Community Engaged Theatre

PhD alumni 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 – Asian American Theatre
Wednesday, December 4 – African-American / Black 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!

ArtsPraxis Volume 5 Issue 1

Cover Photo: Photo by Saskia Kahn from Of a Certain Age, NYU Steinhardt, Program in Educational Theatre, Directed by Joe Salvatore, 2018

This invited special issue of ArtsPraxis features voices from that two-day forum and offers just a small snapshot of the varied perspectives and practices that gathered together at NYU. I was keenly interested in sharing the powerful and resonant comments of established leaders in the field alongside new and emerging artists and scholars whose work covers new ground either in form or content. The issue begins with an excerpted version of the forum’s opening keynote conversation with Dr. Patricia Leavy, best-selling author, book series creator and editor, and internationally recognized leader in arts-based and qualitative research, in which she discusses her origins and evolution as an artist and scholar and shares her thoughts on the aesthetics and ethics of ethnodrama and arts-based research. This is followed by the text of a keynote delivered by leading scholar in ethnodrama and ethnotheatre Emeritus Professor Johnny Saldaña, in which he situates our practice as theatre makers within the complex world at large, shares examples of plays from across the genre that illustrate this “art of fabrication,” and makes recommendations for how we move forward as artists and scholars in a post-truth era. Emerging scholar and drama therapist Darci Burch introduces the term “ethno-actor” and defines the aesthetic and ethical implications for an actor who performs the speech and gestural patterns of an actual person.

The issue then includes three ethnodramatic scripts, each of which takes a different approach to the form and content of the genre. Thomas Murray’s The Right of Way examines the circumstances surrounding the death of a cyclist in Chicago while simultaneously offering historical contextualization of transportation in the United States, highlighting the growing tensions between cyclists, automobile drivers, and pedestrians. Jamila Humphrie and Emily Schorr Lesnick explore how young members of the lgbtq+ community choose to express and explain their identities with their interview theatre play, How We GLOW, which has been performed over 30 times in venues throughout the United States and Ireland. And the special issue rounds out with My Other Job by Cali Moore and Rachel Tuggle Whorton, their humorous and insightful homage to the actor’s “survival” vocation, and how that plays out across a variety of experiences and contexts.

– Joe Salvatore, Guest Editor

This issue of ArtsPraxis is available for download.

Editorial – Joe Salvatore

A Plenary Conversation – Patricia Leavy with Joe Salvatore

Keynote Address: The Art of Fabrication – Johnny Saldaña

The Ethno-Actor: Encompassing the Intricacies and Challenges of Character Creation in Ethnotheatre – Darci Burch

The Right of Way – Thomas Murray

How We GLOW – Jamila Humphrie and Emily Schorr Lesnick

My Other Job – Cali Elizabeth Moore and Rachel Tuggle Whorton

Student and Alumni Updates – 2019

Ma Rosalie Abeto Zerrudo, MA, 2012

Ma Rosalie Abeto Zerrudo bridges multi-characters as cultural worker, performance and visual multi-media artist. She combines her BA in Psychology and her MA in a community-engaged culture-based process-centered art practice she calls soulwork. Currently she serves as Assistant Professor at University of San Agustin, Iloilo, Philippines.

Shizue Amano, BS, 1996

Karin (Shizue) Amano has been telling Japanese folktales professionally at number of settings including, Young Authors Conference, Read Across America, Asian American Storytelling Summit, as well as various cultural festivals, schools, libraries, and Walt Disney World. She is a board member of National Storytelling Network’s YES! (Youth, Educators, Storytellers Alliance).

Kristin Benner-Prentice, MA, 2012

After graduation from NYU, Kristin began teaching theatre for Montclair Public Schools as a K-2 teacher. She now teaches theatre for Tenafly Public Middle School in New Jersey. In 2016 she married her husband and they now have a son, Landon, who turned two in July.

Samantha Bessudo Drucker, BS, 1994

A lifestyle expert/personality/host/actress, Samantha has translated her twenty year career as an acclaimed image consultant into her new endeavors as AskSam and the production of Love and Design Project, a renovation series focusing on the stylist transformation of urban apartments with husband, architect Jeffrey Drucker.

Coutney J. Boddie, MA, 2003

Courtney is the New Victory Director of Education/School Engagement, TYA Community Impact Award recipient and Host of Teaching Artistry, a podcast. She oversees the Theater’s Education Partnerships; Victory Dance, free dance education for NYC summer schools; Create, teacher professional development for NYC Pre-K for All teachers; SPARK, serves arts-deprived school communities; and GIVE, equitable student engagement in inclusion classrooms.

Steve Borowka, MA, 2001

Steve is the Performing Arts Chair at Friends Seminary in New York City. He teaches drama to middle and upper school students as well as directs the school plays and musicals. Steve is also the owner and camp director of Acting Manitou – a theater camp located in Maine – now in its 17th summer.

Jason Boxer, BS, 2016

Jason moved to Buenos Aires in March for a nine-month physical theatre intensive at the Cabuia Escuela Internacional de Creación Teatral y Movimiento. He’s studying clown, mask work, Feldenkrais method, and more!

Lulzim Bucolli, MA, 2016

Lulzim has been working as an assistant acting teacher at the University of Prishtina, and also a theater practitioner in Kosovo, mixing up process drama and forum theater for different communities in the Balkans. After two years he has established a drama program at the juvenile center in Kosovo.

Jean Burgess, PhD, 2002

Jean has recently written a textbook entitled Collaborative Stage Directing: Creating and Managing a Positive Theatre Environment, published by Routledge/Francis & Taylor.

Andrew P. Burnstine, PhD, 2001

Andrew is an Associate Professor of Fashion Marketing and Management at Lynn University where he has been teaching for the past nine years. Burnstine, A.K.A “Dr. Fashion”, has also presented major red carpet fashion segments on South Florida local network affiliates.

Andrew Coopman, MA, 2015

Andrew is currently pursuing an MFA in Directing at the University of Washington. He is also a teaching artist at Village Theater, Seattle Opera, and other local theaters.

Gaspare DiBlasi, MA, 2014

Gaspare is completing his 5th year as a theater teacher at P.S. 217 in Brooklyn.

Suzanne Evans, MA, 1991

Suzanne is an Inc. 500/5000 business owner for five years and New York Times bestselling author. She provides support, consult, and business development skills to the over 30,000 entrepreneurs enrolled in her wealth and business building programs. She currently lives with her family in Chapel Hill, NC.

Sheng-Tao Fan, MA, 2008

Sheng-Tao has been working at National Taiwan Normal University where he mainly teaches Theatre in Education as well as Arts and Business Cooperation. Dr. Fan recently published his book Performing Arts Application: Teaching, Healing, and Facilitation in Mandarin Chinese.

Zak Ferentz, MA, 2016

Zak is currently teaching kindergarten at Schechter Westchester in White Plains, NY. This past October, he married fellow Ed Theatre alum Dana Shapiro. They are so grateful they met in Amy Cordileone’s Acting: Pedagogy, Technique, and Performance class!

Andrew Gaines, PhD, 2018

Andrew is on tenure-track as the Head of Theatre Arts and Communication at Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen, Washington where he lives with his wife Michelle and baby daughter Shayna. Visit andrewmgaines.com to learn more about what Andrew has been up to.

David Graybill, MA, 2012

After graduating the Ed Theatre MA program, David went on to get a PhD in Shakespeare Studies from the University of Birmingham (UK) and the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. He is currently the Technical Theatre Director for the Wildwood School in Los Angeles.

Laurie Gruhn, MA, 1991

Laurie is Head of Lower School/Asst. Head of School at the The Browning School an all boys’ school in NYC, where she teaches drama in the classroom whenever she can!

Ashley Hamilton, MA, 2013; PhD, 2017

Ashley just completed her second year as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Denver where she also founded and is Co-Director of the DU Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI).

Clare Hammoor, MA, 2013; EdD, 2018

Clare is the Director of Inquiry and Instruction at Compositive Primary in Denver, Colorado. He is also devising and directing professionally with students at the University of Denver and with incarcerated folks in the Colorado prison system.

Liz Heck, MA, 2017

Liz found a theatre teacher position right after graduation in a NYS public school nestled into the Hudson-Valley. She currently teaches K-8 theatre class and is excited to have completed her second year at Garrison Union Free School.

Jonathan P. Jones, MA, 2004; PhD, 2014

Jonathan recently directed Quiet No More: A Celebration of Stonewall at Carnegie Hall for World Pride NYC/Stonewall50, featuring 564 singers from across the United States (a modern record at Carnegie) with new compositions from Julian Hornick, Michael McElroy, Ann Hampton Callaway, and Our Lady J, for which he was featured in a BBC News feature, Stonewall Riot: ‘It was the day everything changed.’ His recent edited publications include Paradigms and Possibilities: A Festschrift in Honor of Philip Taylor (Amazon.com) and ArtsPraxis (steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/research/artspraxis).

Laura Josepher, MA 1990

Laura runs ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com with business partner David Sisco. Together they teach masterclasses and workshops about auditioning and how to work on new musicals all over the world. Their book Mastering College Musical Theatre Auditions: Sound Advice for the Student, Teacher, and Parent will have its second printing this summer.

Sobha Kavanakudiyil, MA, 2003

Sobha is Faculty in The Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at The City College of New York has also been Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable and is thrilled to begin the EdD in Educational Theatre at NYU in Summer 2019!

Jeff Kennedy, MA, 1995; PhD, 2006

Jeff is an Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance at Arizona State University, his book Staging America: The Artistic Legacy of the Provincetown Players is to be published by University of Alabama Press, and he recently received a Fulbright Scholar Award to research for six months at the British Library.

Heni Koenigsberg, BS, 1974

Heni is a producer of Broadway theatre, and is dedicated to making theatre accessible and relevant for all audiences. A lifelong passion that was ignited at Steinhardt, Heni has received numerous Tony Awards and is currently represented on Broadway by Hadestown, To Kill a Mockingbird, Tootsie and others.

Mary Ellen Lowe, MA, 1996

Mary Ellen has been teaching 4th Grade with Detroit Public Schools for 23 years. Teaching a predominantly Latino population, Mary Ellen incorporates arts infused education into lessons. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and a Fulbright Scholar. In her free time, she loves to explore the streets of Detroit by bike!

Peter Lubrecht, PhD, 2003

Peter has retired from active teaching and is currently an author and presenter. His next book Carl Schurz American Statesman for Fonthill Media is due to be launched in the Summer of 2019.

Natalie Mack, MA, 2012

Natalie teaches Drama & Humanities at The Institute for Collaborative Education in The East Village. She is a theatre and music maker, and proud member of Trusty Sidekick Theater Company and St. Fortune Theater Collective. Check her out here: www.natmack.com

Jerry Maraia, MA, 2005

Jerry recently completed his PhD in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. He serves as the Academic Dean at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School across Pre K-12 with a focus on four major areas: curriculum, instruction, and assessment; teacher recruitment, retention and development; student support services; and accreditation.

Tommy Marr, MA, 2008

Tommy has been the Director of Theatre at Great Neck South High School for the past 10 years, where he teaches a full theatre curriculum and directs/produces a full season of shows and events including a musical, play, one act festival, TYA play, improv troupe, and coffee house.

Christina Neubrand, MA, 2007

Christina is an adjunct professor at LIM College and BMCC where she teaches courses like Public Speaking, Communication Across Cultures and Theatre. She is co-founder of The AJ Project, a nonprofit that uses the arts to promote organ donor awareness and also supports several start-ups under the Cantu Holdings umbrella as Executive Manager. Christina is working on a performance project incorporating her cello playing and singing with storytelling.

Cody Page, MA, 2014

Cody is a doctoral student at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. His research focuses on historiographical adaptations of LGBT+ history within contemporary theatre.

Kimberly Poppiti, PhD, 2003

Kimberly has written a new book, A History of Equestrian Drama in the United States. The book is published by Routledge and was released in June 2018. She has also accepted a new teaching position, joining the full-time faculty in the Communication Studies Department at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, New York.

Daphnie Sicre, MA, 2004; PhD, 2017

Daphnie will be joining the faculty at Loyola Marymount University in the fall as Assistant Professor of Theatre with specialization in Directing & Social Justice. There she will be directing, teaching, helping shape their Social Justice program and their new MFA in Pedagogy of Theatre.

Robert Thaxton-Stevenson, BS, 2013; MA, 2014

Robert is a Brooklyn-based theatre maker and educator. For the past five years he has been a teaching artist for the New Victory Theater, Metropolitan Opera Guild, and New York Theatre Workshop. This fall he will start as the Upper School Drama Teacher and Technical Director at the Chapin School.

Richard Wallace, MA, 2005

Richard recently completed his doctoral work at The University of Alabama with Movie: The Musical! A three-article dissertation examining the phenomenon of Broadway musicals based on films, which was the focus of an article in Forbes: shorturl.at/jq457. He is currently the CEO and Founder of Optidefno, a consulting service that uses statistical analysis and dramaturgical expertise to predict the monetary success of Broadway musicals.

Britney White, MA, 2013

After being a Theatre Director at a performing arts school, Britney has been promoted to Clayton County Public Schools Performing Arts Center Specialist. Her duties include lead theatre & dance teacher, artist outreach, artistic partnerships, county-wide Arts Advocacy Day leader, director of all county musicals & musical theatre intensive camps.

Carolyn Marie Wright, MA, 2008

Currently based in Phoenix, Carolyn serves as Director of Education & Outreach of Valley Youth Theatre and Artistic Director of Humanity Play Project, and volunteers with Cancer Support Community of Arizona. She is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA and AATE (also Senior Content Editor of Incite / Insight Digital Magazine).

Carol Weinstein, MA, 1997

Carol is a mentor/tutor with the Each One Reach One playwriting program in San Francisco and SF Bay Area working with institutionalized youth, promoting empowerment through artistic expression and critical thinking 13 years and counting!

ArtsPraxis Volume 6 Issue 1 has been published.

ArtsPraxis Volume 6, Issue 1 cover

Our contributions in this issue come from artists, educators, and activists—all working towards bringing light to dark places. We begin with two theoretical frameworks from different parts of the world; one at the start of her scholarly work and the other following a solid career of contributions to the field. Xiaojin Niu explores the interaction between theatre and modern power with an examination of sexuality study. Roger Wooster revisits an old question at a new time: whether we should draw a distinction between theatre-making and drama as a learning medium.

As applied theatre practitioners continue to engage in theatre practices with diverse populations, we have three contributions interrogating powerful topics. Jennifer Wong looks at the importance of being an outsider, pondering the strengths that come from this positionality; Sarah Woodland looks to aesthetics, navigating an approach to support incarcerated participants in truth-telling; and Julie Rada gains a deeper understanding of a familiar drama strategy, asking participants to witness each other while in prison.

The final sequence of articles takes a close look at how theatre educates. Rivka Rocchio recounts her time using drama to teach English in Samoa, revealing ways in which drama can level the playing field between insider and outsider. Mark Branner and Mike Poblete document successful iterations of theatre for babies and outline a list of characteristics for this emerging field. Manjima Chatterjee defines material theatre as an aesthetic experience that promotes democracy in the performance space. Finally, Jennifer Essex wrestles with two categories of audience participation in children’s interactive dance theatre: ‘interactors’ and ‘non-interactors,’ defining and problematizing each.

This issue of ArtsPraxis is available for download.

Editorial: A New Colossus by Jonathan Jones

The Interaction between Theatre and Modern Power with an Examination of Sexuality Study in Schooling by Xiaojin Niu

Exercising the Mind by Roger Wooster

Importance of the Outsider: Reflections from the Facilitator of a Community-Based Playbuilding Project by Jennifer Wong

Aesthetics of Truth-Telling: Intercultural Applied Theatre Praxis in an Australian Women’s Prison by Sarah Woodland

Being There…in Prison by Julie A. Rada

Breaking the Cultural Hierarchy: Using Drama to Teach English in Samoa by Rivka Rocchio

Getting Serious about Playful Play: Identifying Characteristics of Successful Theatre for Very Young Audiences by Mark Branner and Mike Poblete

Drama for Democracy: Material Theatre by Manjima Chatterjee

Co-operative Make-Believe as Practice in Children’s Interactive Dance Theatre by Jennifer Essex