You are currently browsing mbmfreeman’s articles.

SAGE New York City LGBT Senior Center
During the current summer session, eight students in Tony Goode’s course “Creating Meaning through Community Drama” have conducted life history interviews with New York City seniors, ranging from members of SAGE, the nation’s first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Senior Center, to members of Raises Gowanus, a center serving a Hispanic community in Brooklyn. The students are now busily creating an original piece of reminiscence theatre that honors these seldom-told histories.

Come see a special performance of the work and join in the dialog that follows!

Reminiscence Theatre Performance
Saturday, August 10, 2013
2:00-4:00pm
CUNY SPS M.A. in Applied Theatre Studios
101 West 31st Street 6th Floor
(Building dually addressed as 875 6th Avenue)

Admission is free. Seating is limited.

RSVP to michael.wilson@mail.cuny.edu.

The Master’s Degree in Applied Theatre, the first program of its kind in the United States, is a sequential, ensemble-based program for students interested in the use of theatre to address social and educational issues in a wide range of settings. The program stresses the unity of theory and practice, and is linked to the professional applied theatre work of the renowned CUNY Creative Arts Team.

Advertisements

Claire Yang is a 2011 graduate of the CUNY School of Professional Studies MA in Applied Theatre program. She recently took a moment to send us this update:

Clair Yang

In September 2012, I moved back to Singapore after three years in New York City. I was sad to leave a wonderful community of theatre practitioners, community workers and educators and yet excited to see what was in store for me in the place and cultural context I had grown up in.

A week after I arrived, I had the privilege of attending the Community Cultural Development Symposium with fellow artists, community workers, and policy makers. I sat amongst students and pioneers of Singapore theatre, in the midst of dialogue about new initiatives and old issues. It hit me right away that the community I was about to be a part of had a truly rich history. It is a history not without struggle (performance art and forum theatre were banned in the early 1990s and several theatre practitioners were accused of Marxism), yet the present seems hopeful (government/ quasi-government organisations now commission forum theatre pieces, some by those same theatre practitioners). That was the start of my on-going journey of speaking to, learning from and collaborating with this extraordinary arts community.

I now work for the Singapore Repertory Theatre as Education Manager. I am constantly filled with an exhilarating mixture of fear and excitement in this role and department that is new to the company and new to me. In CUNY’s MA in Applied Theatre program, we spoke a lot about the idea of “praxis” and how one can only make discoveries upon taking action. I think now is the time for some of that!

The Master’s Degree in Applied Theatre, the first program of its kind in the United States, is a sequential, ensemble-based program for students interested in the use of theatre to address social and educational issues in a wide range of settings. The program stresses the unity of theory and practice, and is linked to the professional applied theatre work of the renowned CUNY Creative Arts Team.

Carrie has been a teaching artist in NYC for 10 years and a mom for 6 months. She received her MA in Applied Theatre from CUNY School of Professional Studies in 2011. Carrie is currently working for organizations such as TDF, The Roundabout Theatre Company, and The Museum of the City of New York doing playbuilding, and connecting theatre to literacy and the Common Core Standards. Below are her thoughts on the art of mothering:

If you had asked me a year and a half ago, a year ago, even six months ago, how I would feel as a working mother, I would have said: “I love my work as a teaching artist and an applied theater practitioner. I’m passionate about theater and the power of theater to transform, and my child will be proud of me for doing what I love. What an example I will set!”

Fast-forward five and a half months.

Applied MotherI am a mom to a beautiful baby boy, a wife, and a teaching artist. But the super-mom I imagined myself to be does not exist.

Instead, I feel pulled in a million directions. The passion for my work and my students are still there but I am also passionate about my son. I have noticed that when I am working with a difficult group of students, my patience is thin and I wonder why I am not at home with my own son who is probably crying because his first teeth are coming in.  When I am planning for my next day’s lessons, I feel guilty that I am putting effort into the development of another person’s child instead of playing with my own son. I feel guilty all of the time because my passions are split and I can no longer give one hundred percent to my work.

I wonder, how long does the guilt last? How long can I keep fooling everyone—my students, administrators, and teachers—that my thoughts are elsewhere? When I’m playing Walk, Stop, Jump, Clap, can I be fully in the moment and there for the needs of my participants? When will I stop recycling lesson plans and challenge my own creativity again?

I thought the art of applied theatre was challenging but the art of mothering is a feat as well. So, I am currently working on my master’s in applied mothering. I’ll let you know when I’m ready to share my thesis.

The Master’s Degree in Applied Theatre, the first program of its kind in the United States, is a sequential, ensemble-based program for students interested in the use of theatre to address social and educational issues in a wide range of settings. The program stresses the unity of theory and practice, and is linked to the professional applied theatre work of the renowned CUNY Creative Arts Team.

The M.A. in Applied Theatre culminates with the Project Thesis. Our graduating students envision and implement original projects in Applied Theatre. These projects are the sites for their research, which they in turn document and evaluate in their final written theses. We invite you to attend the dynamic presentations in which they share their processes and discoveries.

The M.A. in Applied Theatre culminates with the Project Thesis.

Wednesdays, May 22, 29, and 30
At CUNY’s Creative Arts Team
101 West 31st Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10001

May 22nd
6:45pm, Celebrating Community: An Applied Theatre Workshop for Child and Family Specialists
Brisa Muñoz, Kristy Kadish, and Michelle O’Connor
A two-day theatre-based workshop for a community of social workers in Johnson City, Tennessee. The purpose of the workshop was to promote connection, celebrate strengths, and examine the challenges within the professional community.

7:35pm, The WHY Factor: A Decision-Making Workshop with African Diasporan Male Undergraduates
Antonio Lyons and Julia Reimer
This 5-week workshop series at a college in Queens used theater, storytelling, and creative play to explore choices through the lens of identity, relationships, conflict, systems, and personal goals and expectations.

8:25pm, Facing the Blank Page Together: Finding Collaborative Approaches to New Play Development
Dominic D’Andrea
This presentation documents the experience of an applied theatre-inspired writers’ group that was designed as a lab for a cohort of 9 working playwrights in New York City. Through a focus on group collaboration, individual process, and working with a senior population, the playwrights engaged with applied theatre practice to inform and/or impact their individual approaches to “facing the blank page.”

9:15pm, Acting Out in Math Class: Role play and Mathematical Discourse
Anna Zivian and Nicolette Dixon
The presenters implemented workshops and residencies to support math teachers in developing and facilitating role play scenarios for students based on mathematical word problems. The project objective was to use role play to stimulate engagement in mathematical discourse for enhanced conceptual understanding.

May 29th
6:45pm, Performing Legacies: A Family Storytelling Workshop
Ramy Eletreby, Rachel Evans, and Amy Sawyers
This workshop series was implemented over four Sundays at a church community room on the Upper East Side with a diverse group of 24 individuals. Through a variety of activities geared towards performing family stories, this workshop explored the significance in our lives of sharing family stories.

7:35pm, Looking at the Past: The Women’s Theatre Project
Lydia Gaston and Junko Ishikawa
The presenters implemented a 6-week series of theatre-based workshops with Filipino senior women immigrants in Jamaica, Queens. Looking at the Past used process drama, Freirean dialog, and an exchange of personal stories to address group dynamics and build community.

8:25pm-10pm, Integrating Theatrical Conventions into a High School Peer Education Program
Ellen Brown, Sara Orr, and Leah Page
The presenters spent ten weeks at a community center that offers peer education programs for and with teenagers. The group taught the young people how to create, rehearse and facilitate activating scenes, a convention influenced by Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. At the end of the ten weeks, the young people performed and facilitated three original scenes for their peers at the center.

May 30th
6:45pm, Arts Together: Celebrating Moms and Kid Through Theatre, Crafts and Fun!
Lillian Ribeiro and Ben Weber
Arts Together was a series of 5 workshops that took place in New Jersey for mothers and their children who live in a domestic violence shelter or supportive housing facility. These workshops explored how applied theatre may foster meaningful experiences between mothers and children during a period of transition.

7:35pm, Interracial Relationships Explored
Carli Gaughf and Reyna Bonaparte
A 5-week project that mobilized theatrical conventions to address the struggles and joys of romantic interracial relationships. Individuals and couples met on weekly basis for Boal-based workshops at the Queens Presbyterian Church in Long Island City, NYC.

8:25pm, ACTION! The Creative Student Leadership Workshop
Claro de los Reyes and Shamilia McBean
ACTION! was a 4-week interactive theatre project that explored the concept of leadership with undergraduate commuter students in Jamaica, Queens. The workshop series addressed civic mindedness and psychological ownership through an arts-based investigation of how students saw themselves in relationship to their school community.

Admission is free.
Guests are welcome to attend any or all of the presentations.

The Master’s Degree in Applied Theatre, the first program of its kind in the United States, is a sequential, ensemble-based program for students interested in the use of theatre to address social and educational issues in a wide range of settings. The program stresses the unity of theory and practice, and is linked to the professional applied theatre work of the renowned CUNY Creative Arts Team.

The following post was written by Kristel Brown, M.A. in Applied Theatre class of 2012:

My family and I recently relocated from New York City to Boulder, Colorado.  After eight years in the city, three of which were spent immersed in CUNY’s SPS community as part of both the Disability Studies program and the M.A. in Applied Theatre, it has been a significant, and at times challenging, transition. CUNY’s M.A. in Applied Theatre community is like a cozy home, full of individuals creating sustainable social change through art. These artists are changing their sphere of the world through collaboration and engagement in their diverse communities. Needless to say, it was an incredibly difficult community to say goodbye to.

City view of Boulder, ColoradoThe beautiful piece of this puzzle is that I’ve discovered that the CUNY community extends across the country. I have encountered fellow Applied Theatre artists throughout both the performing arts and academic worlds in the Denver-Metro area, connected to CUNY’s Applied Theatre program. Through those connections, new work is developing and growing; I am building a new community.

Currently, I am teaching theatre and interactive storytelling with babies and toddlers through Parlando School for the Arts, a community based-after-school arts academy that serves the Boulder area. These classes combine storytelling, music, puppetry, and mime to gently introduce babies and toddlers to the world of theatre and performing arts. Parlando has just received funding for the development of an Early Childhood Theatre and Arts program for children living with developmental disabilities; a program for which I have been asked to create curriculum. Additionally, this summer I will facilitate summer camps with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, through which high school students will devise original musicals and plays.

I am still finding my way, and despite somewhat shaky ground, I have felt the support of the CUNY community from afar. Through the CUNY network, I have found opportunities in this new place, that I would not have found otherwise. The skills I acquired while in the M.A. Applied Theatre program are unique and new to this area. Furthermore, my connection to this diverse web of New York-based artists and practitioners has served as an asset to the work I am building in my new home. Conferences, workshops, and a myriad of resources are a simple plane-ride away. I am grateful for the opportunity to bring pieces of New York City to the Rocky Mountain West, and ecstatic to see where this new path leads.

The Master’s Degree in Applied Theatre, the first program of its kind in the United States, is a sequential, ensemble-based program for students interested in the use of theatre to address social and educational issues in a wide range of settings. The program stresses the unity of theory and practice, and is linked to the professional applied theatre work of the renowned CUNY Creative Arts Team.

Current student, T.J. Black (’14) contributed the following recap of the inaugural Master of Arts in Applied Theater Lab Conference that was held in mid-March:

Masters in Applied Theater students at The CUNY School of Professional Studies

On March 17, 2012, students and alumni of the Master of Arts in Applied Theatre program gathered for the inaugural MAAT Lab Conference.  The MA in Applied Theatre was developed in 2008 in collaboration with the CUNY-Creative Arts Team as the first degree-granting program of its kind in the country.  It is committed to the goal of creating leading practitioners in the field, using theatre as a tool to address educational issues and affect social change.  The Lab Conference, organized by current students T.J. Black (’14), Olivia Harris (’14), Leah Page (’13) and Ben Weber (’13), was designed as a forum for current students and alumni to explore pressing topics in applied theatre, and to further cultivate an ever-growing community of applied theatre practitioners coming through the program.

Despite issues with scheduling—the conference was rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy—nearly a third of all current students and alumni chose to participate.  The sessions were a mix of participatory workshops and plenary discussions, covering a range of topics including sex and gender in the classroom, fundraising, applied theatre work in prisons, and many more.  Several of the sessions were inspired and/or developed by class work done in the MA program.

Masters in Applied Theater students at The CUNY School of Professional Studies

During the closing reflection, the community expressed that the conference was a useful and effective exploration of current questions in the field of applied theatre. Attendees also found it to be an ideal opportunity to network with colleagues from different graduating classes.  There is an enthusiastic interest in continuing to develop the conference as a venue for collaboration, dialogue, and exploration of the major issues facing this emerging field, potentially opening to the wider community in the near future.

Presenters included current students Rachel Evans (’13), Olivia Harris (’14), Shamilia McBean (’13), Brisa Munoz (’13), and Ben Weber (’13), as well as alumni Ria Cooper (’10), Max Forman-Mullin (’12), Maggie Keenan-Bolger (’10), Jessica Levy (’12), Heather Nielsen (’12), Kevin Ray (’11), Julia Taylor (’12), Sherry Teitelbaum (’11), and Michael Wilson (’11).

For further information on the MAAT Lab Conference, please contact T.J. Black at thomas.black2@spsmail.cuny.edu

For more information on the MA in Applied Theatre, please visit http://sps.cuny.edu/programs/ma_appliedtheatre