Elizabeth Dunn-Ruiz’s relationship with Roundabout began when she was in the classroom at Bronx Theatre High School. She’s since transitioned to become a Master Teaching Artist at Roundabout, where she’s served for the past seven seasons. Elizabeth facilitates workshops for students across the city. She is very involved in Student Production Workshop, where she serves as mentor for the student playwrights. This year, she’s mentored them in developing scenes for the Winter Showcase and led them in a pre-show workshop for Noises Off.
Education Coordinator Abby Case spoke with Elizabeth about her career and work at Roundabout.
Abby Case: Tell me a bit about yourself and your artistry.
Elizabeth Dunn-Ruiz: My whole career can be summed up in two ideas: words and community. I've been working as an educator in and around the Bronx for 17 years. I have worked with middle school, high school, college, and adult learners as a teacher of reading, writing, performing, and theatre-making. In every educational experience, I am devoted to building community and exploring the power of language.
AC: How did you come to be a teaching artist? Could you share your first arts education experience?
EDR: I began my career as a full-time classroom teacher in the South Bronx and after several years there the opportunity arose to partner with Roundabout and co-found Bronx Theatre High School. It was an amazing experience to create a school inspired by Roundabout's philosophy of using theatrical skills to teach the required curriculum. When I returned to school to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at The New School, I joined the Roundabout Teaching Artist Roster.
AC: What is your favorite part about working as a teaching artist?
EDR: I love working with young playwrights and watching them develop their writing skills and belief that their point of view and voice matters. It is a joy to watch a young playwright hear his or her work read aloud for the first time. Any time a young person comes to me and declares that they now know what they want to do with their life feels like a win.
Education @ Roundabout, Student Production Workshop, Teaching Artist Tuesday