Welcome back to the spring, 2013 semester. As students learn to make, perform, evaluate, apply and teach theatre, it is important that they have opportunities to engage with various artistic endeavors that support the rich course work they take in the Program. As such, there are a number of upcoming activities that I’d like to highlight.
For our spring main stage production, The Program in Educational Theatre is pleased to present The Crucible by Arthur Miller in the Provincetown Playhouse. Directed by Philip Taylor, this promises to be a profoundly significant and contemporary production. The Program recently benefited when Michael Earley, an Arthur Miller scholar and president of Rose Buford College in the UK, offered a fascinating lecture on Miller for the cast and other NYU students. Many Educational Theatre students are involved in The Crucible, from the actors to the production team, so you won’t want to miss this exciting theatrical event beginning March 1st. And check out The Crucible blog.
Our signature outreach effort, Shakespeare to Go (STG) continues to bring their exceptional performances of Hamlet to schools across NYC, providing the opportunity for young people to experience a Shakespeare play that is meaningful and engaging. Under the direction of Daryl Embry with a large cast of talented student-actors, STG continues to provide inspiration to hundreds of our city’s young people, many of which will see Shakespeare performed for the first time in their lives thanks to the efforts of STG.
Our Program is invested in bringing new works to new audiences as we strive to really identify how the art form shapes and changes the world. To that end, The Writers’ Roundtable emerged in the fall of 2012, focused on investigating the roles of structure and accountability in the creative processes of playwrights at various stages in their careers, honing in on the particular experiences of young writers from our Program, who were commissioned by the university to write full-length, original work. As part of our mission to develop and present new theatre, Roundtable members delivered eight brand new plays in the fall semester, including two pieces from former Educational Theatre students Emily Kaczmarek and Tyler Grimes. Participating playwrights include: Nikkole Salter, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Joe Salvatore and Greg Kotis. Roundtable members will be presenting new work this spring as well, so stay tuned for further information.
Also this semester, Theatrix! has teamed up with students from the Music Composition program to bring original short plays and musicals to life. These performances will take place in the Blackbox theatre, March 29 – 31. Be sure to join us, as this is the first endeavor of its kind for our program. We feel certain this festival will defy expectations.
The Program applauds the work of Uproar Theatre Corp, the NYU Steinhardt club formed by Educational Theatre students, devoted to producing new theatrical works as well as sponsoring workshops, panels, and theatrical competitions for the Steinhardt community. Please check out their blog and upcoming events.
The Program in Educational Theatre hosts yearly conferences in April for practitioners, artists, scholars, researchers and students who are interested in exploring questions that fuel each year’s conference. Last year’s conference, The Forum on Theatre for Young Audiences, was convened by visiting professor Tony Graham and brought folks from around the globe to the NYU campus to explore TYA practices in depth. This year’s conference, Developing New Works for the Theatre promises to add to our prestigious succession of world-renowned conference events, and students are strongly encouraged to attend. Volunteers are always needed at the conferences as well. Information on several unique opportunities to be involved with the event will be published shortly.
We are also moving into the time of year when NYU students look ahead to consider ways in which to be involved with summer courses and projects. In addition to courses that will be offered on campus, the Program will continue running our award-winning New Plays for Young Audiences (NPYA) series, developing three outstanding new TYA plays. Students should be on the lookout for upcoming announcements regarding auditions for the staged play readings happening in the Provincetown Playhouse this June. Students can also take the accompanying three credit course for the series, Theatre Practices: Problems in Play (MPAET-GE.2152-001), which will be taught by Joe Salvatore. After NPYA ends, the Looking for Shakespeare project will bring secondary students from across the country to the NYU campus to work on and produce a Shakespeare play. This will be directed by Dr. Nancy Smithner, and the accompanying course for this project will allow NYU students to have practical, hands-on experiences working with the young people. The accompanying three credit course is called Creating Youth Theatre Productions (MPAET-GE.2982-001) and will also be taught by Nancy Smithner.
The London study abroad curriculum is taking shape with a new initiative in TYA being launched at Rose Bruford College, and with the Heathcote conference at University of Greenwich. Theatre visits to the Globe, the RSC, WestEnd, Unicorn, OilyCart, the fringe and more will also be a part of this program being led by Dr. Philip Taylor. Following the London course, NYU students in Dublin will work with Ireland’s finest drama practitioners and theatre artists, exploring community-engaged theatre with affiliations through Upstate Theatre and the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College in Dublin. Under the leadership of Joe Salvatore, skills to be explored include facilitation, devising, and playwriting/adaptation, along with approaches to using dramatic activities to create context for theatre work. Having just returned from leading the January Intersession program in Puerto Rico with NYU students, I’m happy to report that the Educational Theatre Program continues to be the finest institution in our field for global studies. Our study abroad programs consistently provide transformative experiences for students, and for more insight into Puerto Rico program, please check out the Theatre Practices in Puerto Rico blog with entries written by Educational Theatre students.
So there’s a lot to look forward this semester, and this summer. I encourage Educational Theatre students to get involved wherever possible, for the artistic possibilities of collaboration that involve faculty, students, alumni, and guest artists compel explorations that are the best means for achieving artistic growth. I want to thank the top-notch Educational Theatre adjunct faculty, as well as my colleagues Philip Taylor, Nan Smithner, Joe Salvatore, Amy Cordileone and Jonathan Jones for helping launch another exhilarating year in Educational Theatre. Have a great semester everyone!
David Montgomery, PhD
Director, The Program in Educational Theatre