Professional Pathways in Applied Performance
Syracuse University Intensive Theater Course in New York City
The Fisher Center, 136 Madison Avenue at E. 31st
This course introduces career options using performance in contexts and venues including education, the justice system, healthcare, the political arena, community development, museums, and social service agencies. Students encounter multiple performance methods–story-based, devised, adaptations, solo, site specific, dance, and musical–and glean how such work is used with participants of all ages, ethnicities, and circumstances. Mornings feature hands-on exercises, readings, and discussions; afternoons are for field trips to field practitioners. The course–3-credit for undergrads, 1 credit for graduate students– is open to students from Syracuse University and other institutions.
Street, May 28-June 5, 2014
Guest Presenters and Site Visits
Maria Bauman, Associate Artistic Director of Urban Bush Women, which seeks to bring the untold & under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance.
Lear deBissonet is Director of, Public Works, a major new initiative of the Public Theater that seeks to engage the people of New York by making them creators and not just spectators.
Tamara Greenfield is Executive Director of Fourth Arts Block, a neighborhood-wide coalition of 26 arts & community organizations in the East Village & the Lower East Side.
Terry Greis is Executive Director of Irondale Theatre Project, an ensemble that creates plays and makes theatre as a creative team.
Rosalba Rolon is Artistic Director of Pregones Theater, an ensemble that creates and performs original musical theater and plays rooted in Puerto Rican/Latino cultures.
Jennie Smith-Peers is Executive Director of Elders Share the Arts, a community arts organization dedicated to transforming the memories of older adults into art.
Helen White is Director of Creative Arts Team, a nonprofit organization at The City University of New York that uses the power of drama to inspire youth to learn.
Jan Cohen-Cruz (PhD, NYU), editor of Public: A Journal of Imagining America, was director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, 2007- 2012. Previously, Jan taught at NYU, directing a minor in Applied Theater and initiating socially engaged projects and courses. She wrote Engaging Performance: Theatre as Call and Response and Local Acts: CommunityBased Performance in the US, edited Radical Street Performance, and, with Mady Schutzman, coedited Playing Boal: Theatre, Therapy, Activism and A Boal Companion. Jan is a University Professor at Syracuse University. She received the 2012 Association for Theatre in Higher Education Award for Leadership in Community-Based Theatre & Civic Engagement.
Three credits of study. Syracuse fulltime undergraduate students: $1037 per credit (total of $3,111); graduate students: $1,294 total one credit); and students from other schools: $703 per credit (total $2109).
For more information & to apply, contact Jan Cohen-Cruz firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional Pathways in Applied Performance
DRA 300, 3 credits, Class# 73685, undergrads; DRA 500, grad students, 1 cr, Class# 73686 Wed May 28th -Thurs June 5th, 2014 Professor Jan Cohen-Cruz
Introduction to a myriad of ways to make a professional life integrating performance with other fields. Students experience multiple genres of applied performance – story-based, devised, adapted, solo, site specific, dance, musical, etc. — to address a variety of issues in a range of contexts including schools, senior centers, prisons, social service facilities, etc. Course includes hands-on exercises, readings/ discussions, and field trips to meet practitioners and see workshops and performances. Offered by Syracuse University at the Fisher Center in New York City; open to students from other schools as well. Class meets mornings in the studio, afternoons at various applied performance sites. Undergrad and grad students with additional meetings for the latter.
DAY 1 Wednesday 5.28
9:30 am-12:30 Introduction to course, each other, field, and use of story. Definitions, overview of field, & underlying values principles. Hands-on story circle on a seminal experience in the field. Building theater collectively from story. Read: Roadside Theater on story circle.
*1:30-4: Urban Bush Women: Maria Bauman (dance): exercises, DVDs, discussion.
DAY 2 Thurs 5.29
9:30am-12:30 Problem-solving Workshops Debrief yesterday’s visit. Discuss equal or greater role of process vis-a-vis product in applied theater. Read excerpt by Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed. Do Boal Image Theater. Introduction to Pregones Theater.
2-4:30pm Music-Theater Performance: Visit Pregones Theater: tour of neighborhood and theater “plant,” and talk with artistic director Rosalba Rolon.
DAY 3 Fri 5.30
9:30am-12:30 Geographical community: Importance of place: read/ discuss “Creative Place Making,” Anne Gadwa Nicodemus. Discuss the lessening divide between regional and community-based theater.
2-4:30: Lear deBissonet on Public Works: exercises, DVDs, and discussion. Why does the Public have Public Works?
DAY 4 Sat 5.31
9:30am-12:30: Interview-Based Read Anna Deveare Smith, “Not So Special Vehicles,” Sonja Kuftinec on Cornerstone’s adaptations and devised work. Do interview exercise. Is ADS an applied theater artist? Is interviewing an applied theater technique?
2-3:30pm Cultural Performance — Visit a parade, street fair, museum-based, or other public context for applied theater as community building.
Assignment: Write a proposal for an applied theater project. Identify the theme, who/ how/ why you would engage particular participants; the form; and the location. How would participants benefit? How would you fund it?
NO CLASS SUNDAY June 1
DAY 5 Mon 6.2
9:30am-12:30 Institutionalized Participants
Share proposals. Discuss working with incarcerated people: show Rhodessa Jones work on dvd. Developmentally disabled- SU alum, CoLab: exercises, discussion.
2-4:30 Neighborhood base. Visit Fourth Art Block and discuss interchange between artists and neighborhoods.
DAY 6 Tues 6.3
9:30am-12:30 Elders Debrief Monday visit. Read from Barbara Myerhoff, Number Our Days; Liz Lerman’s Hiking the Horizontal. Example of Anne Basting’s Finding Penelope.
2:00-3:30 Elders Share the Arts: director Jenny Smith-Peer; dvd clips, exercise, discussion.
3:45-5:15 Irondale Ensemble: converse with artistic director Terry Greis.
DAY 7 Wed 6.4
9:30am- 12:30pm Debrief yesterday’s visit. Discuss different approaches to cross sector initiatives with theater component.
* 2-4:30 Youth: Creative Arts Team
Visit Helen White at CAT/CUNY: do exercise, see clip of work, Discuss differences between in and out of school youth theater work.
DAY 8 Thurs 6.5
9:30am-12:30 Debrief yesterday’s visits. Identify range of professional pathways over entire course. Evaluate the class experience together using Stephani Woodson’s template.
Course instructor Jan Cohen-Cruz (PhD, NYU), editor of Public: A Journal of Imagining America, directed
Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life from 2007 to 2012. Jan was a professor at NYU for 28 years, directing a minor in applied theater and initiating socially engaged projects and courses. She wrote Engaging Performance: Theatre as Call and Response and Local Acts: CommunityBased Performance in the US, edited Radical Street Performance, and coedited Playing Boal: Theatre, Therapy, Activism and A Boal Companion. Jan is a University Professor at Syracuse University. She received the 2012 Association for Theatre in Higher Education Award for Leadership in Community-Based Theatre & Civic Engagement.