Shakespeare’s Globe

This post originally appeared on a blog for our 2018 Study Abroad Program in London.

By Brooke Snow

Today was an incredibly fulfilling and thought provoking day of growth. It’s days like today where I find myself thinking about how lucky I am to be a graduate student at NYU. This morning, we had a two hour workshop with Cecily O’Neill. I’ve worked with Cecily before, but this time was easily the most engaged I’ve ever felt with process drama. Our entire drama revolved around displaced people looking for their family in a time of a national tragedy. This drama felt particularly relevant due to what is currently happening at the Mexican-American border. I’ve done things similar to process dramas in the past, but never fully led one. I’d certainly be interested to conduct a drama about a current social issue. Process dramas definitely foster create empathy, and I found this particular one to be rather compelling.

The second half of our day is something I’ll never forget. We got to do a workshop at the Globe! We went to the Globe’s Sackler Studios and worked with actor-educator Tas Emiabata. Tas was full of passion and excitement. He was incredibly eager to teach us and really thrived off the energy in the room. If I’m a fraction as good and engaging of a teacher as Tas, I would be pleased. I felt like I learned so much just by watching him teach. Tas taught us a lot of incredible techniques on how to teach students the basics of Shakespeare. I really enjoyed the four archetypes. I think that that exercise is a wonderful way to teach all ages about the text and characters. I can just picture my elementary school kids running around our space as the trickster character. I also enjoyed how simple iambic pentameter became after Tas explained the Haka.  I’ve always had difficulty worked with iambic pentameter, and I feel now feel completely confident to teach it to my students.

After our wonderful workshop, we saw the Globe’s production of The Winter’s Tale, a play I had never seen or read before. I found the story quite interesting and unlike any other Shakespeare play I’ve encountered. The acting was strong, and I appreciated many of the directing choices. I’ve been on a tour of the Globe before, but I’ve never seen a show there. I’m glad I got to check that off of my bucket list! Overall, today was incredible, and I am so thrilled that this experience is giving me all of these wonderful tools I can take home.

The stage view at the Globe TheatreThe NYU students and Professor David Montgomery

More information about the Study Abroad programs can be accessed on the NYU Steinhardt Global Programs Website.

40 Conventions and Counting

This post originally appeared on a blog for our 2018 Study Abroad Program in London.

By Carey Urban

Today we continued the work Dr. William Barlow began with us on July 12. Last Thursday, he introduced us to several evocative images and a song, and we began playing with conventions designed to scaffold toward the devising of an original piece of drama. Dr. Barlow’s motto is that if we as educators don’t help young people deal with difficult situations and emotions, who will? “I don’t see the point in doing work that’s not relevant,” he says. “Walk into the challenging emotion; not away from it,” with the safety of dramatic distance! Collectively, the group decided to focus on a story about a divorce between the parents of a boy we named Toby.

A Day in the Life chart for the character Toby showing events during a typical day in his life

We re-convened in smaller groups that had been established in the previous workshop to work in depth with conventions such as Tableau, Timeline, Teacher-in-Role, A Day In the Life, Collective Character, Hot Seating, Shape-Shifting, Telephone Conversations, Cross-Cutting, Altar Ego, Circular Drama and many more- over 40 in all! By day’s end, each group had devised 7-10 minutes of original material and everyone got to show off their acting chops to the group, including Dr. Barlow as Toby as Teacher-in-Role in a delightfully inclusive round of Circular Drama.

List of some of the 40 strategies used today including: theory building, caption, the ripple, thought tracking, circle of life, first impression, the ice berg, objects of the character, group structure, montage, space between, timeline, overheard conversations, good/bad angel, walls have ears, small group play, alter ego, teacher in role, a day in the life, shape shift, and collective character

It was an ideal workshop for our last day before our curriculum assignments are due, as it was packed with varied and combined uses of conventions and procedures we can now use to enrich and vary our lesson plans. Sadly, though, it was our last day of class with Dr. Barlow and we have to wish him happy trails tomorrow 😦 We’re in the home stretch now: Today was Day 14 of an overall 19-day program.

Collectively I bet we’ve easily seen over 100 plays in that brief time. I for one am already getting melancholy about the experience coming to a close. But we still have a busy program this week and at least one more night out at the theatre together to look forward to. As I write this, I know many of us are burning the midnight oil typing away at our curriculum assignments. Good luck everyone, and don’t stay up to late!

More information about the Study Abroad programs can be accessed on the NYU Steinhardt Global Programs Website.

Study Abroad: Puerto Rico

This flier is from our 1972 summer course:

1972 Advertisement for Study Abroad Programs at NYU School of EducationThe Program in Educational Theatre’s connection with Puerto Rico began in 1967, our first academic year, when The Dancing Donkey toured there. Following the success of the Caribbean tour, the Program offered summer study in Puerto Rico beginning in 1971. More recently, our study in San Juan has moved to the January term, where we have been offering a course in community engaged theatre for ten years. If you are interested in applying for January, 2016, the time is now.

For information on applying, visit the Study Abroad website.





Left to Right: Nancy Swortzell, Myrna Casas, Lowell Swortzell, and Rosa Luisa Marquez at the University of Puerto Rico, circa 2000

Left to Right: Nancy Swortzell, Myrna Casas, Lowell Swortzell, and Rosa Luisa Marquez at the University of Puerto Rico, circa 2000

Brooke Astor International Fellowship

Brooke AstorProfessor Philip Taylor has secured the Brooke Astor International Travel Fellowship for New York City Teachers. A generous gift from the Astor Estate to NYU Steinhardt has resulted in public school teachers studying special education in Argentina (2015) and science education in China (2014). Next summer, the third year of the Fellowship, 10-12 public school teachers will experience “Arts Education Downunder.” The program will be based at NYU’s Sydney campus with a site visit to Melbourne. All principal expenses are covered by the award. The Astor Fellows need to have three years of full time teaching experience and be committed to global education. Keep watching this space for application details, but in the meantime do read more about this glorious gift.

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.

Study Abroad Puerto Rico – The Ultimate Share

By Marco Santarelli

According to Deborah Hunt, “mankind is a mistake on this earth, but it is only what we create that redeems us.” This was truly inspiring for all of the students who have worked so hard over the course of this trip to enhance their skills in creating something so incredible. Today, the two groups, masks and physical theatre, departed to begin their final rehearsals before the evening performances. Beginning at 10:00am, the physical theatre group took their usual walk to the studio.  We continued to refine and strengthened our pieces in preparation for this final “share.” The amount of sweat and tears acquired before lunch could fill our hotel’s unusable swimming pool.  It was absolutely amazing to watch this group of talented performers continue to strengthen their craft and perfect such a beautiful work of art. Our only mission was to prove ourselves in this art form, which few of us have experienced before this Puerto Rican adventure. It was an honor to share the field of battle with this group.

It was finally time for the masks and physical theatre groups to share their work and reflect on this amazing experience.

As we left the studio to watch the performance that was to be taking place in the courtyard of the Bellas Artes building, we were met by a masked figure with a bell waiting to guide us.

Street performance

Once seeing the group of masked figured scattered around the square, I instantly recognized the performers’ dedication and intensity they brought to the piece. We knew we were in for a great show, though strangers enjoying an afternoon coffee had no idea what they were about to experience.

Community theatre

It was clear wearing layer upon layers of black fabric and a mask in 90-degree heat was no easy task, but each performer took on the challenge with ease and created a fantastic show for everyone, including random spectators.

Community theatre

It was then time to return to the studio for the physical theatre group’s final performance. The two weeks we spent creating, devising, collaborating, altering, and adapting all of these pieces finally proved itself to be a terrific gift for all of us on the stage. Like the mask group, we all created something that was uniquely ours, and we were extremely grateful to share it with such fantastic artists. Throughout this performance, each actor highlighted his or her original work and built an ensemble piece with tremendous support and assistance from our director and warrior in training Javier.

Physical theatre

Both performances were tremendously successful, and it was finally time to leave the stage and take in our final moments as performers in Puerto Rico.

Physical Theatre

But that’s not to say we didn’t celebrate afterwards. The program put together a fantastic party in the studio with terrific food and dessert. Being surrounded by music, dancing, and great friends, it was the perfect way to end an incredible day performing an art form that we have all enjoyed.

Socializing with faculty




View additional images on Marco’s blog post.




For additional information about the our study abroad programs, visit the study abroad website.

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!”

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

Summer Abroad: Drama Education in London and Dublin

By Emily Tinawi

My elephant tattoo!

My elephant tattoo! It was done at Skin City in Dublin, Ireland

This summer I got an elephant tattooed on my ankle. It is a permanent representation of the life-changing summer that I had doing both Educational Theatre summer abroad programs in London and Dublin. Students who had done the programs before told me to take advantage of the study abroad programs, so I applied with excitement but didn’t really know what to expect.

As last school year ended I was feeling frustrated with myself as a teacher, was losing some of my drive, and knew that I needed to grow professionally and step up my game. That is where this summer came in. The trip was filled with experiences that can’t be done justice on paper. In London we delved deeply into process drama through workshops with David Booth, Cecily O’Neill, Philip Taylor, and a myriad of other experts in the field at the International Drama Educators Conference: Heathcote Reconsidered, in Greenwich! We travelled to Sidcup, England to partner with Rose Bruford College where we worked with Jeremy Harrison and learned about actor musicianship and how to use it for educational theater purposes. Mr. Harrison had such a fresh look at educational theater and added many new tricks to our toolboxes. We also went to theatre shows in the evenings which reminded me about the power of theater in all forms, commercial or non.

One of our devising pieces

One of our devising pieces done on the streets of Belfast. Pictured: Robert Stevenson, Jayme Kilburn, Marshall Louise Burgart, Kristen Tregar, and Emily Tinawi

Ireland was a very different experience but equally life-changing. From learning about devising work by performing created pieces on the streets of Belfast to learning how to come into a community as an outsider, the Ireland program really caused me to look deeply at my theater practice. You cannot go through the Ireland program without feeling the deep importance of theater work in ALL communities! Living at Trinity College is truly special, knowing that every step takes you on a journey through history.

Out at Sidcup

Out at Sidcup for a day of workshops with Jeremy Harrison. Pictured: Abigail Screer, Katharine McSherry, Emily Tinawi, and Janet Chia-En Lee.

Both Professor Taylor and Professor Salvatore clearly cared about us, our learnings, and ensuring that we had unforgettable experiences. I know that I will be a better teacher because of them.  Beyond the academic learnings, I made life-time friends. There isn’t a day that I don’t Facebook/snapchat/email/text/call one of the many new friends that I acquired over the summer.  When people look at my ankle they only see an elephant. When I look at my ankle I see a reminder of two of the best months of my life.


For over 30 years, the program in Educational Theatre has offered unique opportunities for concentrated study and daily field participation in the uses of theatre education and applied theatre which are designed for teachers, teaching artists, university students, recreational leaders, language and speech arts specialists, theatre directors, actors, integrated arts educators, and community leaders.

For additional information about the program, visit the Global Studies website.