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Theatre Residencies for Schools

Theatre residencies with The Artful Conspirators

The Artful Conspirators, a Brooklyn-based theatre company, is currently scheduling theatre residencies for the 2011-12 school year.  Led by professional teaching artists from The Artful Conspirators, the residencies are especially geared for primary school and middle school classrooms.  Residencies focus on creating original plays inspired by Brooklyn history.

In each residency, students and teachers will collaborate with a professional teaching artist to create an original one-act play inspired by and set in Dutch Breuckelen during the early 1600s or an original one-act play inspired by Green-Wood Cemetery.

A standard residency* will consist of the following:

  • An initial planning meeting between the teaching artist and participating teacher,
  • Seven (7) in-classroom sessions which teach skills of creative collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving as well as playwriting and acting skills such as dramatic conflict and characterization,
  • A culminating performance of the classroom’s original play, performed as a staged reading by professional actors from The Artful Conspirators with a “talk back” session afterwards during which the actors have a chance to ask the playwrights about their play.
*Residencies can be tailored to the needs and interests of participating teachers.

The Artful Conspirators are particularly interested in Brooklyn history and explore this subject through their plays.  This year Artistic Director David A. Miller is helming the creation of a new play, Journeyman of Breuckelen, which focuses on the Dutch settlers of Brooklyn in the early 1600s.  The Artful Conspirators’ other Brooklyn plays include Whitman’s Brooklyn, about Walt Whitman’s life and work, and Brooklyn Underground: Theatrical stories from the Green-Wood Cemetery which will be performed in the historic chapel of the cemetery September 23 through October 2, 2011.
Curriculum Connections

Residencies aim to connect to other core areas of the curriculum.  The following are examples of core curriculum connections to the Dutch Brooklyn residencies:

From New York City K-8 Social Studies Scope & Sequence (NYC Dept. of Education):

Grade 2: UNIT 2:NEW YORK CITY OVER TIME, October–December

Essential Question: How and why didNew York Citychange over time?

  • New York Cityhas changed over time and will continue to change in the future
  • Famous explorers arrived in present dayNew York City(Henry Hudson)
  • The Dutch and English influenced earlyNew Amsterdam,New YorkCity

Grade 4: UNIT 2: THREE WORLDS MEET, Mid-October–November

Essential Question: How did three diverse cultures interact and affect each other?

  • Reasons for European exploration of the western hemisphere
  • Three worlds interact: European, African and Native Americans
  • FOCUS: Case study of early New Amsterdam/New York: – Dutch, English and French influences inNew York State

About Journeyman of Breuckelen

Journeyman of Breuckelen is a new play by David A. Miller currently in development through research and through interviews and the participation of the Brooklyn community.  Set in Dutch colonial Breuckelen, the story centers on one outsider, a storyteller, who tells the colonists their story.

The development of the play will be drawn not only on historical research, but on the conversations with Brooklyn residents about the identity of their neighborhoods.  A major thematic question of the creation process is: How is the intersection of Dutch colonization and the native Lenapes similar to or dissimilar to the changes to today’sBrooklynthrough immigration, gentrification and big business building?

About The Artful Conspirators

The Artful Conspirators, a Brooklyn-based theatre collective, create new works involving the audience as a participant in the theatre making process.   Since 2006 the Conspirators have created eight new works and performed in six venues with more than 50 artists.  The participation of the audience ranged from offering feedback to readings of scripts-in-progress (The Second Pipe of Desire) to the creation of new works from scratch (Theatre Workshop for ages 9-12) to contributing stories and other text used in the play itself (Brooklyn Underground: Theatrical stories from the Green-Wood Cemetery) to literally voting on their favorite theatrical ideas (30 ideas, 3 of them good).

About the Education Staff of The Artful Conspirators

David A. Miller (Artistic Director/Lead Teaching Artist) is a professional director, playwright and theatre educator.  As a teaching artist, David has taught students and teachers of all ages at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Arts Horizon, The New Acting Company, McCarter Theater, George Street Playhouse, NJPAC, Brooklyn Arts Exchange and others.   As an administrator was the Director of Education at Roundabout Theatre Company, Artistic Director of the CityKids Repertory Company (located in Tribeca), and was Director of Educational Outreach at Seattle Children’s Theatre.  As a director of theatre for young audiences, David most recently directed Stinky Flowers and the Bad Banana by Croft Vaughn.  Other directing for young audiences and with young performers includes The Jungle Book adapted by Monica Flory for The New Acting Company (NYC), The Crucible and Nightmare Before the First Day of School at Portledge School, Into the Woods, Jr. at Horace Mann School and The Silver Chair (Narnia Series) and Comedy Camp for Seattle Children’s Theatre Summerstage.  MFA Directing,MasonGrossSchool of Arts,RutgersUniversity.

Aliza Greenberg (Curriculum Associate/Teaching Artist) Aliza Greenberg is currently the Education Program Associate at Roundabout Theatre Company where she manages Roundabout’s school partnerships. Aliza also co-founded yea: Young Educators in the Arts, aNew York City based network for those interested in arts education. She volunteers as a gallery educator at theMuseum ofJewish Heritage and is a reader for Philadelphia Young Playwrights. Aliza has worked with The Artful Conspirators since 2008. She received her undergraduate degree fromBrynMawrCollege with a major in Psychology and a minor in Education and earned her graduate degree fromHarvardUniversity in Arts in Education. Aliza is also a proud Philadelphian and Phillies fan.

Fletcher McTaggart (Actor/Teaching Artist) Fletcher’s recent credits include Reverend Hale in The Crucible with Barrington Stage Company, Michael Willey in Contact with The Asolo Repetory Theatre, Tony Wendice in Dial M for Murder with the Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake city Utah also Oberon/Theseus in a Midsummer Nights Dream and Buckingam in Richard III with the Tahoe Shakespeare Theatre and Major Pike in Rocket City with Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He also appeared as Warick Wilson in Biography at the Pearl Theatre and Harrison in Homefront at La Mama, King Edward in Rose Rage with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Orlando in As You Like It with the Acting Company, Macbeth in Macbeth, and Petruchio in the Taming of the Shrew with the Utah Shakespearean Festival. TV credits include Law and order, Six Degrees, Sex in the City, As the World Turns and Guiding Light. Fletcher has a BFA fromIthacaCollege and a MFA fromGeorgeWashingtonUniversity.

Monica Flory (Playwright/Educator) is one of the writers of LEAVING IKEA and was a writer/performer for 30 IDEAS, 3 OF THEM GOOD.  Recent productions elsewhere include AFTERLIGHT (Threads Theater Company at the NYC Fringe), LAST SUMMER (Poly Prep CDS), ONCE UPON A PANDORA’S BOX (The New Acting Company), THIRD WHEEL (Emerging Artists Theatre), and JUNGLE BOOK (Youth Theatre Northwest).  Her plays are published by Playscripts, Brooklyn Publishers and Smith & Kraus.  She is a member of the Dramatists Guild.  Monica has been teaching theater and directing ages 3 and up for 15 years at places like Youth Theatre Northwest inSeattle, The New Acting Company inManhattan, and Poly Prep inBrooklyn,NY.  She currently teaches atTalkingStickLearningCenter inPhiladelphia.  She earned a B.A. in Acting and Directing atOberlinCollege and a M.A. in Theater Education at NYU.

Fees and Contracts

The cost of each residency is adjusted according to the financial need of the school involved.  The total cost of each residency is, in part, underwritten by donations raised by The Artful Conspirators and from support from the Brooklyn Arts Council.

To find out more about school residencies, please contact David A. Miller, Artistic Director.

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