ArtsPraxis Volume 5 Issue 1

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

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

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

– Joe Salvatore, Guest Editor

This issue of ArtsPraxis is available for download.

Editorial – Joe Salvatore

A Plenary Conversation – Patricia Leavy with Joe Salvatore

Keynote Address: The Art of Fabrication – Johnny Saldaña

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

The Right of Way – Thomas Murray

How We GLOW – Jamila Humphrie and Emily Schorr Lesnick

My Other Job – Cali Elizabeth Moore and Rachel Tuggle Whorton

NYU Educational Theatre Presents 2017 Swortzell Innovator Awards to Laurie Brooks and Johnny Saldaña

NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre has named Laurie Brooks and Johnny Saldaña the recipients of the 2017 Swortzell Innovator Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions and sustained service to the field of educational theatre.

Laurie Brooks and Johnny Saldaña; winners of the 2017 Swortzell Innovator Award

Laurie Brooks and Johnny Saldaña are the winners of the 2017 Swortzell Innovator Award

The Swortzell Innovator Awards were established in 2016 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Program in Educational Theatre and honor its visionary founders, the late Lowell and Nancy Swortzell. The inaugural award winners were Lynda Zimmerman, Rebecca Brown Adelman, Trent Norman, and Jay DiPrima.

“The Program in Educational Theatre is thrilled to bestow Laurie Brooks and Johnny Saldaña with the Swortzell Innovator Award not only for their exceptional work in the field, but to honor their ongoing commitment to actively sharing their high quality expertise with others,” said David Montgomery, director of the Program in Educational Theatre at NYU Steinhardt.

Johnny Saldaña has been named the winner of the 2017 Swortzell Innovator Award for outstanding and sustained service to the field of ethnodrama and qualitative research. Saldaña will be presented with his award at the NYU Forum on Ethnodrama, which takes place April 21-22, 2017.

Saldaña is professor emeritus from Arizona State University’s School of Film, Dance, and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. He has authored, co-authored, and edited eight books on qualitative research and ethnodrama including Longitudinal Qualitative Research: Analyzing Change Through Time and Ethnotheatre: Research from Page to Stage.

Saldaña’s works have been cited and referenced in more than 4,300 research studies conducted in over 120 countries in disciplines such as education, medicine and health care, technology and social media, business and economics, government and social services, fine arts, social sciences, human development, and communication.

Laurie Brooks has been named the winner of the 2017 Swortzell Innovator Award for outstanding and sustained service to the field of Theatre for Young Audience. Brooks’ award will be presented at the 20th anniversary of NYU’s New Plays for Young Audiences, which takes places June 10-25, 2017.

Brooks is an award-winning playwright and fiction author. She has received numerous awards and grants including TCG National Theatre Artists Residency Program (The Coterie Theatre), AT&T FirstStage award, three Distinguished Play Awards and Charlotte Chorpenning Cup from American Alliance for Theatre and Education, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Irish Arts Council Grants (Graffiti Theatre Company). Brooks’ Lies and Deceptions Quartet for young adults includes The Wrestling Season, commissioned by The Coterie Theatre, developed at New Visions/New Voices, and featured at The Kennedy Center’s One Theatre World 2000. Additional award-winning plays include Deadly Weapons, The Tangled Web, and The Riddle Keeper, commissioned by Graffiti Theatre in Ireland; Selkie: Between Land and Sea, developed at New Visions/New Voices; Brave No World and Jason Invisible, commissioned by and premiered at The Kennedy Center; Devon’s Hurt, The Match Girl’s Gift, A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas, Franklin’s Apprentice, The Lost Ones, Triangle, Atypical Boy, and All of Us.

Brooks has been an assistant professor, playwright in residence, and literary manager for NYU’s New Plays for Young Audiences. She has served as playwright in residence for the HYPE Institute at The Alley Theatre in Houston, artist in residence at Arizona State University, and has taught at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and The University of Texas at Austin.

Brooks’ new play, Now Comes the Dust, will be staged at New Plays for Young Audiences in June, where she will also be part of a 20th anniversary roundtable event and panel discussion to explore emergent directions in writing and producing works.

10 More Days to Submit a Proposal for the 2017 NYU Forum on Ethnodrama!

NYU Forum on Ethnodrama: The Aesthetics of Research and Playmaking

Program in Educational Theatre at New York University’s Steinhardt School

April 21 and 22, 2017

Proposal Deadline: Monday, January 16, 2017

Call for proposals and submission guidelines available on this website.

We are excited to announce two of the forum’s featured plenary speakers: Patricia Leavy and Johnny Saldaña!

Patricia Levy
Johnny Saldaña
Join us for a robust conversation about the aesthetics of ethnodrama, the practice of creating a play script from materials such as interview transcripts, field notes, journal entries, and/or print and media artifacts. Theatre artists, academic researchers, and artist-researchers will come together to share ideas, vocabularies, and techniques for engaging audiences with the aesthetic presentation of data and data-based playmaking, while also discussing the opportunities and challenges that emerge when working with this style of theatre and research.

Please forward this email on to all colleagues who might be interested in joining the conversation.

We look forward to receiving your proposals and seeing you in April 2017!

All best wishes,

The 2017 NYU Forum Committee