Life After NYU: Lucky Disaster

Last year, the blog featured a number of posts from alumni writing about their experiences after graduating from the Program in Educational Theatre. The series continues this year with a post from Megan Minutillo:

Megan Minutillo is an alumni of the Educational Theater program – (ETED M.A. 2009). In October, she will be producing and directing the fourth volume of Lucky Disaster, a concert series that she created.

Lucky Disaster Volume 4 features the music and lyrics of Ryan Scott Oliver, with original monologues inspired by the selected songs written by Anna Ty Bergman, Megan Minutillo, and The Write Teacher(s).

Lucky Disaster Banner

The concert features a cast of recent graduates and current musical theater/acting students – Kerri George, Kasie Gasparini, Melissa Rose Hirsch, Blake Joseph, Angelo McDonough, T.J. Newton, Olivia Polci, Taylor Sorice, and Stephanie Turci, with special guests Gabe Violett and Jessica Vosk!

The Lucky Disaster Concert Series is conceived, produced, and directed by Megan Minutillo, and Lucky Disaster Volume 4 will feature musical direction by Nat Zegree.

Stephanie Turci and Jacob Samuels singing \”Collide\” by Drew Overcash

Additional information about the concert can be obtained by visiting the Cutting Room website.

Student and Alumni Updates

Current and Former Faculty and Students Sharon Counts (EDTA ’06), John Del Vecchio (EDTA ’05), Daryl Embry (BS ’05), Emily Kaczmarek (BS ’12), Blake McCarty (EDTC ’08) Jamie Roach (EDTC), Joe Salvatore and Sara Jo Wyllie (ETED ’09) have teamed up for Play/Date, an immersive and voyeuristic theatrical experience set throughout the four levels of Fat Baby, a nightclub and lounge on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. During the performance, the lines between reality and fiction are blurred, allowing guests to view and experience the “show” as it emerges in unlikely ways from unexpected directions.

Jenna Briedis (BS ’14) was hired at Empower Charter School of Crown Heights, Brooklyn as a 6th & 7th Grade ELA Teacher.

Durell Cooper (EDTC ’14) was appointed to the position of Program Manager in Educational and Community Partnerships at Lincoln Center Education. In this role, he will be responsible for leading the recruitment of new teaching artist, implementing professional development workshops, and managing the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Kenan Fellowships.”

Andrew M. Gaines (Doctoral Candidate) has been busy presenting at conferences this past spring, including  Ethical praxis: At intersection of teaching artistry and creative arts therapy. (NYU’s Forum on the Teaching Artist); The digital mirror: Video drama therapy (American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama), and this summer he will chair a symposium with David T. Montgomery, Juliana Saxton, and Ashley Forman entitled, Ethical praxis discourse: Theatre, education, therapy, and activism (American Alliance for Theatre and Education).

Christopher Goslin (EDTC ’10) is going into his second year as the Technical Director and Instructor of Theatre at Florida International University’s Theatre Department in Miami, FL. Previously, he was the Technical Director and Instructor at Miami Dade College in Miami, FL.

Christina Neubrand (EDTC ’06) After four years as the Arts Integration Specialist with Counseling in Schools, Christina recently became the Arts & Leadership Program Manager for The CityKids Foundation.

Donna Kelly Romero (EDTC ’06) received the “To Fill the World with Love” Award from Upper Darby Summer Stage, one of the nation’s oldest and most successful youth theater programs, for “living and teaching the Summer Stage Magic.”  Donna has taught acting and storytelling there since 2007. She currently teaches drama and runs the theater program at Friends Select, a Quaker K-12 school in Philadelphia, and serves as a mentor for the Greater Philadelphia Cappies.

John Shorter (EDTH ’93) is very excited to report that his prop rental business is continuing to grow. This January, he moved into his own warehouse space in Ronkonkoma, on Long Island. His company, Prop Rentals NY worked with over 100 schools across the country this school year on props for their shows. Recently, the company expanded to create themed props for weddings, parties and other events.

Sara Simons (Ph.D. ’13) was accepted to participate in an NEH Summer Seminar/Institute, Finding Mississippi in the National Civil Rights Narrative: Struggle, Institution Building, and Power at the Local Level where she will study the civil rights movement with other scholars from around the country.

Keys to Post-graduation Success

By Jennifer Socas, PhD

I was apprehensive when I was first asked to write about how I was able to obtain my current job, however Dr. Taylor felt this would be helpful to students and give them hope in this grueling job market. If my story is helpful and gives people hope, I am overjoyed.  I feel truly fortunate to have recently secured a full-time position in the Theatre and Speech Department at City College (CUNY) and realize I am one of the lucky ones. Each year, doctoral graduates across the nation embark on their journey to find a job within academia. Many of my talented colleagues are still searching, a few have chosen non-academic jobs, and some have also been very lucky to receive fantastic full-time positions within the academy.

Over the years, I have always focused on cultivating the skills and knowledge I needed to create my own niche. During my job search, I thought about what made me unique and valuable and how my particular expertise would fit into a department. I already knew I wanted to focus on international applied theatre work, and I concentrated my practical work and research on that area. I published on applied theatre work, presented at conferences, and built an international applied theatre organization from the ground up, securing an impressive core team and working with them to expand our programming to East Africa and India. I also knew I wanted to be in a theatre department at a university, so I sought out opportunities to teach theatre, teaching theatre history and acting courses, as well as directing for Pace University. While honing my curriculum vitae and interviewing for positions, I highlighted the depth and breadth of my teaching experience with students from a variety of backgrounds, both nationally and internationally.

Another key to my success was taking advantage of all of the opportunities offered at NYU and using them to enhance my skills in theatre, advising, and administrative work. While at NYU, I took advantage of many of the study abroad options, including studying with legendary theatre practitioner, Augusto Boal in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. I also studied mask and physical theatre in Puerto Rico and Applied Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. I assistant taught numerous courses with our distinguished faculty – Advanced Directing and New Student Seminar with Dr. Nan Smithner, and Dissertation Proposal Seminar with Dr. Philip Taylor. When Dr. Pedro Noguera in Teaching and Learning asked if I would be willing to teach Inquiries III with him, I eagerly agreed.  I made sure that I took copious notes and reflected on each experience so it would enhance my practice and inform my work as an educator and theatre artist. When writing from my classes seemed like it could be published, I sought opportunities to have that work published. Finally, I volunteered for as much administrative work as I could make time for – assisting on programs and prospective student advisement as a Graduate Assistant in the Program in Educational Theatre, mentoring and observing students in Theatre Education at Manhattanville College, and working as the Coordinator for Doctoral Studies in Music and Performing Arts.

Mentorship is an extremely important part of the doctoral process. I feel very lucky to have had great mentors during my time at NYU. As my mentor and Chair of my dissertation, Dr. Philip Taylor was a constant source of support and encouragement. He often found opportunities for me to enhance my understanding of applied theatre, such as suggesting I join the program in Brazil with Augusto Boal. He always gave meticulous feedback on my work and research as a scholar in applied theatre, and even serves on the board of my organization, Global Empowerment Theatre. He encouraged my publication efforts, and he is including a chapter from my dissertation in his upcoming book. Dr. Taylor always believed in my success and that I would find the perfect job for my skills and passions. His unwavering belief in me made the process less daunting and gave me the confidence I needed when I went in for my interviews. I was lucky to have wonderful faculty members supporting my work throughout NYU. Dr. Nan Smithner’s expertise in physical theatre and directing, her deep knowledge of feminist theory, and her detailed feedback on my work helped shape my teaching practice and my dissertation. Dr. Pedro Noguera’s insights into public education and education in East Africa were invaluable, as were his recommendations for next steps in publishing and support of my teaching practice both at NYU and elsewhere.

I know I have been very lucky to receive so many wonderful opportunities, but I also was persistent in seeking out those people and experiences that would enrich my practice and studies. Once again, I hope in some small way this may help one of you to better navigate your way through this fantastic, challenging, and exciting journey to a career you love!

Post-Show Discussions: Structure and Strategies

By Teresa A. Fisher, PhD

This post originally appeared on the TYA/USA Blog on September 13, 2013

Lately, I’ve been questioning my assumption that post-show discussions (PSD) are vital to new play development. So I recently surveyed and interviewed theatre professionals about them. The results revealed a wealth of information about structure and facilitation in the use and understanding of PSDs.

When I am facilitating a PSD, I use the curtain speech to invite the audience to stay for it. I assure them we will not ask them to be critics, but merely offer their reactions. After the reading, I repeat my invitation while handing out feedback forms. After 2-4 minutes (any longer and they leave), I invite folks down to the front of the house. I review the ground rules. I tell them I have questions I can ask, but I want to make sure their voices are heard, as I utilize an open structure. I inform them the playwright has the right not to answer a question and I may even stop him from answering a question. I then ask a question of the playwright (sometimes one to the director and/or actors, if appropriate) to help the audience understand the development process as well as to role model question asking. Then, I open to audience questions. When needed, I jump in to clarify or reframe a question. When our time is up or I sense the playwright or audience is tired, I stop the discussion, even if there are hands still up. I inform folks they can ask me more questions before they leave or email them to me.

In creating the structure of any PSD, once the foundational structure is determined, the facilitator has to weigh a number of factors before modifying that structure. This includes knowing the playwright, facilitator, audience demographics, and the script itself. For example, is the playwright a novice who has no experience in receiving audience feedback or a veteran who is seasoned in doing so?

In determining structure, perhaps the biggest challenge is rethinking the ubiquitous discussion format. In TYA, we are often dealing with a wide audience variety including theatre professionals, families, and youth. Thus a discussion-focused structure may not allow all those voices to be heard. As one survey respondent noted, “Adolescents are generally reluctant to start to give feedback–they look for direction before diving in.  Very young audiences and the college-age-and-up crowd generally jump right into it.” Theatre professionals, especially artistic directors and producers, may focus too much on what they would do with the play, turning the reading and discussion into an audition.

How can we modify the traditional discussion format? The following are a sampling of strategies being used.

  • Pair and Share: Educator and director Robert Colby has audience members respond to questions about the theme or content of the play with a partner before sharing with the larger group. This strategy lets a playwright hear the audiences’ reactions as well as gives less-outspoken audience members a chance to be heard.
  • Role Play/Hotseating: Colby also employs this strategy to facilitate interaction between the audience and the actors in role as their characters from the play.
  • Use observations of the audience: For example, “I noticed when (character) left abruptly in the second scene, almost everyone leaned forward. What were you reacting to in that moment?” This models the type of response sought and helps remind audience members of their visceral reactions to the reading.
  • Plant a question during the curtain speech: embedding a question into the audience’s minds that relates to the theme or another aspect of the play helps focus their attention during the reading.
  • Embed the discussion within the play: For example, if a playwright is uncertain if the story is progressing the way she thinks it should, having the characters speak directly to the audience and solicit where they think the story will or should go next, can help the playwright see if the story is working as envisioned.

In addition to altering the structure, there are alternatives to the PSD entirely. Those include informal gatherings, online or social media feedback, casual conversations, focus groups, and connecting the playwright to a classroom of target youth who see a rehearsal and/or reading and offer their observations in their classroom or separate from other audience members.

This was just a sampling of the information gathered during my research. But one question that comes even from this brief sharing is “Should we throw out post-show discussions?” In some cases, that might be appropriate. But I believe that would be akin to throwing out the baby with the bathwater. With a concerted effort to shore up and expand how we structure these discussions, with more training of facilitators, and clarity on the purpose of these discussions, I believe they can be successful in helping playwrights or, alternatively, be used to successfully cultivate stronger audiences.

David Montgomery and playwright Ramon Esquivel listening to an audience member’s question during the talkback for “Nasty”

David Montgomery and playwright Ramon Esquivel listening to an audience member’s question during the talkback for “Nasty”

Teresa A. Fisher, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Bronx Community College.  Teresa’s research interests include post-show discussions, citizenship, English language learning, body image, and theatre for health. In addition to teaching and research, she produces New Plays for Young Audiences and Looking for Shakespeare at New York University and is an Artistic Associate with the New Visions/New Voices Play Festival at the Kennedy Center. Contact her at teresa.fisher@bcc.cuny.edu

Teresa A. Fisher, TYA/USA member and Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Bronx Community College, CUNY, has released a new book: Post-Show Discussions in New Play Development (Palgrave Pivot, January 2014).

At Look Back at Looking for Shakespeare 2013

By Robert Reid Goodson

As an educator, we are taught that we must reflect upon our work. Some scholars suggest that this process should be immediate, while others suggest we marinate on the work, then reflect. It wasn’t until recently with my prep work for Steel Magnolias that I began to reflect upon the 2013 Looking for Shakespeare Production of As You Like It. Yes, it’s been quite a few months since those June rehearsals and a lot has changed for all of us since then. But, for me, this reflection is necessary as I move forward in my own work as Managing Director for the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts in Tifton, Georgia.

June 26, 2013, I along with seven other graduate students began the journey of Looking for Shakespeare accompanied by 23 students. Like sailors on a ship, our captain was the talented and revered Dr. Nan Smithner. As the days unfolded, actors cast, scheduled set, and rehearsals commenced, the words on the pages, yet again, began to dance into life. Our production was set between 1968 – 1972, in a very distinct moment in time when love and harmony were an unstoppable force.

Dr. Nan Smithner advises the cast of As You Like It

Dr. Nan Smithner advises the cast of As You Like It

Each day, exercises helped to build the confidence level of the cast. Not each day was perfect, and during some rehearsals tension was high, but through the grad students leadership, that journey persevered. We were blessed with original music, created by our own Natalie Mack, to embellish the portrayed story. Music rehearsals, scene work, fight choreography, dance choreography, costume fittings, staging, and run-throughs consumed our days for four weeks. But in the end, we did it. Our group created and breathed life into a run of As You Like It.

 

 

Music rehearsal.

Throughout the process, friendships and rapport were established with the students. Hopes, goals and dreams were shared and memories were made in the Black Box. A very unique and diverse group of individuals came together for an unforgettable weekend run. Though it has been several months since this event happened, I rejoice in the fact that I was part of the magic of NYU.  Were there things that I would have changed? Sure. But, isn’t that the point of reflection; to look back, examine, marinate and take note of the experience to enhance our educator tool box? I can say that I am a better artist because of the people I worked with. The students, reconfirmed, that I will first and foremost be an educator in any job I perform. For, they are the true reason; I am in the theatre arts profession. To my colleagues, thank you for sharing your talents with the students and with me. I certainly have some new tools to add to my bag of tricks. To Nan, where would our program be without you? You made the experience unforgettable and are always leading by example a high standard for theatre educators.

As You Like It in performance

As You Like It in performance

Many months have passed. But as I look back, I smile and treasure those short four weeks. We found Shakespeare and I have no doubt that this year’s summer production will find him too.  Like Rosalind said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players: they have their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts”.  Which part will you play today as you reflect and continue upon your theatrical journey?

Looking for Shakespeare 2014

Looking for Shakespeare 2014

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Each summer since 1999, a group of 15-25 young people from the New York City community participate in Looking for Shakespeare. High school students work with a director and graduate students from NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre to shape an original production of Shakespeare. The program was expanded to include students from across the country in 2009.

This summer, the 2014 production will be Twelfth Night staged as a musical vaudeville. Interested young people can apply at the LFS website and interested graduate students should register for MPAET:GE 2982 Directing Youth Theatre with Prof. Jonathan Jones

News from the NYSTEA Student Conference

By Gus Jacobson

Hello, Educational Theatre world! My name is Gus Jacobson. I graduated from the Undergraduate Program in Educational Theatre way, way back in 2012! Every year, for the past five years, I have had the pleasure of working at the New York State Theatre Education Association (NYSTEA) Student Conference as a teaching artist and Conference Committee Member. The Conference is an amazing whirlwind of a weekend attended by close to one thousand public high school students and their teachers. In the coming years, the conference is expected to continue to grow in size. We are already close to filling an entire resort hotel to capacity!

NYSTEA is a strong, statewide organization of theatre educators that promotes and supports theatre education for students in grades pre-K through 12. In addition to the Student Conference, NYSTEA oversees an Educator’s Conference (held at Niagara Falls, NY this autumn) as well as arts education advocacy all over New York State. The Student Conference, which just celebrated its 17th year, creates a wonderful opportunity for high school students from all over New York to come together for a full weekend of workshops given by colleges, universities and other theatre professionals, as well as networking with one another and experiencing a variety of performances throughout the conference. Students come from all over New York State to attend the conference –from Long Island to the Finger Lakes to the St. Lawrence River! In fact, I met fellow Undergraduate Program Alum Andy Germuga (’12) at the Student Conference in 2008 when we were both only seniors in high school. I was in school down in Westchester County, and he was from Rochester. Still, the NYSTEA Student Conference brought us together for the first time!

In previous years, NYU has sent its own delegation of theatre teachers to lead workshops for the high school students. This past January, I was thrilled to see two familiar faces, Rachel Tuggle Whorton and Ashley Lauren Hamilton. As I am sure they can attest, the energy of the conference is incessant, contagious, and remarkably “theatre kid.” Some students play their guitars in the hotel lobby, leading their new friends in song, while others might choose to brush up their monologues for our College Auditions or perhaps go snow tubing outside. Our friends from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS also attend every year to raise awareness, accept donations, and raffle off autographed posters, Playbills, and other unique memorabilia.

Speaking for the attending high school kids (for I was once one myself), this conference is a high school career highlight. In the over 100 workshop offerings, students receive expert instruction in technical theatre, acting, dance and voice. Each and every student schedule is hand crafted to reflect what the student’s interests are as well as workshops that might creatively challenge the student. In one weekend, every student will take five, 90-minute workshop, in addition to the social activities that high school students can choose from in between workshops.

Working at NYSTEA has become many things for me. There is the nostalgia of remembering the amazement that I felt as a high school student; the honor of working alongside so many teachers and practitioners who are as passionate about theatre education as I am; and the sheer joy of seeing how excited these students become. For those of us on the Conference Committee, the hours are long, the paperwork can be tedious, and the To-Do List can seem never-ending! But when all is said and done, it is because of this conference that I know of the power of theatre education, and I never hesitate to return for another year.

If you think you might be interested in working at the NYSTEA Conference on the Conference Committee, as a Teaching Artist, or perhaps as a College Representative or Vendor, we’d love to have you at the next conference. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments at acj253@nyu.edu! For more information about NYSTEA, please visit their NYSTEA website.

First Lady Michelle Obama Recognizes Project Discovery

By Rachell Hull

First Lady, Michelle Obama at left, and Rachel Hull at right

First Lady, Michelle Obama at left, and Rachel Hull at right

Shortly after completing my MA, EDTC in 2004 I applied for jobs in the wide ranging theater education, specifically within a regional theater. Ten years ago there was amazing pockets of work being done regionally, though not the pulsating hives that exist now, enough stimulating stuff for a recent grad and I was eager to put all that we had theorized and practiced to the test.

Being from Texas originally I wasn’t planning to return, thinking rather about setting sails for new horizons. But, through the interview process I found that Dallas Theater Center had been running a unique program whereby students in the surrounding public high schools were coming to the theater to see Suzan-Lori Parks and Nilo Cruz – playwrights I had just discovered in my grad classes.

How was it possible that this new work was finding its way so quickly to a high school audience, many of whom had never been to the theater before? What did that experience feel like? How was a regional theater providing this level of artistry for students at NO COST to the student? When I discovered further that these students weren’t being shepherded into a student matinee, but rather were attending evening performances and holding their own against the upper echelon of arts patrons in Dallas, I threw all expectations out the window and signed on.

That was more than 9 years ago, and it was the best decision I’ve made. Project Discovery led me through a deep exploration of community, an urban city like Dallas, a blue city in a red state, amidst a complex web of suburban and urban communities. It led me from a Manager of Education programs to the Director of Education and Community Enrichment – examining the intersection of arts education and community development. Project Discovery has shown me time and again the power of dedicated teachers and young people who demand and surpass high expectations. And it led me on November 22nd to the White House, where we received the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

Though the experience of walking the hallowed halls of the White House was amazing and surreal! It paled in comparison to the moment Project Discovery’s name was called. This award, presented by First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama recognized the 12 out of school arts and humanities programs in the United States that are at the top of their game! First Lady Michelle Obama opened up the ceremony telling the youth award recipients of how proud she was of them, and how proud they should be of themselves. To the educators she said, “You know better than anyone else the effect that art can have on a young person’s life. Giving the child a chance to fill a canvas, or to perfect a harmony or to shine on stage, that can spark the flames of a lifelong passion. And it can teach valuable skills: skills like hard work and persistence. It can open up possibilities that young people might not realize for themselves. There are thousands of programs all across the country that are doing this kind of important work every day.”

All of us at Dallas Theater Center are humbled by the excitement, congratulations and shared joy that has come from past students, classroom teachers, actors and teaching artists. There is an amazing team of support for this program, two of which are also NYU grads – Mara Richards, NYU Class of 2000 is our Manager of Education programs and uses her passion for Augusto Boal’s work to spark civic conversations prior to Clybourne Park just a couple of months ago. And Jenci Pavageaux, one of our dedicated, fearless Dallas ISD teachers spends her off nights bringing students to the theater. This tremendous recognition will be celebrated in January with participants, artists and supporters and the ripples of the award will continue to be felt, just as the impact of Project Discovery continues throughout North Texas. Though this award only confirms what Dallas Theater Center and participating schools throughout North Texas know, that this program is essential to the social and cultural development of our young people.

Reflections on the Program in Educational Theatre and Beyond

Hello Educational Theatre Blog Readers! My name is Naomi Avadanei, and I graduated from the Undergraduate Program in Educational Theatre this past May (2013). I consider myself very lucky to have found and been a part of the Educational Theatre community for 4 years–those 4 years were filled with so many incredible opportunities, inspiring moments, and (of course) invigorating classes. Upon entering senior year I had to make the ever-so important decision: to go to grad school right away or to take a few years off and apply what I’ve learned in the workforce. Clearly, I decided on the latter.

I started applying to jobs pretty early during my senior year around October/November and didn’t really stop until I got my first teaching job in mid-August. Currently I’m what many would call a “freelance teaching artist.” I work as the Theatre and Movement teacher at Hunter College Elementary School (3 days a week), the Education Associate at TADA! Youth Theatre (4 days a week) and a Teaching Artist with TADA! (several times a month), Brooklyn Children’s Theatre (1 day a week), Salk Middle School (1 day a week) and The Paperbag Players (several times a month). Throughout my application process I would estimate that I applied to over 100 different positions in total. It was a long, arduous, and VERY stressful process, but I’m really happy with the companies I’m working for, the people I’m working with, and the work that I’m doing. It all paid off. When I was applying to jobs I was pretty stubborn about only applying to and accepting positions teaching theatre. In my case this was the most important non-negotiable. I realized I wouldn’t be happy in my chosen career path unless I was working in some respects teaching theatre to kids. As I was applying to positions (and it got closer and closer to the beginning of the school year) I started to have doubts about my non-negotiable. Was I being unrealistic? It turns out that just as I was starting to give up hope, a posting for a Theatre Teacher at Hunter College Elementary School came up on the List Serv (the List Serv is a gold mine–read those emails, they could lead to something!), and I applied. I was offered the position on August 19th, just 23 days before the first day of school. After that I kept getting various Teaching Artist positions from previous connections and interviews and everything sort of just came together. So while my story is unique to my experience, I’d like to share with you some of the things that helped me get where I am now and what I wish I knew/know as I was looking for a job and as I start my first year of teaching Theatre and Movement with students ages 3-12.

Classes (required and not) that you should take (and pay really, really close attention in):

First and foremost, I think this needs to be said because I didn’t figure it out until late in my Junior year/early Senior year. There’s a point in your college career where you have to stop thinking about classes and class work in terms of being a student and getting good grades and start looking at it as preparation for your future career. This may sound really silly but let me explain; I always prided myself on good grades and completing assignments well but often once the assignment was handed in that was it. I forgot about the bulk of the work necessary to complete the assignment (these are the details are really valuable and helpful later on) and moved on. My advice to you is to take those good ideas, great activities, and awesome tools and create a running list (preferredly an organized one). You’ll thank yourself later on. Ask questions in class and complete assignments through the lens of a teacher and an artist, not just a student–you will inevitably get good grades and you’ll make your transition into teaching much easier.

  • Any of the artistry/practical classes (Playwriting, Directing, Physical Theatre, Stagecraft, any Shakespeare Class). Even if you’re not interested in a career in Shakespeare or don’t want to become a playwright it’s important you LEARN about these things so that you’re prepared to TEACH them later on.

  • Dramatic Activities in the Elementary and Secondary Classroom–that running list I was talking about, these classes will be the equivalent of gold for that list.

  • Theory of Creative Drama

  • Some sort of Movement Class–I took Intro to Teaching Creative Movement through the Dance Ed. department. This class will help make you a more dynamic theatre teacher and a more attractive candidate.

Things I wish I had known:

  • Teaching Portfolio

    • Spend a lot of time on it, it’s worth investing the time.

    • Be organized when creating it, you will inevitably print and reprint the material in your portfolio. You will add, you will subtract, you will create new material. Create separate folders and documents for everything.

    • Be pushy about showing your portfolio to your interviewer. I wasn’t always so assertive in presenting my portfolio. For my first few interviews I waited for the interviewer to ask me for it. They didn’t. Assert yourself. Bring your portfolio and gently suggest (read: force) them to look at it. Show them all of the time and effort you put into it. Pick a few highlights to show them–no one will have time to look at the whole thing. Show what’s most relevant to the position.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    • Ask for them even before you need them. Don’t expect people to have a fast turn over. You want the person who is recommending you to take their time and do a good job on your letter so give them the opportunity to do just that. Ask them for the letter 1-2 months before you anticipate needing it.

    • Get a variety of letters: people who have seen you teach (both in the elementary and secondary classroom–if you’re interested in teaching both–you want those letters to be separate so that you can have them ready should you be applying for a position in that area), people who have supervised you in an administrative position, people who have worked with you in an artistic setting etc. You want a variety so you have at least one letter for every type of job you might apply to.

    • This point is similar to the Teaching Portfolio point. Most employers won’t ask you for a letter of recommendation. Give one to them even if they don’t ask for one either in a hard copy at the end of an interview or as an attachment to your follow up email.

  • Get all of your certification paperwork and exams out of the way and submitted as early as possible. You don’t want to be thinking about them when you’re applying to jobs–you’ll have enough stress without worrying about whether or not you’re teaching certification went through.

  • Get in touch with past employers and internship coordinators, let them know you’ve graduated and are looking for work. You never know, sometimes the stars align and they’re looking for someone just like you.

  • Have a backup curriculum prepared for all age groups you’re interested in teaching–even if it’s just an overview

    • Some employers might ask you to create a curriculum on the spot (mine did).

    • In case you get hired last minute (I did) you won’t have to start from scratch, but you’ll have somewhere to pull from and creating a year long curriculum in 2 weeks (or 2 days) won’t seem as daunting as it could be. Remember that list I talked about? This is when that comes in handy.

    • Speaking of creating a curriculum I don’t think we really talk so much about the logistics of creating a curriculum. It’s an area the program could work on. This is not to say you don’t get a lot of tools during your time at NYU, but not exactly: How do I create a curriculum? What should YOU do? Take initiative. I recommend you ask your Cooperating Teachers, they’ve been there and they’ve done it. So while their teaching styles might be very different from your own, take the time to ask them and talk through the process. It’ll help you when you have to create a curriculum of your own.

The Program in Educational Theatre Graduates Its First Married Couple!

History will be made in the Educational Theatre doctoral program May 2014 as we graduate our first married couple, Drs Jennifer and John Socas.

Jen’s study, “Performing through Layers: reading the world through theatre in Zanzibar,” and  John’s, “Enhancing self presentation through drama at a community college: Rehearsing the job interview,” make exceptional contributions to the field.
Jennifer and John Socas with their daughter Arden.

Jennifer and John Socas with their daughter Arden.

Professor Taylor, chair of both dissertations, commented that it is a rare feat to have two doctoral studies by a couple, let alone two from the same college program in one year. “We are all so incredibly proud and humbled by the achievement of the Socas family,” said Taylor. “Maybe one day their 4 year old daughter Arden will enroll at NYU too to make a hat-trick, but no pressure please!”

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While used mostly in sport, such as cricket, a hattrick is accomplishing a positive feat three times .
 

Lincoln Center Education

Dear Ed Theatre Community,

It is with great pride and excitement that we share with you the announcement of Lincoln Center’s first rebranding in history for its education division – rebranded as Lincoln Center Education.  With the completion of a $1.2 billion redevelopment of the Lincoln Center campus, this rebrand reflects an unprecedented expansion in the field of arts education by the world’s leading performing arts center.

Announced only recently, and in addition to a new name and a new visual identity (created by Ogilvy & Mather and The Brand Union), Lincoln Center Education (LCE) received $4 Million from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation to add innovative programs to its core work – the largest education grant ever awarded to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Lincoln Center Education banner

Lincoln Center Education’s rebranding arrives after a year-long examination of its existing programs and initiatives. New programs will join established efforts in schools and in the community, reflecting the organization’s updated vision and objectives. Harnessing the resources of Lincoln Center, LCE has realigned itself to most effectively develop arts education programs in five distinct areas:

  • K-12 education: programs for more than 25,000 students in over 200 schools in the New York metro area.
  • Higher education: partnerships with local colleges and universities to train teaching candidates in arts education and help recent graduates find employment with school partners.
  • Community outreach: programs include Poet-Linc, Lincoln Center Local, and other free events such as the monthly Meet the Artist series in the David Rubenstein Atrium, designed to engage the community in the arts and events at and beyond the Lincoln Center campus.
  • Lincoln Center Institute: LCI is refocused as a dedicated institute within LCE for research in arts education, and training for educators using an arts-based teaching model.
  • Consultancies: LCE’s special consultancy practice shares its expertise in arts education and creative learning.

In addition to the work we’ve been doing for over 35 years, we are thrilled to share the following new programs and initiatives:

  • “Arts in the Middle” – this new pilot program, created in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, is a three- to five-year initiative beginning in the 2013-14 school year to provide arts programming and teacher training at public middle schools which are underserved in the arts, so as to make the arts a lasting part of these schools and their community.
  • Lincoln Center Education is commissioning a work designed for an audience of children on the autism spectrum.
  • Lincoln Center Education is expanding the existing Lincoln Center Local program, which brings free Lincoln Center programs to neighborhood libraries in the outer boroughs, and alternative locations such as shelters, senior centers and facilities with incarcerated youths.
  • Two additional charter schools partnering with the New York City Department of Education and New Visions for Public Schools have opened this fall, making a total of six that are operating to date. LCE expects to ultimately partner on 18 charter schools.
  • “Next Stage” – Lincoln Center Education is launching a new series of panel discussions, lectures and other programs in the coming months, seeking to generate high-profile discussions on important topics in arts education. This public forum will allow established artists to demonstrate how education has played a role in their work. The initial forums will each be focused on particular arts genres, including dance, music, theater and visual art.

Lincoln Center Education is a global leader in arts education and advocacy and the education cornerstone of Lincoln Center, the world’s largest performing arts complex.  As such, LCE is committed to enriching the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners by providing opportunities for engagement with the highest-quality arts on the stage, in the classroom, digitally, and within the community. Founded in 1975 as the Lincoln Center Institute, LCE has nearly four decades of unparalleled school and community partnerships, professional development workshops, consulting services, and its very own repertory. LCE has reached more than 20 million students, teachers, school administrators, parents, community members, teaching artists, pre-service teachers, university professors, and artists in New York City, across the nation and around the world.

Our new value proposition, which is at the core of everything we do, is as follows:

The arts cultivate a unique skill set that is indispensable for the 21st century: problem solving, collaboration, communication, imagination, and creativity. Lincoln Center, the world’s premier performing arts center, translates those skills from the stage to the lives of children, equipping them for success in their careers and to serve as active participants in their communities. We offer a distinctive approach to education that helps young minds perform in a dynamic world.

We invite you to learn more about our work and the many ways in which you can be a part of it.  The Educational Theatre community has given us so much – we look forward to increasing our engagement with the program, its staff, its students and its alumni.

With much love and appreciation,

Russell Granet (MA ‘95) – Executive Director

Alex Sarian (MA ’07) – Director, Finance & New Business

Melissa Gawlowski Pratt (current PhD student) – Program Manager