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A Sunny Fall Day

October 18th marked my second month in the United States. It feels like I’ve been here longer and I mean this in the best possible way. What’s lovely about being an international student, and one who has never been to America before, is a lot of things are new and exciting. Every moment is an opportunity to learn.

I’m fortunate enough to have experienced the seasons turn from Summer to Fall. Having come from a tropical country, the Philippines, I can’t help but marvel at those who have dealt with cold climates all their lives. I’ve been warned it’s only going to get colder.

While freezing isn’t exactly on top of my “things to do in New York” list, the warmth of the everyone I’ve encountered—from the MA in Applied Theatre Program to the Creative Arts Team and beyond—will last me a lifetime of winters.

I’m excited to be part of this weblog. I look forward to sharing with you my experiences as an international student.

Laura is a teaching artist from the Philippines. She is a graduate student in the MA in Applied Theatre Program and is also an Apprentice in the CUNY Creative Arts Team. She enjoys theatre, music, literature, and silliness. This is her first time in the United States. While she finds New York City full of delightful surprises, she has to admit Netflix has made quite an impression on her.

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.

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.

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.