First Presenter's Institution

NYCDOE

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Session 4 (Plimsoll)

Strand #1

Family & Community

Relevance

By increasing community involvement, an intergenerational drama project provides

young people a deeper connection to their community and strengthens their support network. In this project, students will interact with and interview elders in their community. Through these interviews, the students will have material to create a play. To bring the project full circle, the students will then perform their play for the elders who inspired it. As many of our youth that are deemed “at-risk” have a variety of diverse learning needs, the drama program will allow for multiple entry points for each student. In previous projects I have facilitated in urban settings, the students who struggle with a typical classroom setting find a constructive way to express emotions and ideas as well as becoming makers of their own meaning. This project will develop and enhance community support for students. This connects the program directly to the 5H Conference Strand of “Home.”

Brief Program Description

Participants in this workshop will engage in ensemble building drama activities. These activities will lead to the creation of multiple pieces of drama. The participants will also develop a list of interview questions they can use if they choose to implement the project at their schools or organizations. Many of the activities are from Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed,” a genre of theatre born out of the necessities of people who experience oppression. It provides them tools to explore the oppression and ways to face it in the real world.

Target audience: Teachers at all levels; Principals and Assistant Principals; Community Leaders; Volunteer Service Providers; School Counselors and Psychologists; Health and Human Service Counselors and Personnel; Criminal Justice Professionals and Social Workers.

Summary

  • Opening activities

    • Provide brief overview of drama project.

    • Fill the Space: The group walks around the room becoming aware of their relationship to space in the room. Introduce tableaux, a form of theatre that involves creating still images that tell a story.

    • Stop, Go, Jump, Clap: A fast paced movement exercise.

    • Hand Hypnosis: A paired game where each partner takes turns leading the other around the room.

    • Mirror Series: New partners mirror each other taking turns on leading and then leaderless.

  • Creating a piece of theatre

    • Groups of 7-8 discuss the best thing that has happened to them all week.

    • After each member has spoken, the group creates a tableau using one or more of the stories to share with the rest of the group.

    • Share out.

    • Same groups discuss the worst thing that has happened to them all week.

    • After each member has spoken, groups create a 10-15 line scene to share with the rest of the group.

    • Share out.

  • Discussion on interviewing

    • Provide example questions.

    • Small group discussions about questions.

    • Small group brainstorms potential questions for interviews.

  • Creating a scene from text

    • A folk tale is read to the participants by the facilitator.

    • Another reading is given by one or two participants.

    • The story is broken into a beginning, middle and end.

    • Three groups then pick which section of the story they wish to work with.

    • A tableau is created to tell as much of the story as possible.

    • Debrief

  • Closing comments focusing on how teachers can integrate this form of theatre into a wide range of curricular needs (Social Studies, Writing, STEM) and a Q&A.

The workshop session will begin with a variety of ensemble building drama exercise focused heavily on the work of Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed.” A safe space will be created through these activities and a community agreement. The objective of the first section of the workshop is to create a tableau and a short scene.

The second phase of the presentation focuses on the interview process. The participants will look for questions that both engage an elder population and provide material for creating drama.

The final phase will involve the participants creating theatre from text. The text will be a folk tale. The participants will hear multiple readings of the text and then create three tableaux telling the story.

Participants will leave with handouts describing instructions for all activities within the workshop. There will also be lesson plans provided in workshop format for participants to take to their respective organization and implement some or all of the activities. A bibliography of useful material will also be provided for all involved in the workshop.

Cohen-Cruz, Jan. Local Acts: Community-Based Performance in the United

States. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005. Ebook.

Goode, Tony. “RE: Greetings from NYC.” Message to the author. 6 February

2014. E-mail.

Nicholson, Helen. Applied Drama: the Gift of Theatre. Basingstroke, England:

Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Print.

---. “Intergenerational Reminiscence Theatre.” Applied Theatre: International

Case Studies and Challenges for Practice. Ed. Monica Prendergast &

Juliana Saxton. Chicago: Intellect Ltd, 2009. 174-178. Ebook.

Evidence

For the theoretical underpinnings of this project we can look to Helen Nicholson who in her book, Applied Drama, the Gift of Theatre, states “a deeper sense of belonging to a community...derives from shared interpretations of experience” (94). Going further, Nicholson claims “through the interviewing of eyewitness participant, oral history...emphasizes the inclusion of the experiences and perspectives of people who might otherwise have been ‘hidden from history’” (194). Jan Cohen-Cruz (Local Acts: Community-Based Performance in the United States) also explains “the gathering of oral histories is frequently a research mode of community-based art” (194) and that “stories promote solidarity” (193).

From a case study in Applied Theatre: International Case Studies and Challenges for Practice edited by Monica Prendergast and Juliana Saxton, Nicholson says:

[R]eadings of oral history frequently challenge dominant accounts of the past by providing interpretations of events which differ from those of the governing classes. The research processes--conducting interviews, plundering local archives and family histories--necessarily involved dialogue between students and different members of the community which had obvious social benefits. By enacting other people’s stories, students gained insight into the lives of others. (177)

Tony Goode, an intergenerational theatre practitioner and former university lecturer, stated in an email exchange that one of the main benefits of using theatre in an intergenerational exchange program “is in what the use of theatre has the power to achieve above and beyond the therapeutic effects of reminiscence itself and the additional benefits of intergenerational contact and discourse in today’s increasingly fragmented world” (original emphasis).

Finally, from my own work I have noticed benefits for the young people and elders. The stakeholders in this project go well beyond these two groups and there are the parents of the students, the staff at the elder care facility, the school staff and so on. From observation and survey results stakeholders have expressed surprise about how interesting their community is (students), the level of involvement by the students (classroom teachers) and the overall comfort received by the elders (elders and elder care staff).

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Bennett Harrell was born and raised in Brunswick, GA. He completed his undergraduate work at University of Southern Mississippi where he received a BFA in theatre. After plying his craft in Orlando and Chicago, Mr. Harrell relocated to New York City in 2005. He worked in theatre as a performer, director and teaching artist. In 2014, Mr. Harrell received his MA in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York. In 2015 he completed the teacher certification program at City College of New York and began working as an educational theatre instructor in New York City. Mr. Harrell has worked with populations in New York, South Carolina, Rwanda and Indonesia using theatre as a way to strengthen community.

Keyword Descriptors

Drama, Inter-generational, Oral History, Community

Presentation Year

2019

Start Date

3-5-2019 8:30 AM

End Date

3-5-2019 9:45 AM

Share

COinS
 
Mar 5th, 8:30 AM Mar 5th, 9:45 AM

An Intergenerational Drama Program Utilizing Community Based Learning

Session 4 (Plimsoll)

Participants in this workshop will engage in ensemble building drama activities. These activities will lead to the creation of multiple pieces of drama. The participants will also develop a list of interview questions they can use if they choose to implement the project at their schools or organizations. Many of the activities are from Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed,” a genre of theatre born out of the necessities of people who experience oppression. It provides them tools to explore the oppression and ways to face it in the real world.

Target audience: Teachers at all levels; Principals and Assistant Principals; Community Leaders; Volunteer Service Providers; School Counselors and Psychologists; Health and Human Service Counselors and Personnel; Criminal Justice Professionals and Social Workers.