Session Block 8

Sunday, July 25th, 2:30-3:45pm (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: College/University/Research

What's Age Got to Do With It? The Second Story Project Research Report

Session Chair: Beth Murray 

Other Presenter(s): Lori Van Wallendael and Jeanmarie Higgins 

Actor's Theatre of Charlotte and Children's Theatre of Charlotte, through their respective artistic directors, forged a partnership around the idea of two plays, one produced by each theatre, both exploring different facets of the same story, thus a house with a story on each story. The Second Story Project encases this intergenerational double-play initiative across its development in the lives of two busy theatre companies. The project strategically included a research team charged to articulate and curate the quest and questions in and around the second-story venture. This panel report shares an overview of the research journey, highlights some findings, and raises new questions . . . to hopefully feed next intergenerational audience efforts, and connect those wondering about the impact of age and intergenerational orientations to TYA..

Network: Professional Theatre

What We Remember, a Play Devised in Quarantine

Session Chair: Chelsea Unzner 

Other Presenter(s): J. Adan Ruiz and Doy Charnsupharindr

Fuse Theatre presents What We Remember by Chelsea Unzner, a multicultural coming of age story that incorporates elements of the traditional Thai art of shadow puppetry, multimedia, and geography. Inspired by the intensely personal experiences of the two central actors (Adan J. Ruiz and Doy Charnsupharindr), the story follows Adan and Doy, who hail from Mexico and Thailand, respectively, on a semi-autobiographical coming of age journey as they navigate the world around them and confront the intersectionalities of their identities. Along their journey, they will discover that although their backgrounds may be very different, and their locations geographically apart, their souls are brothers. What We Remember thematically focuses on the intersectionality of our identities as peoples (ethnicity, nationality, foreignness, sexuality, race, etc.) and how this overlap can allow us to connect with and find affinity with others while also appreciating and respecting each others differences. Fuse Theatre initially developed this play pre-COVID as part of a Theatre for Young Audiences touring project set for three locations in the CA Central Valley, with hopes to resume in 2021-2022. At the onset of the pandemic, development, and performance of the project shifted to virtual means.

Network: Playwriting

Walking the Beat 2020: writing as an emergency first responder

Session Chair: Angela Kariotis 

Walkthrough Walking the Beat's process and their 10-week virtual social justice workshop between officers and young artists. We moved from focusing on a cumulative event to developing a teach-back reflective of our pivotal learning moment. Walking the Beat is a creative writing, theater, and multi-media workshop for students grades 9-12 and local police officers this summer, at the height of Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality, structural racism, and white supremacy, 13 students and 7 local police officers from Elizabeth, NJ, participated in the program, committing to listen not to listen to agree. Due to COVID-19, this summers workshop took place on Zoom through a virtual social justice experience. Our workshop culminated in a public screening of our meaningful takeaways from this past summer.

Network: College/University/Research 

Drama as a mediator for a wired world 

Session Chair: Carole Miller and Juliana Saxton

Early research (Media Awareness Network, 2001) found that students “see social media as ‘a defining part’ of their lives”, and continuing research into the effects of digital media on the brain shows that the brain is changing in response to its use (Luskin, 2012; Turkle, 2015; Wolf, 2018). For the past three years, we have been researching the relationship of drama/theatre and education to the digital age. As seasoned, senior educators, we bring to this discussion the values found in hindsight (always 2020) and their significance for today as our lives become more and more embedded in the digital age.  As drama teachers, we have been uniquely positioned to engage with the essence of a drama curriculum that is built around the collective, expressions of empathy, action, agency, and dialogue: What Richard Deasy (2001) identified as our habits of mind and personal dispositions. While we recognize the opportunities that the digital world provides as we become more efficient and knowledgeable through its use, we are losing time for reflection and the face-to-face connections that are part of our three-dimensional world. These connections are intrinsic to who we are becoming (to use Maxine Greene’s word) and the making and expression that fuel our art form and our humanity. Unfortunately, such a curriculum has not yet been deemed as central to learning. Prior to 2000 arts education was, in times of difficulties, seen as dispensable.  Post-2000, with STEM rising to the top of administrative attention, the arts are in much the same position. What possibilities exist for changing this pattern?  Surely, if we can successfully teach how to act “upon the imagined worlds of our drama,” then we should be able to “see how the ‘real’ world can be acted on and changed” (Neelands, 2006, p.55).

Network: College/University/Research

Expansion of History: Approaches to Devising Work for Marginalized Communities 

Session Chair: Emma Morgan 

Other Presenter(s): Emma Morgan, Jake Hogan, Aubrey Felty

In the past 18 months, Utah State University undergraduate researchers, Jake Hogan, Emma Morgan, and Aubrey Felty have led the creation of three original devised theatre projects focusing on the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people, women, and bi/multicultural college students. Session participants will learn about the processes of these research projects and how each approached engaging with their specific demographics. Participants will engage in devised theatre exercises in order to open a dialogue about their experiences as theatre practitioners and their hopes for the future.

Network: High School 

Building a CTE Theatre Program: Connecting students and Professionalism

Session Chair: Felicia Latoya Brown

Career and Technical Education is not new, but there is a movement of CTE Theatre programs growing in schools across the country. This session is designed to connect high school teachers with each other and theatre professionals to build programs across the nation that will better prepare students for one of the many different positions that stem from the professional theatre. Are you new to CTE, or have you been doing this for years? Both types of people are needed to make all of our programs be the best they can be. Do you have resources to share? Bring them. Let's work together to create the theatre professionals of tomorrow.

Network: K-8

Performing a Classroom STEAM Musical (Grades 2-8)

Session Chair: Jessica Espinoza

Other Presenter(s): Clayton Colwell

What if your students could perform a mini-musical centered around a particular classroom science concept? Participants will experience firsthand the steps in the creative process of creating STEAM Musicals with the DreamBox Theatre writing team. We will begin by sharing strategies on how we connect a science phenomenon to tangible ideas relevant to students. Then we will examine how music and dialogue can be applied to create a compelling story. We will explore STEAM musical stories such as the life cycle of a moth, an outer space journey to a newly discovered planet, and animal adaptations. Participants will discuss creative ways in which these musical stories can springboard deeper STEAM experiences in the classroom.

Network: Playwriting

Writing An Other: embodying empathy in a fourth-grade classroom

Session Chair: Steven Totland  

This workshop is based on work I undertook with students in my fourth-grade theatre class. Last spring, I devised a unit of work that employs a creative process straddling the intersection of oral history, participant-observer ethnographic research, playwriting, and solo performance. Inspired by the work of artists such as Anna Deavere Smith, Dwight Conquergood, and Viola Spolin, I put together a collaborative process that allows students an opportunity to create, and then communicate, a deep understanding of another student in the class. Along the way, students addressed questions like: What can I do to inspire someone to share something important about themselves with me? What playwriting and performance techniques can I use to share what I've learned about someone else with others? What ethical considerations must I take to heart as I create, and then share, a performance-based on someone else's life? As an instructor, I was curious to discover if undertaking this work would help students create a classroom environment that allowed them to become braver, more creative, more inclusive members of our classroom team. 

Network: High School

Social Justice Imagery for Traditional, Hybrid and Digital Classrooms

Session Chair: Tyler Leeps 

With an aim to integrate social justice art into high school pedagogy, this workshop focuses on utilizing a variety of digital resources and exercises to explore social justice with online students.  Augusto Boal's Image Theatre will serve as the theoretical framework for this pedagogy-based workshop.  Boal uses tableaus as a starting point to create artistic imagery that allows actors and spectators to portray, examine and question society.  The landmark shift of the drama class being taught online or in a socially distanced forum requires examining Boal's classic techniques through a uniquely 2020 lens. Starting with standard alignment and introducing social justice theatre to the classroom and ultimately ending in a video performance, this interactive workshop provides techniques, resources, and implementation tools that theatre teachers can easily adapt into their own unique situation.