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.

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!

Looking for Shakespeare Opens This Week!

Looking for Shakespeare
presents
Poster Image for Two Noble Kinsmen

Thursday, July 19 at 7PM

Friday, July 20 at 7PM
Saturday, July 21 at 2PM
 
Black Box Theatre
82 Washington Sq. East
 
Tickets are $5 online and at the door
Purchase tickets at NYU Ticket Central
 
Looking for Shakespeare is an intensive four-week summer program for high school students from across the country. Over the past few weeks, our ensemble of 18 young actors has worked with Director Amy Cordileone, our artistic team, and 8 incredible grad students to produce this rarely-performed Shakespeare play.
 
If you would like to join us for the Invited Dress Rehearsal at 7PM on Wednesday, July 18th.
please email Jasmine Pai 
 

Director: Amy Cordileone, PhD
Producers: Jasmine Vogue Pai & Robert M. Stevenson
Productio
n Stage Manager: Cassie Holzum
Assistant Stage Manager: Zack Palomo
Music Director: Rachel Whorton
Dramaturg & Vocal Coach: Ashley Renee Thaxton
Scenic & Lighting Designer: Daryl Embry
Costume Designer: Livvie Goble
Props Master & Sound Designer: Evan Oslund
Dramaturgy Intern: Kaylee DeFreitas
Production Artwork Designer: Sophie Bomeisler

Ensemble Members: Ma. Pilar Beddall, Elektra Birchall, Maya Bodnick, Sophie Bomeisler, Hero Cordileone, Oliver D’Avolio, Aaron Dorelien, Liam Festa, Emily Friedman, Wilson Hernandez, Elizabeth Kenney, Cornelius “CK” Kittrell, Nina Kolman, Thomas LaGrange, Emily Leclerc, Sasha Kruger, Rachel Smith, Finn Westcott
NYU Students/Acting CoachesStephanie Anderson, Shalen Daniels, Ian McCabe, June Moore, Justine Moser, Victoria Neff, Cynthia Rosen, Casey Starkey

Announcing ArtsPraxis Volume 4 Issue 1

Logo for Arts Praxis, Volume 4, Issue 1, 2017

ArtsPraxis Volume 4 Issue  1 has been published.

In the Applied Theatre section, Kay Hepplewhite investigates the applied theatre artist’s praxis, attending closely to their responsivity to participants. John Somers identifies the unique features of community theatre in the UK and the role it plays in fostering community cohesion. Linden Wilkinson documents her experience developing an ethnodrama about efforts to create a memorial for the Australian Aboriginal massacre at Myall Creek focusing on trauma and reconciliation. Finally, Kaitlin O. K. Jaskolski chronicles her experience utilizing applied theatre practices to teach life skills to adolescents and young adults in Lagos, Nigeria.

In the Drama in Education section, Scott Welsh reflects on his experiences teaching monologue workshops and interrogates the relationship between education and theatre.

In the Theatre for Young Audiences section, Jessica M. Kaufman unpacks dramaturgy-as-research, specifically looking at her work in devised theatre for young audiences. Dennis Eluyefa provides a brief overview of children’s theatre in the UK, navigating both the educative and entertainment values of the work.

In the final section on Youth Theatre, Clare Hammoor employs auto-ethnography to investigate what he calls, “the production of meaning and the possibilities of children’s theatre.” Pamela Baer illuminates a myriad of ways in which youth can engage in a participatory aesthetic. And finally, Sean Mays looks at the many challenges of adapting Broadway musicals for young performers.

LOOKING AHEAD

During the next few months, we will invite Joe Salvatore, Chair of the 2017 NYU Forum on Ethnodrama, to serve as guest editor, looking to identify highlights of the diverse offerings at the Forum for inclusion in a special edition of ArtsPraxis (Volume 5 Number 1). Following that issue, we will again engage members of the Educational Theatre field who may or may not have been present at the Forum yet want to contribute to the ongoing dialogue around our three areas of specialization: applied theatre, drama in education, and theatre for young audiences. The call for papers will be released concurrently with the next issue (November 2017) and the submission deadline is February 1, 2018.

ArtsPraxis Volume 4, Issue 1

ISSN: 1552-5236

———————————

Dr. Jonathan P. Jones, New York University
Editor, ArtsPraxis

Editorial Board:

Amy Cordileone, New York University, USA
Norifumi Hida, Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music, Japan
Byoung-joo Kim, Seoul National University of Education, South Korea
Ross Prior, University of Wolverhampton, UK
Nisha Sajnani, New York University, USA
Daphnie Sicre, Borough of Manhattan Community College, USA
Prudence Wales, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong
James Webb, Bronx Community College, USA

Welcome to Fall 2015

I am delighted to welcome new and returning students to the Program in Educational Theatre. As my colleagues Philip Taylor, Nancy Smithner, Joe Salvatore, Amy Cordileone, Jonathan Jones and I recently discussed, this past academic year and summer really flew by. What an incredible year it has been for the Educational Theatre community!

We experienced a superb fall and spring with academic courses in our three areas of concentrated study: drama education, applied theatre, and play production for artists and educators. Our diverse work in community sites continued to exhibit the ways in which our program is involved in important urban and global endeavors. Many students getting certified to teach drama were mentored in NYC schools through student-teaching—learning to plan, implement and evaluate drama; teams of students created applied theatre, including our prison theatre initiative, tackling a range of social justice issues; various theatre of the oppressed events were facilitated; directors’ scenes were presented weekly; and the program’s production season produced remarkable theatre.

In the fall, just in time for Halloween, Little Shop of Horrors showcased wonderful student actors and singers, and in the spring, six new plays by Joe Salvatore were featured in In Real Time, with student directors assigned to each play. This culminated in an evening of engaging and thought-provoking theatre.  Our own Theatrix! project continued to profile new works by our students and provide rich opportunities for them to develop their theatre-making skills, while our Shakespeare to Go (STG) troupe brought their one-hour cut of Taming of the Shrew to schools throughout the city. Meanwhile, students involved in two Steinhardt student clubs, the Uproar Theatre Corp and Lamplighters, both founded by educational theatre students, impressively developed and produced full scale productions.

In January, many students studied physical theatre and mask work in Puerto Rico, with Dr. Amy Cordileone leading the program, and our annual storytelling performances, produced and curated by Regina Ress, featured six incredible storytellers from around the world telling stories at the Provincetown Playhouse (including Regina herself).  In February, we were thrilled to accept our first two students to our brand new Doctorate of Education program, the EdD. And our annual forum, the 2015 Forum on Site-Specific Performance, was unforgettable as it offered interdisciplinary panels, performances and workshops with established art makers, emerging artists, and university students to explore site-specific work that developed nuanced relationships between spectators and space.

The 2015 summer’s two on-campus projects, New Plays for Young Audiences (NPYA) and Looking for Shakespeare (LFS), were met with great success as well.  For its 18th season, NPYA presented three new works: Mario and the Comet that Stopped the World, Book and Lyrics by Gabriel Jason Dean, Music and Lyrics by David Dabbon; Nadine’s Coloring Book by Ashley Laverty; and Forever Poppy by José Cruz González. Keeping with the goals of the Program in Educational Theatre, the NPYA series effectively offered both students and theatre professionals the opportunity to test new ideas and methods within the field of TYA. It was a thrilling collaborative process that segued beautifully into the LFS program under the leadership of Dr. Jonathan Jones. The intensive four-week program for high school students from across the country worked with Dr. Jones as director, as well as an artistic team and 13 graduate students, to present Hamlet. It was truly inspiring to witness the dedicated collective of artists, educators and students work together to produce an outstanding production. Also, adding to the stimulating suite of summer offerings on campus was an intensive two-day course with renowned teacher/scholar Dr. Cecily O’Neill on Teacher in Role.  Finally, following the success of the summer 2014 London Study Abroad program under the leadership of Dr. Philip Taylor, in 2015 NYU students studied in our Dublin program led by Dr. Nancy Smithner, working with Ireland’s finest drama practitioners and theatre artists to study community-engaged theatre and explore facilitation, devising, and playwriting/adaptation, along with approaches to using dramatic activities to create context for theatre work.

Looking ahead, this exciting work continues and will be available to everyone, including opportunities to participate in classroom and applied theatre settings, a wide-range of course offerings, main stage productions, Theatrix, STG, NPYA, LFS, Puerto Rico (and our London study abroad offering that will return in 2016), student club productions, storytelling events and next year’s April, 2016 forum—among many other projects.

Speaking of which, the 2016 forum will celebrate fifty years of leadership and artist praxis in Educational Theatre at NYU. As one of the world’s premier academies of excellence, our Program was founded in 1966 by the late innovators Lowell and Nancy Swortzell, graduating over five thousand students who have assumed authoritative positions in cultural institutions, colleges and schools, community centers and other agencies worldwide. For our 2016 annual forum, the Program will build on the Swortzell’s vision, as well as the work of previous annual NYU Forums on curriculum, assessment, teaching artistry, playwriting, ethnodrama, Shakespeare, citizenship, and site specific theatre, by inviting the global community to propose workshops, papers, posters, narratives, and performances around drama in education, applied theatre, theatre for young audiences and play production. Also for the fiftieth anniversary, an alumni event will be held celebrating the achievements of the program. It will undoubtedly be a magnificent evening as colleagues and friends reunite and share classic moments of their time studying at NYU. So keep a lookout for further information to be posted on our Educational Theatre list-serve about this fiftieth anniversary celebration that you won’t want to miss.

– David Montgomery, PhD

Summer 2015 on the Square

Summer is just around the corner and now is the time to register for our exciting summer courses here at the Washington Square campus.

Acting: Character Study (MPAET-UE 1052/GE 2252)

An advanced exploration into the tools & techniques of creating character within the context of the world of the play. Through script analysis & attention to style, students will learn how to create the imaginary world in which the character lives. Scenes will be selected from both contemporary & classical genres.

Dramatic Activities in the Secondary Classroom (MPAET-UE 1068/GE 2031)

Theories & practices of educational drama & theatre as applied to the secondary classroom in such areas as learning processes, motivation, communication & classroom management. Attention given to the relationship of drama & theatre to speaking, thinking, writing, reading, history & other curricular subjects. An examination of improvisational techniques as well as play production. Student will use drama & theatre to address the human developmental processes that impact on the 7-12 student’s readiness to learn, such as culture, nutrition, personal safety & community. Laboratory experience required: 15 hours.

Physical Theatre Improvisation (MPAET-UE 1113/GE 2113)

Physical Theatre is the study of physical, vocal & improvisational exercises designed to free the creative imagination & develop performance skills. Through the layering of words, sound & movement, students will hone the essential ingredients & tools of the performer’s craft. Focus will be on vocal & movement techniques exploring atmosphere, imagery, gesture, isolation, abstraction, timing, rhythm, spatial awareness, character development, mime, body graphics, viewpoints, & the theories of Yakim, Delsarte & Laban. The creation of original material will also be studied.

Storytelling in the Classroom (MPAET-GE 2042)

This course will examine the ancient art of storytelling as a performance form (developing expressive tools, creativity, physical & vocal skills); as it has appeared throughout history (in mythology, folk tales, legends, fairy tales, fables); & as it can enhance curricular subject areas (math, science, social studies, literature, & history), relate to the New York State Learning Standards for Arts Education & the Standards for English & Language Arts. Oral history projects will also be explored through the telling of personal stories.

Theatre Practices: Problems in Play Production (MPAET-GE 2152)

Participate in the New Plays Series; attend rehearsals, meetings with the playwrights, directors and dramaturges and experience the procedures of bringing new scripts to life. Theories and methods of play development including script analysis, rehearsals and presentation of works-in-progress. Students in MPAET-GE 2152 work with visiting playwrights, directors, and dramaturgs, attend rehearsals, and participate in the step-by-step procedures of bringing new scripts to life. This practical course, designed for teachers, directors, playwrights and producers, gives particular attention to script selection, play analysis and rehearsal techniques.

Drama in Education I (MPAET-GE 2193)

Relationships of theories of dramatic art to general educational principles; present practices & potential of education drama at all levels of instruction. Uses of theatre & drama in education from the Greeks to present day. The history & philosophy of drama in education as they relate to a variety of classroom strategies, including the use of new technologies. The impact of human developmental processes, such as culture, personal safety, & nutrition on learning through theatre & drama. Individualizing instruction to prepare students with special needs for their highest levels of achievement.

Seminar in Applied Theatre Research (MPAET-GE 2400)

An advanced seminar which examines the key considerations which drive research activity in applied theatre. Students canvas the territory of applied theatre, the purposes of an applied theatre, & the challenges researchers face when designing, implementing & presenting their applied theatre studies. Students create their own applied theatre research project which can include a creative component.

Role Play 1: The Teacher in Role (MPAET-GE 2950)

The technique of stepping into the shoes of someone else is at the heart of educational drama. This course focuses on the use of role play as a strategy in the classroom & similar settings, & it explores how teachers may employ this complex convention. It will define those characteristics that are specific to educational role-play & will provide participants with opportunities to practice the techniques & skills required or its successful implementation. The course will focus primarily on the strategy of teach-in-role.

Creating Theatre with Young People (MPAET-GE 2980)

This course is designed for students who would like to develop knowledge & skills in planning & leading theatre workshops with young people. The course explores the theory & practice of creating theatre with young people from a youth-centered perspective, offers practice in designing workshops, & culminates with an in-course opportunity to initiate practical work with young people.

Directing Youth Theatre: Looking for Shakespeare (MPAET-GE 2982)

This four-week graduate course is an invaluable experience working with a youth acting ensemble, providing the chance to delve into Shakespeare’s language and hone coaching/directing skills. Students will also work with an assistant director, stage manager, designers, and youth ensemble on a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

 

Summer 2015 Educational Theatre Course Roster

Alumni Updates

Alum Christina Kosyla (MA ’11) has been hard at work assisting her second grade drama classes with their audio recording debuts! Her 28 second graders at Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, NJ, have been working on crafting clear enunciation, appropriate projection, and unique character voices. In October, her students produced two Halloween Radio Shows, capturing sound effects and working on creating a spooky environment. In late fall, Audible recording talent Virginia Bosch spoke with the girls about professional recording. As their culminating project, each class worked with a partner to record books by Eric Carle and Dr. Seuss, constructing unique voices to distinguish between characters. These fourteen titles were given to the kindergarten class to serve as a part of the media library for years to come. Christina is proud of her students and thrilled to share with them all she gained while at NYU!

Check out a few of the final products at the Stuart School website

Program in Educational Theatre Welcomes Students to the New EdD Program

This year, the Program in Educational Theatre will welcome our first students into the new EdD Program. The first of our esteemed new students is Carmen Meyers.

Carmen Meyers

Carmen Meyers: Thrilled and Honored

I am thrilled to be one of the first two students in the newly revised Educational Theatre Ed.D program for the Fall 2015 semester.  As I embark on this unfamiliar path of doctoral work, I am excited, honored, and to be honest a little nervous.  As with most things, I’ve learned that this combination is the perfect environment for me to begin my work.  I feel proud and a great sense of responsibility to continue to create and explore new strategies for teaching and learning through theatre practice.  As I am a full time instructor in the Communication Arts and Sciences Department at Bronx Community College, my hopes are that my doctoral work will continue to help me serve my students. I am currently working with the Psychological Services Department to address domestic abuse and mental health issues on campus.  It is in this area that I would like to focus my doctoral work by delving deeper in to the barriers of mental health services within Latino/Hispanic cultures.  I plan to create forum pieces to help aid these conversations and bring awareness and understanding to this issue.  I am eager to gain the knowledge and expertise that this program offers and that I will need to go forward.  This program has been a pioneer in the exploration and potency of applied theatre practice and education around the world, and through its outstanding faculty I hope to add to the work that has already been done.

Study Abroad London – Drama and Youth

By Isaiah Bent

NYU Steinhardt sent nineteen graduate students to London for three weeks; jam packed with new and exciting ways to approach theatre.  We experienced theatre for children with special needs, opera for children, process drama with the brilliant Cecily O’Neill, and of course, all the Shakespeare we could handle.

Isaiah with Cecily O'Neill

Isaiah with Cecily O’Neill

It was a once in a lifetime experience. Not only did we get to see around fifteen theatrical productions, but Dr. Philip Taylor put together an all-star group of British educators for us to work with during our stay.

A new wrinkle in this year’s London program was the amazing opportunity we had to devise a theatrical experience for second graders.  We guided sixty children through different “imagined worlds” we created using the new techniques we learned from our London professors.

When we were not knee deep in theatre (which was rare), we were enjoying the beauty of London.  Our lodgings could not have been better, given they were in Russell Square, smack dab in the middle of London.  Museums, world-class pubs, and extravagant gardens were all in walking distance.  My favorite local experience was when we dined on meat pies in the building where Sweeney Todd’s barbershop once stood.

Classroom workshop

Every student should make an effort to take advantage of this truly special program.  For more student stories, please check out our fabulous blog.

Study Abroad cohort.

Study Abroad options for 2015 include our Theatre Practices January program in Puerto Rico and our Community Engaged Theatre summer program in Ireland.

Looking for Shakespeare

By Corinna Rezzelle

Looking for Shakespeare (LFS) has been one of the most self-reflective experiences of my graduate studies thus far. Now, it is work. It is a lot of work. It’s early-mornings-with-no-coffee-and–so-much-to-do kind of work, but it is such a great experience that I would recommend every grad student in the Educational Theatre program to tackle.

Musical Director, Barbara Rottman works with a student.

Musical Director, Barbara Rottman works with a student.

This summer we did Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. How fun, right? Shipwrecks, mistaken identities, over the top-ness in general. It was glorious fun! On top of the already wacky script, we added another layer: we set everything in the early 20th century fit with a Vaudevillian flair and several classic songs. Yes. We embarked on “Twelfth Night: The Vaudevillian Musical” in only 4-weeks. How we did it? I don’t know. Looking back, I am in awe of all that we accomplished in such a short period of time.  Our group (grad students and high-schoolers a like) were such a dedicated and hardworking group, we probably could have accomplished anything.

Twelfth Night production image

It just hit me that some of you all might not have an idea of how LFS works. So I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the process. Within the class, you get firsthand experience guiding high school students through the wonders of acting in a Shakespearian play. Like I mentioned earlier, all of this happens in a month. Within that month, you are assigned to a particular group of students, of whom you work with primarily the entire time that you are in LFS. While you work with the teens, you are able to do your own bit of directing all while learning from your fellow grad students and the key instructor. We also even had the opportunity to teach our own workshops for the students. Stage Combat, Improvisation, Musical Theatre, and Auditions were just some of the topics that we covered in our grad student led workshops.

Twelfth Night production image

In the session that I took, Jonathan Jones was our key professor. He was truly a great life raft, mentor, and such a wonderful professor throughout the process. He gave us grad students the support that we needed to feel confident enough to let our voices be heard when we had blocking ideas or suggestions for the students; however, he also gave us the right balance of guidance to help lead us to find new ideas and discover other methods of teaching.

Twelfth Night production image

Though there were many “ah ha!” moments for me during LFS, what meant the most was getting to work with other theatre educators. The summers are such a fun time at NYU because it is filled with students in the summer-only program (of which I am enrolled in). The summer-only students are a great mix of New York residents and other theatre teachers that come from all over the country. I hail from Georgia; there were several Floridians, a Michigander, and even someone from Canada! It’s so rewarding to meet other theatre teachers that “think like me”!  Getting to learn different techniques, new games, and build a brand new support system of teachers that I can call friends made this summer such a great experience.

Twelfth Night production image

Of course, now that the summer is over and the school year has once yet begun, still I find myself going back to the huge stack of notes that I took during the LFS process and trying new techniques that I learned in my own classroom. I would not give up the LFS experience for anything in the world and would love to embark on it again!

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New Plays: The Visceral Spirit of Theatre

By Jason Boxer

Perhaps appropriately, I am in many ways an academic lover of theatre. The nuanced design of each Spolin game is an incredible feat to me – the meticulousness with which Aristotle explains story structure is as entertaining to me as any of the plays he influenced – and at the risk of brownnosing, I’ll admit that the history and overarching philosophy delineated in Theater for Change is a great read. (Incoming freshmen, bug David Montgomery to let you read more of that in Intro to Ed Theatre; it’s awesome and it’s a hell of a lot more exciting than Everyman).

Despite all this, I am happy to report that I was pushed out of this theoretical, theatre-nerd comfort zone when I was cast in John P. McEneny’s play Pollywog this past summer. Pollywog was the first of three plays produced for Ed Theatre’s annual New Plays for Young Audience series, and in it I was tasked with bringing to life a 14-ish year old kid named Francis. Punky, misunderstood, and confused, Francis is a supporting character whose biggest contribution to the play is his in-flux sexuality. There are rumors all over school that he is gay.

He eventually comes face to face with the primary spreader of this gossip – Tammy, McEneny’s main character – and the confrontation is a harsh, inelegant one. To put it as the character probably would, the scene hinges upon Francis being really pissed off.

He’s so mad he can’t get his words out. He can’t think. His dialogue – which could ideally be a delicate explanation of profound frustration – comes out bluntly and sloppily. McEneny placed him in the throes of a rabid, involuntary, and quintessentially teenage outburst.

The scene called for a wholly unacademic performer giving a wholly unacademic performance. The words of Spolin, Aristotle, and even our fearless leader David Montgomery weren’t going to help me this time.

I didn’t get it right until our second and final performance. I clenched my fists and felt them moisten with sweat. I spit my lines out antagonistically, genuinely hoping they would hurt Tammy. I began to feel dizzy and nearly out of control. For the first time in my life, I think I was really getting a taste of the living, visceral spirit of theatre, and I loved it. The audience did too.

My identity as a theatre practitioner was challenged by this experience. What kind of phony actor only gets excited about theory – I thought – and worse, what kind of phony teacher only gets excited about the on-paper potential of his field of study? I hope to be neither of those phonies, and New Plays for Young Audiences helped me realize that.

I’ll conclude by confessing that I’m uncertain of one thing and certain of another. The uncertain thing is if the words of Marceau and Lecoq will prove my next big theoretical inspiration. The certain thing is that Everyman is the most boring play ever, and I wish the incoming freshmen good luck in trudging through it.

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Educational Theatre students perform in Pink Think, New Plays for Young Audiences 2014; Photo courtesy of Chianan Yen