Session Block 6

Friday, July 31st, 2:45-4pm(EDT)

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

Network: Applied Theatre

Megan Alrutz, Lynn Hoare, Faith Hillis and Laura Epperson. 

The Performing Justice Project: Devising, Racial and Gender Justice, and Youth

The Performing Justice Project (PJP) offers a creative and interactive model for devising critically engaged performance work with youth. In this participatory session, attendees will explore how PJP engages theatre, storytelling, creative writing, movement, and technology as tools for imagining and performing gender and racial justice. This session offers an overview of the PJP model and partnerships with schools, foster care facilities, and juvenile justice centers. The Performing Justice Project offers a model for engaging young people in embodied and performative dialogues around the relationship(s) between identity and justice, and is documented in a new book published with Routledge/Focus Press (2020).  

Network: College/University/Research

Re-Envisioning Arts Integration Education: Student-Teacher Learning Communities  
Session Chair: Lara Dossett

What happens when students are empowered to make decisions about their own education instead of passively digesting what is decided for them? What happens when students are held up as the key catalyst and change-makers for learning improvement in US schools through arts integration? UT Austin Drama for Schools has been asking these questions in our most recent partnership with a public arts integration school in Round Rock, Texas. Informed by Rodriguez and Brown’s 2009 key principles of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and an approach from South Australia’s internationally recognized public school system, DFS partnered with the Berkman Arts Integration Academy to create a Student Teacher Learning Community (STLC) model in arts integrated professional learning. The STLC draws on YPAR to disrupt traditional teacher-student dynamics by bringing teachers and students together to collaboratively investigate topics within arts integration. These investigations are grounded in the students experiences with the goal of transforming their communities. The Student Teacher Learning Community empowers young people to be decision-makers, evaluators, teachers, researchers, learning designers, and advocates for learning within their own education. In this interactive session participants should expect to: Experience how the STLC was facilitated through active strategies to develop an interest in and introduce Student Teacher Learning Communities practice into their arts education and arts integration initiatives. Learn evidence-based information about the structure of and benefits of Student Teacher Learning Communities specifically in relationship to student voice and Youth Participatory Action Research to advocate for similar models in K-12 education. Discuss initial outcomes from the Drama for Schools Student Teacher Learning Community at Berkman, highlighting problems/challenges and possibilities discovered in the initial 18 month pilot. 

Network: Professional Theatre

Strategic Planning 101: Tools for Developing Programs 
Session Chair: Bill Greenan

Strategic planning and long-term vision are keys to any school theatre program’s sustainability. Featuring Omaha Performing Arts and Disney Theatrical Group’s Disney Musicals in Schools program as a case study, this session focuses on arts administrators engaging schools in a strategic planning process to help them effectively sustain the theatre program at their school. Participants will explore Omaha Performing Arts strategic planning case study and planning tools, as well as preview the new strategic planning resources available to schools through DMIS: StageConnect. Participants will then apply these tools and practices in developing their own approach to helping schools achieve long-term sustainability. About the Case Study: Disney Musicals in Schools builds sustainable theatre programs in under-resourced public elementary schools. By providing free performance materials and free professional development to participating teachers, Disney Musicals in Schools has helped schools across the country launch new theatre programs.

Network: High School

Re-Examining Mockingbird: Using Drama To Problematize A ‘Classic’ Text
Session Chair: Alexandra Lopez

What makes a play or a novel problematic? And how can theater educators help students trouble stories that marginalize Black, Indigenous, and people of color, and develop a critical point of view of problematic texts? These were the critical questions that Lincoln Center Theater's education program faced when we brought 1,400 New York City high school students and their teachers to see Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of Harper Lee's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD on Broadway. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was recently voted America's best-loved novel and has been taught in classrooms for generations. However, a rising tide of educators are re-examining the way it frames the story of a Black man falsely accused of raping a poor white woman when both characters are marginalized in favor of affluent, white protagonists. Given that many NYC students encounter the text in eighth grade ELA classes, much of our audience already had some familiarity with the novel. LCT's education program had an opportunity to re-frame the story through the lenses of three time periods: the 30's when the story is set, the 60's when the story was written, and finally in 2019, when we saw the production. In two pre-show workshops and two follow-up post-show workshops, we considered how to identify and explore the problem areas of this story so that students were able to view the play critically. In this workshop, participants will take part in activities that were devised to help students understand the context of MOCKINGBIRD, examine African Americans’ experience of racial injustice throughout American history, and consider ways of re-centering the story on the role and experience of Tom Robinson, rather than Scout or Atticus Finch. Workshop participants will also discuss ways of re-applying these strategies to their work with young people.

Network: Youth Theatre

Bringing You the World Today, the 1940 Way -- Exploring STEAM and STREAM via Theatre
Session Chair: Sabrina Switzer Wareing

Turn up the volume and tune your radios to 19-4-0. Learn how middle school theatre students developed and performed an original vintage-styled radio show complete with authentic Foley SFX, genre spoofs, and parody ads for a live audience and podcast! Delight in the historical milieu and pop culture as students experience the interplay of ideas, inventiveness, and stagecraft through their own creativity in radio’s "theatre of the mind.” By 1940, radio had become a part of every American home. It was a nightly tradition to gather as a family around "the wireless" and enjoy "theatre of the mind." At a time when the world was on the brink of World War II, radio was how people received the news. The contemporary live podcast echoes radio's intimate and immediate mass communication style, while the current pandemic conditions rival the challenges of the war-time climate. In addition, this exploration continues the conversation Orson Welles expertly raised in 1939: before one can evaluate and form judgments about critical issues in the world, one must learn to distinguish factual information from the ways in which that information may be presented. This workshop involves an overview of the complete process including concept, scripting, SFX construction, production, and podcast. Both in-person and distance learning formats will be explored. With a focus on utilizing Zoom as a platform for creating a relevant theatrical on-line experience for students.