Session Block 2

Friday, July 23rd, 1:30-2:45pm (EDT)

All of the Session Blocks will be hosted on Zoom Meeting. You will be sent an email, 24 hours prior to the next day's events, which will contain all of the log-on details for each event. As in an in-person Conference, please feel free to select whichever workshop you would like to attend in the moment.

Network: High School 

Philanthropic Theatre: Connecting your Curriculum to the World

Session Chair: Bryan Stanton 

Theatre has often been described as a reflection of society. As such, theatre is a powerful medium for change in the world. When working with high school students it is sometimes difficult for students to see beyond their immediate needs. By centering your program on philanthropy students are able to connect their learning to the world, find creative ways to support the local and global communities, and build a love for not only theatre but helping others.

Network: Youth Theatre 

Call to Action: How to Use Theater to Enact Change with Teenagers

Session Chair: Dana Edell 

Other Presenter(s): Kuenique Allicock and Leo Duran

Can theater really change the world? Many youth theater organizations state that they are doing social justice work or creating theater for social change, though what they often mean is that their performances address social justice issues and that through educating their audiences about racism, sexism, homophobia and other -isms, and sharing personal stories about the ways these social and political oppressions harm young people, audience members will somehow miraculously change and these issues will disappear. In this workshop, we share tactics and strategies for using theater to go beyond simply raising awareness about injustices. As a leader of girls activist and theater organizations for more than twenty years such as viBe Theater Experience and SPARK Movement, and the co-director of more than 70 original devised theater productions and dozens of activist campaigns, Dana, along with Kuenique and Leo, viBe theatermakers and teenage girls, will lead participants through a series of activities to identify core political or social justice issues, identify and map the power structures that can lead to tangible change and offer hands-on strategies to utilize performance-based tactics with teenagers to enact real-world policy or social change. Additionally, we will engage in a difficult dialogue to address the various challenges embedded in devising uncensored activist theater with young people such as the complicated impact of white directors and teaching artists collaborating with youth of color to address and dismantle racism and the necessity for intergenerational partnerships both within and across racial lines.  We will also interrogate what happens when the topics that the young people address raise contradictory and complicated social and political issues. We will share personal stories from our successful activist theater projects as well as the initiatives that fell short, analyzing both in order to offer comprehensive guidance to others attempting similar projects in their communities. Our unique intergenerational co-facilitation of teenage girls alongside an adult will ensure that multiple voices and perspectives are represented.


Network: High School 

What Makes Theatre, Theatre?

Session Chair: Emily C Trejo

Other Presenter(s): Claire Eyestone

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, theatre practitioners have been placed in a difficult position. How can we continue to make art while staying safe from this virus? As creators, we have had to broaden our definition of theatre in order to provide meaningful opportunities for our students. Join us in this workshop as we look into what makes theatre, theatre. Together we will explore the definition of theatre and how it has changed through this time. We will look at traditional theatre and how it has changed as well as the many types of online performances that have been occurring. With these performances, we will also analyze the experiences of those who work on the show. How has the work of a stage manager changed? How do actors connect through PPE or through a computer screen? What work is required of designers to create a cohesive show if actors are in different areas? Through the changes of the pandemic the audience's perspective has changed as well, as theatre makers how can we create a performance that will be engaging and safe for them as well? In this workshop, we will explore how theatre has changed and influenced our views on the arts forever.

Network: College/University/Research

The Stories of First Year Teachers: A Critical Analysis of an Applied Theatre Project

Session Chair: Jamie Simpson Steele

New teachers often feel unprepared to meet the demands of the profession, and attrition rates indicate approximately half will leave within their first five years. To address this problem, this applied theatre project utilized ethnodrama, integrating research and performance, to stage the stories of first-year teachers. Researchers interviewed eighteen first-year teachers and an ensemble of performers then developed a series of monologues, dances, poems, songs, and scenes through a playbuilding process. This discussion uses an interactive format to walk participants through the process and critique the strengths and weakness of this combined approach to applied theatre, ethnodrama, and playbuilding.

Network: College/University/Research

Shifting Terrains: Multi-vocal Pedagogies in an Arts Integration Undergraduate Course

Session Chair: Lara Dossett 

Other Presenter(s): Beth Link 

Life itself can be led as a work of art. In so doing the maker himself or herself is remade. The remaking, this re-creation is at the heart of the process of education. The students in our Arts Integration for Multidisciplinary Connections course interpret this quote by Elliot Eisner on the first day of class. Little do they know as they remake themselves through this highly participatory, embodied university course they are also shaping the remaking of the course itself. Through this 15-week course at the University of Texas at Austin the students learn how to interpret, create, and integrate art. Near the end of the course the students, typically pre-service K-12 teachers, become facilitators of Arts Integration, choosing their own content to integrate with dance, music, visual art, or theatre. In this uniquely designed course faculty and teaching assistants honor the long standing monuments-the core of the class which include the goals and overall structure. Through a focus on multi-vocal and power sharing pedagogies that center the student’s voices and experiences, landmarks for the course have emerged over time. Each landmark has shifted the course in some way, leaving behind a new version that has been strengthened and refined for the following semesters. Oftentimes these revisions are the result of disorienting dilemmas- moments that cause us to question our priorities and re-evaluate our pedagogies. Join us for an interactive session that shares the monuments and landmarks that have shaped this essential course at UT Austin. We will investigate multi-vocal pedagogies that underpin the teaching of this course and examine how it has evolved over time to shift increasingly towards addressing issues of identity and social justice through the arts.

Network: K-8

Teaching Middle and High School Theatre Online: Units, Tips, and Tricks

Session Chair: Leslie Stellwagen 

Other Presenter(s): Riley Braem and Kathleen Pennyway 

2020 has been an unprecedented year in the field of education and theatre. The in-person, hands-on, shared space world of theatre teaching quickly shifted to black zoom boxes, face masks, and 6 ft of distance. As drama teachers, we have adapted at lightning speed to do our utmost to meet the needs of students, school, and curriculum. In this panel, three educators will share how they have successfully revamped their in-person teaching to an online space while working in various areas of the world; a private, majority EAL, all-girls South Korean school and two urban, racially diverse public schools in South Carolina and Tennessee. We will share our individual schools online teaching models, unit overviews, student work examples, and class time structure. By the end of this session, we hope that participants will have practical strategies and ideas that can directly be applied to their own classrooms.

Network: High School 

Crossing the Threshold: Michael Chekhov Technique for Rehearsal & Classrooms

Session Chair: Meriah Sage 

Explore the basics of the Michael Chekhov technique that combines traditional (thinking-centered) and nontraditional (psycho-physical) acting tools. Explore ease, joy radiating, and psychological gestures as they apply to your classes and rehearsals. Through ball and floor exercises, participants will develop a basic understanding of radiation, "4 Brothers" and psychological gestures of Michael Chekhov and their application in assisting students in creating a role for the stage within an ensemble.

Network: Playwriting 

Bio-theatrics and The Living Newspaper A Shared Journey

Session Chair: Patch Clark 

Bio-theatrics and The Living Newspaper A Shared Journey of Voice, Reason, and Hope 5th Grade University PlaywritingMonths before COVID, East Carolina University students in the Department of Biology and theatre students from the School of Theatre and Dance combined learning forces to share knowledge regarding biology,  ecology, the importance of trees, playwriting and performance techniques with the purpose of writing a play together to tour to the elementary schools, community centers, and public events.  Even though COVID restrictions interrupted the prospects of live face-to-face touring, the partnership continued and students completed the research and playwriting journey as well as a virtual performance in Bio-theatrics to share their script, designs, and virtual performances with elementary schools and the public.  The Living Newspaper technique of the 1930s  has also become an important vehicle for sharing topics of societal concern, and additional projects in playwriting and performance for 5th-grade students through university-level classes have become an important part of the teaching and practice of finding a voice through playwriting.    In this session, participants will examine the impact and development of the Bio-theatrics project as well as the Living Newspaper technique and the journey of young 5th-grade students as they voiced and explored topics of concern such as fair housing, poverty, war, and child abuse, while university students explored current societal challenges such as public demonstrations and government confinement of immigrant families. Through these two techniques, participants will create a new shared journey of voice, reason, and hope, through Biotheatrics and the Living Newspaper Technique.

Network: College/University/Research

Culturally Responsive Theatre Education: Translating Theory into Practice

Session Chair:  Roxanne Schroeder-Arce 

Other Presenter(s): Joshua Rashon Streeter, Elizabeth Wislar, Shavonne Coleman, Kathleen Pennyway, and Martin Rodriguez 

What is culturally responsive theatre pedagogy and what does it look like in practice? This interactive session, led by a diverse group of theatre educators, will engage participants in an embodied exploration of culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) rooted in the field of education. Theatre educators and artists will lead small groups in activities and discussion of applications of CRP theory--as it relates to theatre and drama. Teachers and artists working with all learners (PK-12+) are welcome to attend as the session will offer ideas and space for theatre practitioners to consider their own use of CRP and ways to apply this theory in theatre spaces with more and deeper intentionality. Whether brand new to CRP or a veteran, this session aims to provide each participant with ideas to propel everyone forward.

Network: Professional Theatre

Contextualizing Theater for Racial Justice: A Breath for George

Session Chair:  Stephanie Lein Walseth 

Other Presenter(s): Austene Van, LaTwanna Williams, Eliza Rasheed, and Lori Constable

We know the transformative power of theater when it comes to addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time. Last summer, the fight for racial justice was re-ignited worldwide after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, amidst the context of a global pandemic that is disproportionately affecting BIPOC communities, and radically shifting both education and performance into new, distanced forms. For us as Minnesotans, this was a landmark moment that shook the nation and reverberated around the world. In this context, New Dawn Theatre Company created A Breath for George. The film was crafted from individually recorded performances of monologues, songs, poems, movement, and interviews by local black and POCI artists and scholars, and then woven together and projected onto the exterior of theater buildings across the Twin Cities. In this session, join us for a short excerpt of A Breath for George, followed by a dialogue session that engages participants in thinking through the process of creating theater for racial justice and for building curriculum to help middle and high school students contextualize the work.