The 2015-2016 Student Production Workshop (SPW) School Year Program is well underway. This year, 38 high school students from 15 New York City public schools were selected to participate in Roundabout’s afterschool student theatre company. Students select a focus for the year: tech and design, playwriting, and performance. Each week students meet within their focus group to participate in a workshop, and the entire ensemble meets monthly to participate in a pre-show workshop and attend a Roundabout show.
The ensemble recently explored Ugly Lies the Bone. The pre-show workshop, led by Roundabout Teaching Artist Heidi Stallings, introduced students to the themes of homecoming and appearances in Ugly Lies the Bone. Students were challenged to work in small groups to develop a virtual reality game similar to the one the character Jess uses in the play. The groups chose to address different issues with their virtual realities ranging from teenage depression to physical pain from cancer treatment. Students then materialized their virtual reality game designs through performance, encouraged to focus on imagery, sound, and player action.
Then, the SPW ensemble was joined by actors Karron Graves, Caitlin O’Connell, and Chris Stack as well as stage manager, Sarah Ford. The members of the cast and crew shared their education and career paths, and students had the opportunity to ask questions. The students were curious to know what were the most difficult part of the actors and stage manager’s careers, if they ever felt like giving up after not getting a role, and how they prepared themselves for their careers.
After a pizza dinner, the SPW ensemble attended Ugly Lies the Bone in the Black Box Theatre at the Steinberg Center. Following the show, they experience the virtual reality program made by the company that inspired the virtual reality experience featured in the play.
Education @ Roundabout, Student Production Workshop