ArtsPraxis Volume 6 Issue 2

Cover image from a 2018 NYU Steinhardt, Program in Drama Therapy production of "Living with...", written in collaboration with four long term survivors of HIV and three newly diagnosed adults based on months of group therapy sessions.

ArtsPraxis – Volume 6, Issue 2 engages members of the global Educational Theatre community in dialogue around current research and practice on theatre and heath.

The first collection of articles highlight reflective practice. Lawrence Ashford explores interactions between professional performers and young people in Australian hospitals. Bianca C. Frazer looks at the deconstruction of stereotypes about diabetes on stage. James Webb reflects on the personal impact of writing, acting, and sharing his autobiographical play, The Contract, detailing his struggles as a gay man in the Black Church in the United States. Faith Busika and Zandile Mqwathi discuss drama processes employed to address mental health and promote wellbeing in South Africa. Finally, Yi-Chen Wuunpacks her experience collaborating with a woman with cerebral palsy and the woman’s performance of her autobiographical memory.

The second section features a pair of critically reflective articles with recommendations for practitioners and researchers. Alyssa Digges advocates for a mental health and wellness curriculum for students in actor training programs. Teresa A. Fisheranalyzes failures in a theatre for health project, specifically looking at the facilitator’s role in such a project.

The final pair of articles look to examine existing practice and repertoire. William Pinchin connects Jung’s collective unconscious theory and Lecoq’s understanding of a universal poetic sense, reevaluating the neutral mask. Finally, Majeed Mohammed Midhin and Samer Abid Rasheed Farhan interrogate the healing power of theatre through a discussion of contemporary prison theatre praxis and the representations made in Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good.

This issue of ArtsPraxi is available for download.

Access individual articles here:

Editorial: On Mindfulness by Jonathan P. Jones

The Flexible Performer in Applied Theatre: In-hospital Interaction with Captain Starlight by Lawrence Ashford

“Where’s Your Imagination?”: Using the Social Model to Deconstruct Stereotypes about Diabetes on Stage by Bianca C. Frazer

A Critical Autobiography: Examining the Impact of a Theatre-Making Process on a Theatre Practitioner’s Identity Development by James Webb

Addressing Mental Health in South Africa Using the Djembe Drum and Storytelling to Open up the Dialogue of Finding, Owning, and Using Your Voice in the Home as a Christian Woman by Faith Busika and Zandile Mqwathi

Towards an Approach of Performise: I Am a Normal Person (2018) as a Case Study by Yi-Chen Wu

Preventing Actor Burnout through a Mental Health and Wellness Curriculum by Alyssa Digges

Bad Facilitation or the Wrong Approach?: Unpacking the Failure of a Theatre for Health Project by Teresa A. Fisher

The Shadow of the Neutral Mask: A Jungian Examination of Lecoq-based Neutral Mask Praxis by William Pinchin

The Healing Power of Theatre in Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good by Majeed Mohammed Midhin and Samer Abid Rasheed Farhan

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Educational Theatre and Drama Therapy Forum 2019

NYU Educational Theatre & Drama Therapy Forum 2019: Theatre & Health

April 11-14, 2019


An aging population, increasing climate and politically-motivated displacement, unstable housing, the rise of depression and anxiety, and the challenges of providing comprehensive healthcare amongst other concerns make health a significant challenge for our times. With this in mind, we invite you to join us for an exploration of how theatre, including improvisation, performance, and other drama processes, contribute to psychological, neurological, physical, social, civic and public health. Teachers, drama therapists, applied improvisation practitioners, theatre-makers, performance artists, and scholars are invited to come together to share vocabularies, ideas, strategies, practices, measures, and outcomes.


During this event, participants will consider the following questions:

  • What understandings of health and wellbeing inform improvisation and theatre-making?

  • How can theatre, including performance, improvisation and other drama processes, be used to address specific health concerns and promote wellbeing?

  • How can we assess health outcomes related to theatre?

  • How are artists, educators, and therapists using improvisation and performance in health related research?

  • How do health-related contexts inform aesthetic choices and social considerations?

Call for Proposals


We invite the global community to submit session proposals dealing with research, artistry, and practice. Proposals can be submitted for workshops, papers, narratives, and performances that address the guiding questions listed above. Submissions are due by Monday, January 15, 2019 (11:59pm, EST), and we strive to notify potential presenters by February 20. We encourage new researchers and practitioners to submit proposals as well, so we can include new voices in the discourse.

Papers and Narratives (30 minutes):

We invite authors to submit a proposal for the presentation of a paper or narrative. Papers and narratives must be grounded in research, artistry, or practice and should somehow address the guiding questions for the forum. Proposals should outline elements of the research, practice, and/or theory-focused work the author wishes to present. Accepted papers and narratives will be organized as much as possible into thematic sessions. 30 minutes will be designated to these presentations: 20 minutes to present and 10 minutes for Q&A.

Workshops (45 or 90 minutes):

We invite practitioners to apply to facilitate workshops relating to the use of improvisation, performance, and/or theatre related skills to facilitate health and wellbeing. Proposals should outline the details of the workshop: who are the participants, what strategies will the facilitator(s) demonstrate, and how will the participants later apply this approach to their own work? Workshops will be held in an open workshop space. Workshops may be provided with a 45 or 90-minute timeslot and accepted practitioners should allow time within that period for discussion.

Artistic Sharings (45 minutes):

We invite authors to apply to share examples of theatre and health. Proposals should outline elements of research, artistry, practice and/or theory-focused work embedded within the piece. Proposed sharings should have already been staged and/or presented for an audience in another venue prior to their inclusion in the forum and could be comprised of a scene, scenes or the entire piece. Please note: Sharings will be staged in a workshop space, and will not receive technical support. Sharings will be provided with a 45-minute time slot and accepted presenters should allow time within that period for discussion of the work (i.e. 30 minute sharing/ 15 minute discussion)

Submission Instructions

The submission and review of proposals for the 2019 NYU Forum on Theatre and Health will be managed through an online conference proposal management system called EasyChair. This system gives you, the author, complete control over your submission. You can upload your abstract and check on the review status of your submission.

Please use the template below and submit through the ABSTRACT box on EASYCHAIR Do not upload additional documents – they will not be reviewed.

Under topic, please choose your type of proposal

Title of Proposal:

Type (Paper or Narrative, Workshop, Artistic Sharing):

Abstract (250 words maximum describing your session):

Relevance (250 words maximum describing how your proposal addresses the themes of the conference):

Biographical Statement (150 word maximum per presenter):

Proposals will be peer reviewed. Submissions are due by January 15th, 2019 (11:59pm, EST). Authors/applicants will be notified of the outcome by February 20, 2019.

Click here to submit your proposal.

Additional instructions for creating an EasyChair account and submitting a proposal are available here. Feel free to submit any additional questions to

Please share this email with a colleague, friend, list, and like us on Facebook!

We look forward to seeing you at NYU in the spring!


The 2019 NYU Forum Committee and

Dr. Nisha Sajnani & Dr. David Montgomery, Co-Chairs

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


NYU Forum on Ethnodrama: The Aesthetics of Research and Playmaking / April 21-22, 2017

NYU Forum on Ethnodrama:

The Aesthetics of Research and Playmaking

April 21-22, 2017

Image from Towards the Fear, directed by Joe Salvatore

Join us for next year’s NYU Educational Theatre Forum for a robust conversation about the aesthetics of ethnodrama. How do artist-researchers engage audiences with the presentation of data? Theatre artists and academic researchers will come together to share ideas, vocabularies, and techniques.
Save the dates: April 21 & 22, 2017

If you’re interested in participating, please email Joe Salvatore.

Visit the NYU Forum Website.

** Image from Towards the Fear: An Exploration of Bullying, Social Combat, and Aggression, produced in spring 2014

Forum on Educational Theatre Preview

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Preparations for the Forum on Educational Theatre April 21-24, 2016 are well underway. To register, To register, visit the registration page.

As we gear up for the event, we will post descriptions of some of the presentations–one of which appears below:

Paper: A Wealth of Knowing


In celebration of fifty years of leadership and artist praxis, we take this opportunity to reflect on how that period of time has deepened our own understanding of the ways in which drama works whether in a classroom, studio, university setting or community hall. In so doing, we address a number of the questions that were posed as guides to this submission.

As the lens for this retrospective, we use a children’s picture book, Josepha (McGugan, 1994) “ past fourteen and trying to learn in primary row.” It is a story about an immigrant boy, friend to the younger narrator, who chooses to leave school to work for “a dollah a day” so that he can help support his impoverished family. Josepha “springs like a ram into the cart alongside his brother,” despite the impassioned pleas of a teacher who sees his potential: “It is nineteen hundred. Nineteen hundred, Josepha. A fresh century in your chosen land. You are quick and bright and cunning. Oh, the wealth of knowing you could reap.”

Josepha holds within its apparent simplicity the “novelty, surprise and teaching that connects with students’ past experiences and personal interests … low in threat and high in challenge” (Willis, 2008: 427). But more than that, it serves us as a metaphor for the wealth of knowing in our own discipline that we have come to acknowledge and appreciate over the past fifty years as central to artistry and pedagogy. And for today’s purpose, we use the story to illustrate five advances in our practice:


  1. The importance of distancing as a mediator of personal investment that provides protection into emotion (Eriksson, 2011; Heathcote, 1976).
  2. The power of story and narrative to shape our emotional and ethical realities (Nussbaum, 2003, Turner, 1998).
  3. The significance of our art form’s subjunctive mood to reveal the complexity and contingent nature of our world (Sennett, 2012, Kahneman, 2011).
  4. The contribution of Howard Gardner’s (1983) theory of Multiple Intelligences to an understanding of curriculum as interpersonal, intrapersonal, holistic and processual (Doll, 2008).
  5. The confirmation of the old adage that “drama teaches empathy” but how it does so and what is required in that teaching is now more apparent. (Levy, 1997; Miller & Saxton, 2015).

We are living in a time when there is a famine in quality conversation (Krznaric, 2014); face to face communication (Turkle, 2015) has become two-dimensional, and knowledge is now subject to “sensitivity alerts” (Jarvie, 2014). Such developments confirm the critical need for drama education to provide the metaphoric place where we may call into question our assumptions: the safe space in which to embrace the ambiguities that may disrupt and disturb, thereby shifting our understanding of who we are as we move from comfort to newness. A richer awareness of how drama works allied to current brain research reinforces Bolton’s (1984) recognition of the power of embodied narrative when he argued for placing drama at the center of the curriculum.

Carole Miller and Juliana Saxton are both emeriti professors at the University of Victoria, holding adjunct professorships in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and adjunct appointments at the University of Sydney, Australia. Each is the recipient of an Excellence in Teaching award. Together they chaired the 2nd International Drama in Education Research Institute 1997, were responsible for the Academic Program for the 5th World Congress of IDEA 2004 and served as the Reflective Keynote speakers for IDEA 2007 in Hong Kong. Their collaborative research is primarily situated in pre-service teacher education with a focus on inquiry-based instruction, applied theatre and the relationship of brain research to theatre practice. Their award-winning book, Into the Story: Language in Action through Drama (2004 Heinemann) will be followed in 2016 by Into the Story 2: More Stories! More Drama! (Intellect, UK/ University of Chicago Press).

NYU Forum on Educational Theatre: Registration Now Open

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You’re ready to register? To register, visit the registration page.!

When: April 21-24, 2016.

What: The Forum features the global educational theatre community representing over 20 countries (including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, El Salvadore, Hong Kong, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America) presenting over 100 workshops, papers, posters, and performances around one of the following topics:

  • Drama in Education (i.e., studies in drama/theatre curriculum, special education, integrated arts, assessment and evaluation)
  • Applied Theatre (i.e., studies in community-based theatre, theatre of the oppressed, the teaching artist, diversity and inclusion, drama therapy)
  • Theatre for Young Audiences and Play Production (i.e., studies in acting, dramaturgy, playwriting, dramatic literature, theatre technology, arts-based research methodologies)


Presenters include Wasim Al-Kurdi, Courtney Boddie, Edie Demas, Michael Finnernan, Kathleen Gallagher, Norifumi Hida, Maria Hodermarska, Byoung-Joo Kim, Christina Marín, James Miles, Carole Miller, James Mirrione, Peter and Briar O’Connor, Cecily O’Neill, Monica Prendergast, Ross Prior, Nisha Sajnani, Richard Sallis, Joe Salvatore, Alex Santiago Jirau, Juliana Saxton, Nan Smithner, Philip Taylor, Prudence Wales, and Tim Webb.

Organizations presenting include Community Word Project, Improbable Players, Roundabout Education, The New Victory Theatre, and The New York City Department of Education.

Registration fees are:

Standard Registration: $125.00
Current NYU Student Registration: $20.00
Other Current Student Registration: $65.00
Single Day Registration: $30.00

The schedule for the Forum is still being finalized, but a tentative overview follows:

Thursday, April 21:
6PM – 9PM           Pre-conference Master Class

Friday, April 22:
8:30AM – 6PM     Drama in Education Presentations
6PM – 9PM           Evening Event and Reception

Saturday, April 23:
9:30AM – 6PM      Applied Theatre Presentations
7PM – 10PM          Alumni Event and Reception

Sunday, April 24:
9:30AM – 4:30PM   Theatre for Young Audiences/Play Production Presentations
4:30PM – 5:30PM   Closing Event

Check out our website for all of the details!

NYU Forum on Site-Specific Performance: April 23-26

For our 2015 annual forum, the Program in Educational Theatre is highlighting site-specific performance. Through interdisciplinary panels, performances, and workshops, the forum invites established art makers, emerging artists, and university students to critically engage with spaces on the NYU campus and the greater Washington Square area.

Site-specific explorations have long been embraced by applied theatre practitioners as they collaborate with participants to link performance and community literally on common ground; through participation in such multi-disciplinary encounters, students, community members, and artists may unlock new understanding of the stories imprinted in their surroundings. Moreover, through such collective re-imagining of space, site-specific work moves beyond traditional notions of art and audience, developing nuanced relationships between spectators and space, blurring lines between performers and patrons.

As site-specific performances continue to gain popularity in broader circles and across disciplines, how might we as artists and educators further utilize, build upon, and innovate form while re-examining space as opportunity? What are the implications for artists in community-engaged, educational, and non-traditional performative settings?

Forum Fees

  • NYU Student Registration: $20
  • Other Students Registration: $40
  • General Admission: $75
  • Daily Registration: $30
  • Note: Sunday’s events are free for all STUDENTS


Guiding Questions:

How does space inform, change, and/or dictate conventions of a given performance?

To what extent does space determine audience?

How do we determine which spaces merit performative inquiry?

To what extent does technology inform site-specific performance work?

What can we offer the space as artists, and what can the space offer in return?

What are the educative implications of engaging in and/or developing site-specific artistic encounters?

How are these techniques already present and/or available in classrooms, theatres, and individual practices?

What opportunities exist for audience generation/development?

What connections can be made between artistic skills in traditional performance settings?

Reflections on the Life of Maxine Greene and the Forum on the Teaching Artist: Navigation, Innovation, and Sustainability

By Andrew M. Gaines

Last spring’s annual Forum was a spectacular three-day event, drawing renowned presenters from across the globe, newcomers to the field, administrators, researchers, and allied professionals from multiple arts modalities and disciplines.

Our theme spotlighted the Teaching Artist, a term coined by Dr. Maxine Greene during her 36-year term as Philosopher-in-Residence at Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts.  On the opening night of the forum, Maxine fittingly presented our Exemplary Teaching Artist Awards to four outstanding practitioners, following a touching introduction by Dr. Philip Taylor who cited her as the inspiration for his acronym ART (action, reflection, transformation).

Maxine Greene

Sadly, our attendees had the privilege and honor of witnessing Maxine’s last public appearance that night.  On May 29, only one month following the Forum, Maxine took her last breath at the age of 96.  She had continued to teach until her final days as Professor Emeritus at Columbia University Teacher’s College.  In her plenary address, Maxine’s precious words captured the sublime ephemerality of life, art, and education:

These creative ways to teaching cannot be always predicted or controlled. They are emergent–like our engagement with the changing life, of the golden leaves I see outside the window, with the world. It is always becoming and can never be fully captured.

Our Forum proceeded in the spirit of her noble pursuit, enthusiastically exchanging perspectives and collectively envisioning our shared future. We sought to explore such guiding questions as:

• What is the impact of the Teaching Artist, locally and globally?

• How are Teaching Artists effectively recruiting, cultivating engagement, and fostering    accountability?

• How do Teaching Artists negotiate a commitment to both process and product?

In total, we featured 17 workshops and dialogues, 3 plenary panels, and introduced an alluring new format – PechaKuchawhere presenters had 6 minutes to narrate 20 slides automatically forwarding every 20 seconds.  Sunday morning began with and fabulous performance of Julius Caesar by Shakespeare-to-Go, NYU’s traveling Shakespeare troupe. Community Word Project sustained our momentum by hosting a teaching artist job fair that attracted hundreds of talent and dozens of agencies. Our Forum concluded at the New Victory Theater to enjoy a performance of Fluff: A Story of Lost Toys and a post-show reception, including a brief workshop facilitated by Barbara Ellmann and Ted Sod, two of our Exemplary Teaching Artists.

In sum, our Forum synergized our vibrant community and it’s memory will largely remain a testament to the life of Maxine Greene. Like Dr. Greene, our program bravely sought questions more than answers, and embraced many opportunities to sense more deeply, release the imagination, “internalize new modalities for expression” and bring ourselves into “startling relation to the world.”

NYU Forum on the Teaching Artist: Navigation, Innovation, and Sustainability

Forum on the Teaching Artist Banner

For this year’s arts education forum, The Program in Educational Theatre at New York University is spotlighting the Teaching Artist. Allied professionals of all disciplines, newcomers to the field, administrators, and researchers are invited to exchange perspectives and collectively envision our shared future alongside leading arts organizations such as New Victory Theater and Lincoln Center Education.

This three-day event will highlight the work of local and international teaching artists through a variety of experiences: dynamic workshops and dialogues with artists representing Roundabout Theatre, AIE Roundtable, The Moth, Urban Arts Partnership, and more; panel discussions around navigation, innovation, and sustainability from cross-disciplinary arts leaders; performances both on campus and at premiere NYC arts venues; and networking opportunities.

Opening night of the forum will include the first ever Exemplary Teaching Artist Awards, celebrating four outstanding leaders in the field of teaching artistry. Nominated by their peers, these individuals are innovators in teaching practice, seasoned guides to teaching artists navigating the field, and experts in sustaining a teaching artist practice. This unique honor will be presented by Dr. Maxine Greene, world-renowned teaching artist pioneer and scholar.

The forum will also feature events such as a teaching artist job fair hosted by Community Word Project and a performance of Julius Caesar by Shakespeare-to-Go, NYU’s traveling Shakespeare troupe.  The forum will conclude with an excursion to the New Victory Theater for a pre-show workshop facilitated by New Victory teaching artists, a performance of Fluff: A Story of Lost Toys, and a post-show reception.

For more information and to register for the conference, please go to the Forum Website.

Early registration (before March 28):                                                       Registration:

$15-NYU student                                                                                          $20-NYU students

$55-other students                                                                                       $65-other students

$85-general admission                                                                               $105-general


Twitter: @EdTheatreForum

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: NYU Forum on the Teaching Artist: Navigation, Innovation, and Sustainability (April 25-27, 2014)

NYU Forum on the Teaching Artist: Navigation, Innovation, and Sustainability

April 25-27, 2014

Hosted by The Program in Educational Theatre at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

For our 2014 annual forum, The Program in Educational Theatre spotlights the Teaching Artist. The intersection of pedagogy and aesthetics has extended its reach to a broad array of interdisciplinary perspectives and multiple art disciplines. We invite all allied professionals, newcomers, administrators, and researchers to exchange perspectives and collectively envision our shared future. The forum will begin Friday night, continue all day Saturday, and conclude Sunday afternoon.


Submissions are due Monday, January 20, 2014 (11:59pm, EST), and we strive to notify potential presenters by February 17.

Submit your proposal here, review a comprehensive description of the event, and consider the governing questions behind this forum.

Feel free to email any additional questions to  or to add yourself to our mailing list for future updates…

Please share this information with a colleague, friend, list, and...wait for it…like us on Facebook!

We look forward to seeing you at NYU in the spring!

~Your 2014 NYU Forum Committee

The Program in Educational Theatre

Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

New York University

82 Washington Square East

New York City