Announcing Auditions for Educational Theatre’s Spring 2020 Main Stage Production

The Program in Educational Theatre announces auditions for its Spring 2020 Main Stage Production directed by Joe Salvatore:

Making Gay History Org Logo

A new verbatim documentary theatre project adapted from the Making Gay History podcast. The project will explore LGBTQ+ history prior to the Stonewall uprising in 1969.

In Winter 2020, NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre will produce a verbatim documentary theatre project adapted from the Making Gay History podcast. The series draws its material from interviews conducted by journalist and author Eric Marcus in the late 1980s and early 1990s and that he published as two books: Making History (1992) and Making Gay History (2002). In 2016, Marcus was asked to turn the original audio files of his interviews into a podcast series, which resulted in the release of five seasons, a special Stonewall 50 season, and a sixth season in October 2019.

Marcus approached Joe Salvatore, Clinical Associate Professor of Educational Theatre and verbatim documentary theatre practitioner to collaborate on the creation of a live performance version of Making Gay History, requesting that the project focus on LGBTQ+ history before the Stonewall uprising in 1969. The intention is for the resulting play to be performed by high schools, colleges, and universities across the country as a way to teach LGBTQ+ history.

The project seeks actors from diverse backgrounds and experiences for an ensemble production of the play that may also include music inspired by the songs of Edythe Eyde. Actors who sing and/or play guitar, ukulele, and/or piano are encouraged to audition. Please note that in this particular style of verbatim performance participants/characters are often portrayed by actors of other races, ethnicities, genders, ages, abilities, and orientations.

Rehearsals will begin on or around January 18, 2020, and will occur 5-6 days a week with the opening performance scheduled for February 28, 2020.

Performance Dates:

  • Friday, February 28, 8pm 
  • Saturday, February 29, 8pm
  • Sunday, March 1, 3pm
  • Monday, March 2, 10am
  • Thursday, March 5, 8pm
  • Friday, March 6, 10am
  • Friday, March 6, 8pm
  • Saturday, March 7, 3pm
  • Saturday, March 7, 8pm
  • Sunday, March 8, 3pm

Location: Provincetown Playhouse at 133 Macdougal Street, NYC 

Audition dates, times, and locations:

Friday, November 15, 1:00-4:00pm (Education Building, Room 770)

Saturday, November 16, Noon-5:00pm (Education Building, Room 307)


Callbacks:
Sunday, November 17, 1:00-4:00pm (Education Building, Room 779)

Interested actors can click on this link to sign up for an audition slot. You will be taken to a website where you can select an audition date/time. If you have conflicts with the scheduled auditions, please reach out to Joe Salvatore (js1655@nyu.edu) to consider an alternative audition date and time. For the auditions, actors should prepare the following:

  • One of the speeches available at this link.
  • A short movement piece, no more than 2 minutes, set to a piece of music. Please bring a device (phone, tablet, laptop) to play your music. We’re interested in seeing how you complete an action while music is playing and/or tell a story through movement. THIS IS NOT MEANT TO BE ADVANCED CHOREOGRAPHY. You can tie your shoes to a Beyoncé song.
  • An awareness of one of the episodes of the Making Gay History podcast and why it speaks to you.
  • A theatrical resume (headshot/photo optional but not required)
  • Your Spring 2020 class schedule and any other pre-existing personal conflicts from January 13 through March 8, 2020.
  • 16 bars of a song to be sung acapella (no accompaniment) (optional)

If you have questions, please contact Joe Salvatore at js1655@nyu.edu.

World Drama 2019 Speakers Series – African American / Black Theatre

This fall, the World Drama course at NYU Steinhardt / Program in Educational Theatre welcomes a variety of theatre professionals to discuss the diverse theatre companies here in New York City. Please join us to hear about the companies and their artistic staff, productions, and vision for theatre in our great city.

The second event is Wednesday, November 6

6:45 – 8:25PM

Pless Hall, 1st Floor Lounge

82 Washington Square East

Panelists include:

Andrew Clarke – Braata Productions

Andrew Clarke is a singer, actor, aspiring playwright/director and serves as founder/artistic director for both Braata Folk Singers and Braata Productions.  A graduate of the Edna Manley College (Faculty of Drama), Clarke is a 2008 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture.  In that same year he also represented Jamaica at the World Championships for the Performing Arts in Hollywood, California where he was crowned Grand Champion Performer of the World.

His stage credits include David Heron’s “Ecstasy” (UK tour) and a Jamaican adaptation of James Baldwin’s “Amen Corner” for which he was nominated for Best Actor in a Lead Role by the International Theatre Institute – Jamaica Chapter (ITI) Actor Boy Awards (Jamaica’s Tony Awards). An accomplished vocalist with 30 gold medals and numerous national awards from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) National Festival of the Performing Arts Competition in Speech, Music and Drama. Other awards include 15 overall National Awards including Best Actor and Male Vocalist.

AJ Muhammad – Fire This Time Festival

A.J. Muhammad has a background in audience development, arts administration, dramaturgy and library public services. He has dramaturged many productions directed by the educator, activist and director Dr. Daniel Banks in New York City, regionally and internationally. Along with Neyda Martinez he co-developed and implemented the pilot phase of the New Audience Project, an initiative to develop and train Latina cultural ambassadors in support of Latino arts institutions through arts immersion, workforce development and micro-entrepreneurism. The New Audience Project received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and was incubated at The Fire This Time Festival’s East 4th St. neighbor Teatro Circulo. A.J. also completed the Artist Manager Program (AMP) training program at The Field.

Shaun Neblett – Changing Perceptions Theater

Over the past 17 years, Shaun Neblett has created and managed multiple youth theater programs throughout low-income neighborhoods in New York City.  He is the founder of Changing Perceptions Theater, a theater company that provides theater and performance training to youth in urban communities. As a playwright, Shaun was produced Off- Broadway when he was 18 years old at the Public Theater. Since then, his plays have been produced internationally, Off- Broadway and at regional theater venues. He is completing his “7 Homages for 7 MCs” play cycle, which is a suite of seven original plays that originate from the spirit of classic hip-hop albums. Shaun’s first completed play in the cycle pays tribute to the rapper Nas’ debut album Illmatic and was referenced by African American scholar Dr. Michael Eric Dyson as “A great play that evokes a sense of history and a sense of intimacy with people who nurture you, surround you and are a mystery to you.”

If you wish to attend, RSVP here.

Our final event for the semester will be Wednesday, December 4 – Asian American Theatre. Please let Dr. Jonathan Jones know if you have any questions.

Bravo to the Cast and Crew of ‘The Good Soul of Szechuan’

By David Montgomery

Congratulations to everybody involved in the Program in Educational Theatre’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Soul of Szechuan. What a pleasure it was to see such an outstanding production of Brecht performed in the Black Box Theatre on Thursday night (October 24)!

NYU Steinhardt Program in Educational Theatre - 'Good Soul of Szechuan' Poster, 2019

Exquisitely directed by Dr. Nancy Smither, many of Brecht’s theatre techniques were brilliantly used, including the use of captions, music, songs, actors playing several roles, direct addresses to the audience, and plenty of humor mixed with serious themes and moments. All of these theatrical techniques supported and enhanced the play’s structure, which was translated by David Harrower. Following the actions of the character of Shen Te/Shui Ta, the play explores whether in order to do good we must sometimes do evil, and whether true goodness is possible in a poverty-filled world. 

This parable exploring good and evil embodied Brecht’s vision of a theater that simultaneously entertains, teaches and provokes questions and thought. Tonight I was so impressed by the talented ensemble’s ability to convey all these things. The 17 cast members worked together seamlessly to present a provocative and compelling interpretation of this historically significant play that felt fresh and new. And Anthony Sun Prickett’s original music and musical numbers further added meaningful weight to the tone and mood of the piece. 

The wonderfully versatile ensemble of actors  included:

  • Elise Baum
  • Theo Blumstein
  • Jason Goldwin Chang
  • Christine Drayer
  • Irene Guo
  • Madeline Hoak
  • Asha John
  • Beryl Liu
  • Rita Liu
  • Laura Amancha Negrete
  • Xiaojin Niu
  • Eve Price
  • Kevin Qian
  • Sarah Reed
  • Ash Russell
  • Gretchen Vosburgh
  • Sara Wu 

Tim McMath’s set design was perfect, seemingly simple yet highly inventive. Praise must also be given to Lighting Designer Daryl Embry, Costume Designer Michelle Humprey, Sound Designer Ernesto Valenzuela, assistant directors/dramaturgs Jin Dong and Anthony Sun Prickett, assistant stage managers Megan Abbanat and Hoa Thi Kahnh Tran, and the always reliable and talented Production Stage Manager, Kristina Varshavskaya. 

Bravo to you all!

There are only three remaining shows at the Black Box Theatre at 82 Washington Square East—including Friday night (Oct. 24) at 8pm, Saturday at 8pm, and this Sunday at 3pm.

So don’t miss this illuminating and entertaining production! 

Catch it before it closes!

Community Engaged Theatre

PhD alumna Ashley Lauren Hamilton received a multi-million dollar grant to support the DU Prison Arts Initiative at Denver University in 2019. This fall, her important work was featured in The New York Times. A brief excerpt from the article follows.

Ashley Hamilton, center, who directed the prodcution, led a mindfulness exercise before the performance. Credit - Trent Davis Bailey for The New York Times
Ashley Hamilton, center, who directed the production, led a mindfulness exercise before the performance. Credit: Trent Davis Bailey for The New York Times

STERLING, Colo. — The cast was strip-searched before boarding the bus to their show. The leading man was shackled so tightly that he performed with abrasions on his wrists. And the moment the men finished their bows and the house lights came up, they had to slip out of costume and back into green prison uniforms.

So goes life on the road for a production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” put on by 30 medium-security inmates of the Sterling Correctional Facility, out on Colorado’s remote eastern plains. While prison plays have been around for decades, the challenge of this show was audaciously new: It went on tour.

Continue Reading at NYTimes.com

Ashley Lauren Hamilton is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Denver and the Founder and Co-Director of the DU Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI). Ashley’s work is vast, ranging from teaching full time, creating theatre and performance in medium and maximum security prisons and directing and devising university and professional work in Colorado and New York. Ashley’s research focuses on the complexities of teaching and creating theatre in prisons and how this practice can be used as a resource for authentic dialogue, affectual experience, transformation and lasting rehabilitation, leading her to launch DU PAI in late 2017. Ashley has a PhD in Applied/Educational Theatre from New York University where she focused on applied theatre, theatre for social change and devising theatre. Ashley also has an MA from New York University in Applied/Educational Theatre, Theatre for Communities and a BFA in Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Ashley is also in the process of becoming a registered drama therapist (RDT).

ArtsPraxis Volume 6 Issue 2

Cover image from a 2018 NYU Steinhardt, Program in Drama Therapy production of "Living with...", written in collaboration with four long term survivors of HIV and three newly diagnosed adults based on months of group therapy sessions.

Our contributions in this issue come from artists, educators, and arts therapists focusing on theatre and health.

The first collection of articles highlight reflective practice.  Lawrence Ashford explores interactions between professional performers and young people in Australian hospitals. Bianca C. Frazer looks at the deconstruction of stereotypes about diabetes on stage. James Webb reflects on the personal impact of writing, acting, and sharing his autobiographical play, The Contract, detailing his struggles as a gay man in the Black Church in the United States. Faith Busika and Zandile Mqwathi discuss drama processes employed to address mental health and promote wellbeing in South Africa. Finally, Yi-Chen Wu unpacks her experience collaborating with a woman with cerebral palsy and the woman’s performance of her autobiographical memory.

The second section features a pair of critically reflective articles with recommendations for practitioners and researchers. Alyssa Digges advocates for a mental health and wellness curriculum for students in actor training programs. Teresa A. Fisher analyzes failures in a theatre for health project, specifically looking at the facilitator’s role in such a project.

The final pair of articles look to examine existing practice and repertoire. William Pinchin connects Jung’s collective unconscious theory and Lecoq’s understanding of a universal poetic sense, reevaluating the neutral mask. Finally, Majeed Mohammed Midhin and Samer Abid Rasheed Farhan interrogate the healing power of theatre through a discussion of contemporary prison theatre praxis and the representations made in Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good.

This issue of ArtsPraxis is available for download.

Editorial: On Mindfulness – Jonathan P. Jones

The Flexible Performer in Applied Theatre: In-hospital Interaction with Captain Starlight – Lawrence Ashford

“Where’s Your Imagination?”: Using the Social Model to Deconstruct Stereotypes about Diabetes on Stage – Bianca C. Frazer

A Critical Autobiography: Examining the Impact of a Theatre-Making Process on a Theatre Practitioner’s Identity Development – James Webb

Addressing Mental Health in South Africa Using the Djembe Drum and Storytelling to Open up the Dialogue of Finding, Owning, and Using Your Voice in the Home as a Christian Woman – Faith Busika and Zandile Mqwathi

Towards an Approach of Performise: I Am a Normal Person (2018) as a Case Study – Yi-Chen Wu

Preventing Actor Burnout through a Mental Health and Wellness Curriculum – Alyssa Digges

Bad Facilitation or the Wrong Approach?: Unpacking the Failure of a Theatre for Health Project – Teresa A. Fisher

The Shadow of the Neutral Mask: A Jungian Examination of Lecoq-based Neutral Mask Praxis – William Pinchin

The Healing Power of Theatre in Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good – Majeed Mohammed Midhin and Samer Abid Rasheed Farhan

Educational Theatre Explores Morality with Play ‘The Good Soul of Szechuan’

By Amanda Wicks

The Program will stage Bertolt Brecht’s parable of goodness October 18-27 at NYU’s Black Box Theatre.

Rita Liu rehearses as Shen-Te. Photo by Hoa Thi Khanh Tran

Rita Liu rehearses as Shen-Te. Photo by Hoa Thi Khanh Tran

What does it take to be a good person? The question has long intrigued philosophers: Plato believed it hinged on knowledge, while Kant thought it remained intrinsically tied to motivation, and John Stuart Mill surmised it had to do with actions that maximized people’s happiness.

But philosophers haven’t been the only thinkers to engage with the question, which continues to grow increasingly tangled as the centuries progress. In that time, it hasn’t become any easier to land on a definitive answer, but the investigation remains worthwhile.

NYU Steinhardt’s Educational Theatre program takes up the inquiry with its upcoming staging of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Soul of Szechuan. The play runs from October 18-27 at NYU’s Black Box Theatre (Pless Hall, 82 Washington Square East). In keeping with Brecht’s theory of alienation (Verfremdungseffect), the production incorporates mime, abstract movement, choral work, songs and placards.

The German playwright, poet, and director made the question of goodness a central focus of his 1941 play. Set in Szechuan, it follows the journey of three gods who seek an answer to that age-old question, and seem to find it in the heroin dealer Shen-Te, whose morality supersedes her lifestyle. The gods gift Shen-Te with wealth thanks to her good nature, but that only draws bad characters into her life, which further complicates the question of goodness. 

Educational Theatre’s production features David Harrower’s translation, which comes from the lesser-known Santa Monica version Brecht wrote while living in exile during Hitler’s reign in Germany. Although he later revised the play, making Shen-Te a prostitute, the original portrayed her as an opium dealer (which Harrower later translated to heroin).  

“With a diverse ensemble, we have explored ways in which the play is relevant in the 21st century, drawing parallels to Brecht’s time under the specter of fascism, to current day dilemmas in our often hostile and dangerous world,” said Nancy Smithner, clinical associate professor of educational theatre, who directs the production. “Moving beyond the binaries of good and bad, we ask, ‘Is it possible to be truly good in our present-day world?’”

Between October 18-27, performances of The Good Soul of Szechuan take place at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. See the full schedule and purchase tickets via the NYU Box Office.

CfP: ArtsPraxis Volume 7 Issue 1

ArtsPraxis Volume 7, Issue 1 looks to engage members of the global Educational Theatre community in dialogue around current research and practice. This call for papers is released in anticipation of the publication of ArtsPraxis Volume 6, Issue 2. The submission deadline for Volume 7, Issue 1 is November 15, 2019.

Submissions should fall under one of the following categories:

  • Drama in Education (i.e., studies in drama/theatre curriculum, special education, integrated arts, assessment and evaluation)
  • Applied Theatre (i.e., studies in community-based theatre, theatre of the oppressed, the teaching artist, diversity and inclusion)
  • Theatre for Young Audiences and Play Production (i.e., studies in acting, directing, dramaturgy, playwriting, dramatic literature, theatre technology, arts-based research methodologies)

Call for Papers

Papers should be no longer than 4,000 words, must be accompanied by a 200 word abstract and 100 word biographies for the author(s), and conform to APA style manual. 

Key questions the Issue will address include:

Drama in Education

  • How and why do we teach drama and theatre in schools and community settings?
  • How do the roles and responsibilities of the teaching artist differ from those of the classroom teacher (primary, secondary or higher education)?
  • What is the contemporary role of drama and theatre in arts education?
  • How do we prepare future theatre artists and educators in the 21st century?
  • What are innovative ways of devising original works and/or teaching theatre using various aesthetic forms, media, and/or technology?
  • To what extent can the study of global theatre forms impact students’ learning?
  • To what extent should we distinguish theatre-making from drama as a learning medium?
  • How can integrated-arts curricula facilitate teaching, learning and presenting the craft of theatre?
  • How do we assess students’ aesthetic understanding and awareness?
  • What research supports the potential of drama as a learning medium?
  • How do drama and theatre make connections across curricular content areas and beyond schools?
  • How do drama and theatre education contribute to lifelong learning?
  • What role do drama and theatre play in community agencies?

Applied Theatre

  • How can drama provide a forum to explore ideas?
  • What are innovative strategies for using drama to stimulate dialogue, interaction and change?
  • How is theatre being used to rehabilitate people in prisons, health facilities, and elsewhere?
  • How do we prepare future artists/educators for work in applied theatre?
  • What ethical questions should the artist/educator consider in their work?
  • In what ways are aesthetics important in applied theatre? How do we negotiate a commitment to both the process and product of applied theatre work?
  • How do artist/educators assess participants’ understandings in an applied theatre project?
  • What are the major tensions in the field and how are these being addressed?
  • To what extent has recent research on affect influenced community-based praxis?

Theatre for Young Audiences/Play Production

  • Theatre for young audiences is an international movement and the borders are breaking down so how do we present and respond to work from other countries?
  • Who exactly are our new audiences– who are we talking to?
  • Are we as brave as we think we are? How does what we think we should do relate to what we want to do as artists?
  • Is the writer at the heart of future theatre creation? What has happened to dramaturgy in the brave new world of immersive, experiential, visual/physical theatre?
  • Theatre for Young Audiences has always been in the forefront of theatrical innovation. So what is next?
  • What have we learned about nurturing the artist of the future– playwriting, theatre-making, performance?
  • How do artists establish rigorous, intentional new works development processes that are innovative and sustainable?
  • How does accountability serve the stakeholders in a new works development process?
  • How do we define and measure success in theatre for young audiences?

We encourage article submissions from interdisciplinary artists, educators, and scholars engaged in work associated with the forum topics. Our goals are to motivate a dialogue among a wide variety of practitioners and researchers that will enrich the development of educational theatre in the coming years.

Dr. Jonathan Jones, New York University
Editor

Editorial Board:

  • Selina Busby, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK
  • Amy Cordileone, New York University, USA
  • Ashley Hamilton, University of Denver, USA
  • Norifumi Hida, Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music, Japan
  • Kelly Freebody, The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Byoung-joo Kim, Seoul National University of Education, South Korea
  • David Montgomery, New York University, USA
  • Ross Prior, University of Wolverhampton, UK
  • Daphnie Sicre, Loyola Marymount University, USA
  • James Webb, Bronx Community College, USA
  • Gustave Weltsek, Indiana University Bloomington, USA

Reviewing Procedures

Each article will be sent to two peer reviewers. They will provide advice on the following:

  • Whether the article should be published with no revisions/with revisions.
  • The contribution the article makes to the arts community.
  • Specific recommendations to the author about improving the article.
  • Other publishing outlets if the article is considered unacceptable.

Papers should be sent to:

Dr. Jonathan Jones
ArtsPraxis
Include ‘ArtsPraxis Submission’ in the subject line.

World Drama 2019 Speakers Series – LatinX Theatre

This fall, the World Drama course at NYU Steinhardt / Program in Educational Theatre welcomes a variety of theatre professionals to discuss the diverse theatre companies here in New York City. Please join us to hear about the companies and their artistic staff, productions, and vision for theatre in our great city.

The first event is Wednesday, October 16
6:45 – 8:25PM
Pless Basement Acting Studio
82 Washington Square East

Panelists include:
Robert Federico – Repertorio Español 
Manuel Moran – TeatroSEA
Ramiro Sandoval – TabulaRaSa

If you wish to attend, RSVP

Future panelist topics and dates are as follows:
Wednesday, November 6 – African American / Black Theatre
Wednesday, December 4 – Asian American Theatre

Please let Dr. Jonathan Jones know if you have any questions.

Friendsgiving and FIREBEETLES!!! Auditions

Uproar logo and Title for events

We are so excited to announce auditions for our fall mainstage productions! Part of Uproar’s mission is to produce new works written by NYU students.

In celebration of this, we will be producing Friendsgiving, written by Carina Kanzler, and FIREBEETLES!!! by Yaroslava Bondar.

FIREBEETLES!!! is a ten minute one-woman show which will be playing before Friendsgiving at each performance date. Friendsgiving is a 60-80 minutes show with a cast of seven women and one man.

Audition Times and Locations:
September 19th from 7-11 in GCASL 269
September 20th from 6-11 in GCASL 269

Click here for Materials and instructions

Click here to sign up for an audition slot

Please fill out this information form when you sign up

—————————————————————-
SYNOPSIS:
Friendsgiving:
Everyone says that the first three months of college are the hardest, that if you can survive them, you’re in the clear. But what happens when you have to return home and confront everything you left behind? A group of girlfriends, inseparable since sixth grade, grapple with what it means to move forward, grow up, and let go while still leaving room in their lives for those who had such a profound impact on who they are today. They are forced to confront the sometimes alarming truth of what has changed and what hasn’t at their first annual “Friendsgiving”.

FIREBEETLES!!!:
Mina is a 12 year old girl with SO MANY questions (What is a penis? How to boil a frog? Is the world ending?) but very little answers. With her older sister off to college and her best friend in a relationship, she is left with just her stuffed animals to talk to. FIREBEETLES!!! is a play about growing up, staying young, feeling small in an overwhelming world, and, naturally, fireflies.

Auditions for Fall Mainstage Production: THE GOOD SOUL OF SZECHUAN

The Good Soul of Szechuan tranlated by David Harrower - Bloomsbury cover image
The Good Soul of Szechuan

THE GOOD SOUL OF SZECHUAN
by Bertolt Brecht
directed by Dr. Nan Smithner 

A play with music AND a timely tale of good versus greed! 

Seeking diverse actors of all ages, sizes, and genders: An excellent opportunity to work in an ensemble format creating and exploring Brecht’s alienation devices. 

Please prepare a 1 – 2 minute monologue of your choosing, as well as a short song.

AUDITION DETAILS:

  • Dates + Times: September 4, 5, 6 from 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Location: Black Box Theatre, Pless Hall – 82 Washington Square East | New York, NY 10003
  • Additional info: 
    • Reserve your audition here
    • Please prepare a 1 – 2 minute monologue of your choosing, as well as a short song
    • Please bring your resume and headshot
    • Callbacks on Sat, September 7 from 10am – 12pm 
    • 1st Rehearsal on Sat, September 7 from 1pm – 5pm

REHEARSAL + SHOW INFO:

  • Rehearsal dates: September 7 – October 17, 2019
  • Performance dates: October 18 – 27, 2019

If you have any questions please feel free to email Kristina Varshavskaya (Production Stage Manager)

Thank you and looking forward to seeing you at the auditions!