ROUNDABOUT BLOG

Teaching Artist Tuesday

Interview with Teaching Artist Elizabeth Dunn-Ruiz

Posted on: February 22nd, 2016 by Abby Case

 

Elizabeth collaborating with other Roundabout Teaching Artists during the Teaching Artist Winter Lab

Elizabeth collaborating with other Roundabout Teaching Artists during the Teaching Artist Winter Lab

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.


Related Categories:
Education @ Roundabout, Student Production Workshop, Teaching Artist Tuesday


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Interview with Teaching Artist Ashley Newman

Posted on: February 9th, 2016 by Abby Case

 

Ashley Newman

Ashley Newman

Ashley Newman began her work as a Teaching Artist with Roundabout this season. She attended Roundabout’s Theatrical Teaching Institute in August, where she was introduced the Theatrical Teaching Framework. The Theatrical Teaching Framework utilizes basic theatrical elements (theme, plot, spectacle and character) and establishes parallels to educational components such as academic content, lesson plan, structure, classroom setting and teaching demeanor. This fall, Ashley worked in a classroom residency at Bronx Theatre High School.

 

Abby Case: Tell me a bit about yourself and your artistry. How did you come to be a teaching artist?

Ashley Newman: I have a background in dancing, choreography, and education. I did not know about Teaching Artistry until I was in graduate school at Bank Street College of Education. I was in the process of becoming a Middle School Social Studies teacher when I went to a workshop with a Teaching Artist. Her workshop was amazing, and that was the moment I knew I had to become a TA! I thought to myself, "I know how to do this!" It was very natural to me to lead a group of people through an arts workshop in a school setting. I finished my Master’s degree and then started pursuing teaching artist work.

 

AC: What is your favorite part about working as a teaching artist?

AN: I love blending my arts background and time spent as a performer with my education background. Instead of teaching students Social Studies, I can teach them about a subject I am an expert in, and I love that!

TeachingArtist_Ashley

AC: What is the most challenging part about working as a teaching artist?

AN: There are so many different factors that can influence your work as a TA at any given moment - last minute changes to the space you have, the schedule or time you have been given, the students that come (or don't come) to your class, or current emotions of the students, what the classroom teacher is dealing with at the moment....the list is long! We as Teaching Artists have to be very flexible and have a Plan A, B, and C and be able to shift gears with a moment’s notice!

 

AC: Could you share a memorable lesson or moment from your time as a teaching artist at Roundabout?

AN: As a part of my training with Roundabout, I shadowed Jason Jacobs’ residency at Bronx Theatre High School this fall. I worked with one student on writing a play. I keep challenging her to raise the stakes for her characters, and we kept reading the play out loud to see where we could revise. She was appreciative of my help and we had a good time working together. We had a connection, and I think we will both remember it as something special!


Related Categories:
Education @ Roundabout, Teaching Artist Tuesday


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Interview with Teaching Artist Devin Haqq

Posted on: January 26th, 2016 by Abby Case

 

Devin leading a workshop at James Madison High School

Devin leading a workshop at James Madison High School

Devin Haqq has been a Teaching Artist with Roundabout for the past eight years. He teaches in classrooms across New York City and serves as Partnership Coordinator for Fordham High School for the Arts in the Bronx. As Partnership Coordinator, Devin works with school leadership and educators to ensure that the school’s partnership with Roundabout best serves their goals. Devin also works on professional development with teachers and teaching artists throughout New York. As a member of the Teaching Artist Advisory Group, Devin collaborates with other teaching artists to better Roundabout’s TA training.

Education Coordinator Abby Case spoke with Devin about his career and work at Roundabout.

Abby Case: Tell me a bit about yourself and your artistry.

Devin Haqq: I've lived and worked in New York City as a professional actor for almost 15 years. I'm a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild, and the American Federation for Radio and Television Artists. Over the past 10 years I've ventured into the realm of independent filmmaking and amassed a body of work, numbering four feature film productions. In the past two years I've also become a published writer with essays appearing in Filmmaker Magazine and the Huffington Post.

 

AC: How did you begin to work as a teaching artist?

DH: I received my training as a teaching artist here at Roundabout through its Theatrical Teaching Institute (TTI). TTI is a six-day intensive introduction to the Theatrical Teaching Framework, which utilizes basic theatrical elements (theme, plot, spectacle and character) and establishes parallels to educational components such as academic content, lesson plan, structure, classroom setting and teaching demeanor. My first classroom experience was frightening because I was inexperienced and unsure of myself as an educator, but over time I became more confident and grew to love being in the classroom.

 

AC: What is your favorite part about working as a teaching artist?

DH: My favorite part about working as a teaching artist is introducing the craft of theatre to students who have no experience whatsoever in the world of the theatre. I enjoy watching the discoveries that young students make as they take risks and challenge themselves to move away from their comfort zones. I love to see young people grow as artists, or better yet, discover their potential as artists in society. Nothing is more rewarding than to see a young person who expressed extreme doubt about being able to perform in front of a crowd conquer that fear by the end of the rehearsal process and shine, surprising themselves, their teachers, and their families.

 

AC: What is the most challenging part about working as a teaching artist?

DH: Some schools have cultures of low expectations and disorder. Sometimes, this leads to low attendance and poor classroom management. It can be very difficult to engage students to effectively complete a project, especially when group work is required, when most of the class does not attend school on a regular basis.

 

AC: Could you share a memorable lesson or moment from your time as a teaching artist at Roundabout?

DH: I still think about the Postcard Production Workshop of Thérèse Raquin that I directed at Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts. A Postcard Production Workshop allows students to experience the process of creating a theatrical production by having them fulfill the roles of set, costume, light and sound designers, stage managers, director, actors and marketing staff.  The workshop culminated with students presenting their own interpretation of an excerpt from Thérèse Raquin.

By far this was the best Postcard Production Workshop I have ever experienced as a teaching artist. I gave the students a real challenge: to create an immersive theatre experience with the scene we were given. Not only did the students meet the challenge, but they excelled in ways I could not have imagined. It was so rewarding to see their reactions from the audience as they journeyed through the interactive experience these students had created.


Related Categories:
Education @ Roundabout, Teaching Artist Tuesday


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