Amy E. Witting has been a part of Roundabout’s Teaching Artist Roster for the past two years. In her time at Roundabout, Amy has facilitated workshops at our Partner Schools and Teaching Artist Trainings. This Fall, Amy will work with eighth grade students at IS237Q in Queens.
Education Coordinator Sarah Kutnowsky spoke with Amy about her career and work with Roundabout.
Sarah Kutnowsky: Tell me a bit about yourself and your artistry.
Amy E. Witting: I was always writing but afraid to share my work because I have never been able to spell. I began to bring in monologues I wrote to an acting class I was taking about ten years ago lying about where I got the material. When I finally came clean the teacher encouraged me to write and self-produce. My friends from that class and I formed a theatre company and kept putting up plays. My intention was to act in them but I found that too hard at the time so produced and directed instead. It wasn't until 2014 when I decided I could actually make a go at this and enrolled in Hunter College's MFA program under the amazing Tina Howe. These last three years have been a really wonderful wild ride. It is my hope as a writer to explore the pain we all carry inside and learn how to transform that to love.
SK: What is your favorite part about working as a teaching artist?
AW: My favorite part is how much I learn from the students I'm working with and how powerful the language of theatre is. This summer I was working in Ecuador with different schools teaching and creating plays. While we had translators to help with the language barrier, I was nervous about how I would be able to truly connect with the students. What I learned this past summer is that you have to move out of your head and into your heart. We can all speak the same language through art if we are connecting on a deeper level, and meeting each other where we are at. Theatre has a powerful way of creating connections and opening up a dialogue in profound ways if you remain open to receiving it. Teaching allows me to remain open to learning.
SK: What is the most challenging part about working as a teaching artist?
AW: Having to quickly asses a new classrooms dynamic in a short amount of time can be a real challenge that also thrills me at the same time.
SK: Could you share a memorable lesson or moment from your time as a teaching artist at Roundabout?
AW: I love being a Theatre Guide during student matinees because it really reminds me about the truly alive quality of a theatrical performance. There is always something magical that happens in the space that is a true exchange between the audience and performers that is rare to witness and wonderful to be a part of.
SK: Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
AW: I just finished my first screenplay which is thrilling and terrifying at the same time. This fall my new play I Wasn't Expecting You will be having a reading at The Abingdon Theatre and my play The House On The Hill will be having its first professional production in July which I'm excited about. I'm looking forward to jumping into another year with Roundabout!
Education @ Roundabout, Teaching Artist Tuesday