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ARCHIVE - THE SCAVENGER HUNT AS A MEANS OF ENGAGEMENT FOR COMMUNITY-BASED PERFORMANCE WITH YOUTH (1-31-14)

Armed with scholarship and discussion, but absolutely zero experience in Community-Based Performance, two colleagues and I were given the task to make a three minute video that would adequately document the engagement of six young people from the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Mesa, AZ with the Arizona Museum of Natural History.  The video was our final project in Professor Stephani Etheridge Woodson’s THE 514: Projects in Community Based Drama and Theatre, a core course in the MFA and PhD programs in Theatre for Youth at Arizona State University.  In so doing, we were required to create a video that exemplified community based performance as discussed by Jan Cohen-Cruz in her books Local Acts: Community-Based Performance in the United States and Engaging Performance: Theatre as Call and Response.  According to Cohen-Cruz, “Community-based performance is thus a local act in two senses: a social doing in one’s particular corner of the world and an artistic framing of that doing for others to appreciate” (Local Acts 13).  Therefore, our video needed to depict these six young people doing (or engaging with) the Arizona Museum of Natural History at the same time they were framing (or performing) that live interaction for those who would eventually view the video as a geocaching reward permanently installed at the museum.[1]  As a doctoral student in theatre, I philosophically believed in this project as a performance oriented community based project; however, the task of making the video scared me to death.  I was most worried that we adults would wrest creative control away for the young people in the name of a “great product.”  I remember mulling this project over for several weeks without ever coming to a solution.  Eventually, I called a group meeting with my group members Megan Hartman and Megan Flod Johnson for the next day to discuss our dilemma.

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ARCHIVE - How One High School Theatre Program Engages Ohio Communities (3-27-15)

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