud to report that 16 of these plays have received publication either in the Dramatic Publishing Company, Pioneer Press, New Plays, Inc. Anchorage Press, Dramatists, Baker’s Plays or Jacpublishing. So, the work of playwrights for young audiences is alive and well. The goal is similar to the vision of Lowell and Nancy in establishing the New Plays for Young audiences reading series here at the Provincetown Playhouse – a place where new works are realized and playwrights are recognized.

I will recount two quick stories about Nancy & Lowell at the 1997 NETC Convention.

As Guest speakers at the New England Theatre Conference 1997, Nancy recounted a story about their role as executors of Aurand’s estate. When Aurand passed away in 1996, he had named Lowell and Nancy executors of his estate. While they were busy taking inventory of all of his material in his apartment, Nancy noticed a duffle bag at the bottom of his closet. Assuming it to be dirty laundry, she suggested to Lowell that they simply throw it into the incinerator and be done with it. Lowell, being the meticulous and diligent executor, said they had to pull it out and account for every detail. When they opened the bag, lo and behold, they found stashes of money – going back to post depression treasury bonds, cash and stock. When it was all accounted, it was worth nearly a quarter million dollars in value! The irony that Nancy highlighted was the manner in which Aurand lived – as if he was a poor teacher! He would often have to borrow an overcoat to go to the theatre with them! And here sat $250,000 in his closet! The funds were bequeathed to the Children’s Theatre Foundation and serve to this day as a source of Aurand Harris Fellowships for artists serving young people and grants for small and mid-sized theatres throughout America. It is a gift that keeps giving. For more information about their mission, grants and record of giving, see http://www.childrenstheatrefoundation.org/

Lowell highlighted some key points in Aurand’s life … quoting from the recent book he wrote on Aurand (as the authorized biographer) – The Theatre of Aurand Harris: His Career, His Theories and His Plays, c. 1996

In the Preface he writes: “When invited to undertake the writing and editing of this volume I first felt honored, then horrified – honored to be entrusted to document the career of the preeminent American dramatist for young audiences and horrified that he had written so damn many plays! That “damn” by no means modifies the plays, only their number, for, as I now know, most of Aurand Harris’ fifty published works remain refreshingly live. “

In writing about the evolving playwriting craft of Aurand, Lowell says:

“In the works of Harris, we are dealing with a repertory drawn from diverse cultures and from every type of literature for young audiences, including fairy and folk tales, short stories, novels, biography, history, drama, and poetry.

His works also utilize such diverse performance styles as commedia dell’arte, farce, melodrama, realism, comedy, musical plays and revues.”

So … when a playwright holds bountiful dramatic ideas in one hand and an array of theatrical forms in the other, he or she has every chance for a career as long and rewarding as the one chronicled here.”

Lowell ended with a favorite story of Aurand shared at the NETC Conference in Worcester 1997.

Aurand was fond of a question reporters inevitably asked when interviewing him –

“Do you have any children?”  Remembering Johnny Appleseed’s answer to the same inquiry he responds:  “Why, of course, a thousand and they bloom every spring.” But plays are even better than trees for they bloom and bear fruit all year round, and beyond.”

This is the legacy that Nancy and Lowell have left to us – the plays and the makers of plays for young audiences that bear fruit all year round, and beyond.”


Forum on Educational Theatre Preview #10

Preparations for the Forum on Educational Theatre April 21-24, 2016 are well underway. To register, click here.

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

Paper: Why Performance Literacy? Why Now? Launching a Secondary Level Performance Studies Curriculum

We live in a highly dramatized world and performative society. What are the intellectual, emotional and physical effects, both positive and negative, of living in such a performance-driven world? How is the field of education responding to the fact that we are immersed in multiple and complex dramas and performances on a daily basis? What might a secondary level curriculum in performance studies offer young people as a way to develop their performance literacy; to individually and collectively investigate and engage with performance as a personal, collective, cultural and sociopolitical event?

The performance studies curriculum developed over the past 2 years and presented in this paper consists of seven thematic units. Within each unit, students are invited to consider how performance functions as 1) a form of human and nonhuman play, 2) as a ritual act, such as a wedding or funeral or rite of passage, 3) as part of the healing process, 4) as a medium for education, 5) as a site for identity formation and representation, 6) as the enactment of power and, finally, 7) as a way to better understand the experiences of everyday life. These are key concepts in performance studies and are a significant part of the skill set I am interested in developing in young people as performance literacy.

Monica Prendergast teaches undergraduate courses in elementary/middle school drama education, a post-degree secondary level course on drama and diversity, and graduate courses in curriculum studies. She works with graduate students in curriculum studies, interdisciplinary studies, language and literacy and applied theatre. Prendergast has received numerous Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grants (2004-2012), worked on a major Ford Foundation grant investigating learning through arts integration (2008-2010), and her small theatre company received a Capital Regional District Arts Development Project Grant (2012). She sits on the Faculty of Education’s Centre for Outreach Education Steering Committee and the Department of Curriculum & Instruction’s Strategic Planning Committee. Prendergast is also a member of her department’s arts education, curriculum studies and language and literacy communities.



Forum on Educational Theatre Preview #9

Preparations for the Forum on Educational Theatre April 21-24, 2016 are well underway. To register, click here.

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

Paper 1: Mashing up Beowulf: Toward a New Intermediated Pedagogy of Drama, Technology and Performance

This paper reports on an intermedia (mashup) performance making project exploring the pedagogical affordances of machinima, large puppetry and live performance with young people. The project that is the basis for this research paper was held at the University of Sydney in partnership with the Australian Theatre for Young People. The week of workshops, part of the DARE Playing Beowulf project (http://darecollaborative.net/category/projects/playing-beowulf/), adapted the story of Beowulf through giant puppet-making and performance, mimetic performance and digital game sequences in a performative mashup. The paper will explore how this process succeeded in making drama with young people. The paper will also explore how successfully the performance making process developed a hybrid pedagogy for teaching mixed media performance realized through the cognate forms of drama and game. The paper will draw on video sequences that were projected during the final performance to demonstrate the pedagogical and performative processes the mash-ups employed during the week. The paper concludes with some reflections on the future of intermedia (mashup) pedagogies for drama education, youth theatre and beyond.

Dr. Michael Anderson is Professor (Arts and Creativity) in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at The University of Sydney. His research and teaching concentrates the role of creativity, the arts (particularly drama) and play have on learning. This work has evolved into a program of research and publication that engages with arts classrooms directly. His recent publications explore how aesthetic education and research is changing learning in the 21st Century. These publications include: Applied Theatre: Research (with Peter O’Connor, Bloomsbury, 2015), Partnerships in Education Research: Creating Knowledge that Matters (with Kelly Freebody, Bloomsbury, 2014), Masterclass in Drama Education (Continuum, UK), Teaching the Screen, Film Education for Generation Next (with Miranda Jefferson), Drama with Digital Technology (with John Carroll and David Cameron, Continuum, 2009) and Real Players: Drama, Education and Technology (with John Carroll and David Cameron Trentham, 2006).

See more at: http://sydney.edu.au/education_social_work/about/staff/profiles/michael.anderson.php#st hash.UX6FjcDo.dpuf

Dr. David Cameron is Deputy Director, Academic Technologies at the Centre for Teaching and Learning at The University of Newcastle, Australia. He has worked as a radio broadcaster and content producer, news editor, and multimedia designer. His academic career includes lecturing in journalism, media and communication. His research interests encompass digital game-based learning, applied drama and technology, social media, mobile media, and online education. David was a Chief Investigator on an Australian Research Council Linkage Project (2007 – 2010) with the Australian Defense Simulation Office, developing and trialing digital game-based and online role-based simulation tools for use in crisis management simulations and training. A prototype scenario and Web-based simulation engine were produced for Australian Defense Force public affairs personnel. This work draws upon and expands David’s research interests in digital game-based learning, the use of ‘everyday’ digital and online media technologies in learning and teaching, and the application of traditional applied drama conventions and techniques to produce engaging blended learning activities. Recent publications have examined the links between drama, education and technology. David has also researched and published widely in the communication and journalism education fields. He is interested in the impact and application of mobile media and social media, and the implications for higher education and training in the media and communication disciplines.

Dr. Celina McEwen undertakes research in the arts and education. She also has research interests in adult community education especially projects focusing on Community Cultural Development, Health Promotion and Community Leadership. She has completed a Doctorate in the Departments of Performance Studies and Anthropology at the University of Sydney. Her thesis describes the alteration of the social realm that takes place for participants engaged in community cultural development (CCD) projects in terms of learning and change.