ArtsPraxis, Volume 3

ArtsPraxis Volume 3 Issue 1 cover image and logo

ArtsPraxis Volume 3 has been published.

It is with great enthusiasm that I present this third volume of ArtsPraxis. In 2003, I worked as a research assistant for Philip Taylor cataloging the extant journals in the arts, arts education, and arts therapies disciplines in order to demonstrate the need for the first volume of this publication. To find myself now as Editor is both humbling and gratifying, given the time and attention that I have contributed to this journal over the years.

This volume features a number of articles that were presented in some form at the Forum on Educational Theatre in April 2016, for which I served as manager. The Forum celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Program in Educational Theatre at New York University: building on the past and looking towards the future. The event was a fine testament to the legacy of the Program’s founders, Lowell and Nancy Swortzell who began the Program in 1966. All told, with presenters, performers, staff, volunteers, and delegates, the participant pool exceeded 400 individuals, demonstrating the strength of the field and a commitment from colleagues the world over to come to New York, share their work, and celebrate this milestone.

Following the Forum, I asked the presenters to consider sharing their articles with a wider audience through publication in this journal. I hoped that we would get a range of material covering the scope of the Forum which was meant to mirror the three areas of specialization that the Program focuses on: Drama in Education, Applied Theatre, and Theatre for Young Audiences and Play Production. The articles that follow do indeed represent that range, but also, the authors represent the diverse range of practitioners and researchers in the field.

The first article grew out of one of the plenary experiences at the Forum which comprised a three-day lunch time podcast recording session, each of the three on a separate topic. The first podcast was about mentoring, a topic so central to the experience of established practitioners and researchers in the field, and the relationships they develop with subsequent generations. The experiences shared by Juliana Saxton, Carole Miller, and Monica Prendergast seemed so universal, that I jumped up as the recording came to an end asking them to consider writing up their discussion as an article for this issue.

In the Drama in Education section, Roger Wooster begins by questioning the current state of Theatre in Education (TIE) which was once so central to the field though it has seemingly taken less prominence in recent years. Wooster questions what the future holds for the methodology while making an impassioned plea to keep it alive. James Mirrione provides a reflective piece detailing his female Muslim students’ experiences as they study The Taming of the Shrew. Kate’s reversal in the play is controversial to many contemporary students looking at the play through a feminist lens, but how do Mirrione’s students feel about it and to what degree does the reversal resonate with their lived experience?

In the Applied Theatre section, Ross Prior investigates a selection of graduate and post-graduate applied theatre programs in service of identifying themes from the represented coursework. Trent Norman and Rebecca Brown Adelman (two of four recipients of the 2016 Swortzell Innovator Awards at the Forum) partner with Ligia Batista Silverman to detail some of their innovative approach to facilitating applied theatre work in Colorado. Thereafter, Anne Smith explores her arts-integration work with Creative English, an applied theatre program focused on supporting English language development for adult refugees and migrants in the UK.

In the final section on Theatre for Young Audiences and Play Production, Sonya Baehr recounts the experience of devising an original theatre piece with her high school students in Brooklyn which subsequently traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In the last article, Jim DeVivo surveys young playwrights programs in the United States, providing both a historical overview as well as documentation of currently active programs.

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