Learning Workshop

 

 

Learning Workshop is NYTW’s multidisciplinary theatre education program that supports middle and high school students’ creative development as artists and audience members by critically engaging them in the artistic process surrounding our productions.


Mask work at Khalil Gibran International Academy’s
after-school residency.

With continual input from New York City public school educators, theatre artists, community advocates, and NYTW staff members, Learning Workshop strives to achieve key goals:

Promote students’ critical thinking through the medium of theatre
By introducing students to provocative and challenging theatre and fostering their understanding and discussion of performances, NYTW aims to enrich young people’s visual, textual, and critical literacies.

Increase cultural participation among young people
B
y engaging students in the collaborative process of theatre-making and offering them the opportunity to connect theatre to their own coursework and lives, NYTW hopes to increase youth attendance at, involvement in, and advocacy for the performing arts.

Build a greater sense of community
By including students in meaningful conversations with our artists and the activities that make up the fabric of the organization, NYTW hopes to grow meaningful relationships with the students at our partner schools and encourage them to think of NYTW as a resource and creative space to return to in the future.

NYTW’s leading partner in the Learning Workshop program is Lower Manhattan Arts Academy (LoMA). Founded in the fall of 2005, LoMA is a small public high school on the Lower East Side with a focus on academic excellence through the arts. NYTW has been a leading arts partner with LoMA since its founding. By establishing our relationship with LoMA in its infancy, NYTW has been able to shape its diverse arts curricula and our staff and teaching artists have the freedom to be innovative and responsive when it comes to programming. In the spring of 2009, NYTW staff had the opportunity to see the students who inaugurated both the school and Learning Workshop graduate.


Lower Manhattan Arts Academy’s first graduating
senior class celebrates at NYTW

Based on the success of the partnership with LoMA, NYTW has formed additional partnerships with other New York City public schools including the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology and the Khalil Gibran International Academy.

We are proud that all aspects of the Learning Workshop program, including tickets to NYTW matinee performances, classroom residencies, and mentoring workshops, are provided at minimal or no cost to our partners.

Classroom Residencies
The primary component of NYTW’s Learning Workshop is our In-School Residencies. Planned and facilitated by NYTW Education Staff and teaching artists, students participate in a series of workshops before and after seeing an NYTW student matinee in order to deepen their understanding of the themes of the play and the artistic process behind its creation. These residencies, which complement history, literature or various other classes, generally include discussions, movement exercises, small group projects and writing assignments. They are designed to allow students the opportunity to connect the themes of the performance to their own coursework and respond to any difficult or complex issues a play may present.

In addition to the residencies based around our productions, NYTW brings our affiliated artists into classrooms to engage with students in the process of creation. Artists from NYTW Company-in-Residence Elevator Repair Service have led several residencies in LoMA classrooms, allowing students a window into their unique process of developing a theatre piece. Other residencies have included: playwright Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas leading a four-week playwriting course for LoMA’s 10th grade Spanish-language students, visits from Tectonic Theater Project teaching artists, and a special partnership with Youth Arts NY and Hibakusha Stories to lead a playwriting residency based on the stories of Japanese atomic bomb survivors who spoke directly with students about their experiences.

At Khalil Gibran International Academy, NYTW has been the primary arts partner for the school’s after-school initiative, leading two weekly, year-long residencies during the extended school day. Students in grades 6-8 had the opportunity to participate in a Drama and Movement class led by teaching artist Hillary Spector, as well as a playwriting class led by NYTW Playwriting Fellow Ismail Khalidi.

Student Matinees
Besides working with theatre artists in the classroom, students that are part of our Learning Workshop have the opportunity to see NYTW's world-class professional productions during a special student matinee performance. These matinees are performed solely for our Learning Workshop partner schools or other interested community groups for a minimal ticket fee. The group student ticket rate for all NYTW performances including student matinees is $25. Tickets for students from our partner schools are partially subsidized by NYTW.

All students who attend these student matinees have the opportunity to participate in a post-performance discussion with the cast and creative team. The combined experience of coming to NYTW as an audience member and then discussing various aspects of the play with the creators of the piece challenges students to think broadly about each production, and allows students to explore within an artistic context some of the most powerful and enduring questions of human nature.

Mentoring Workshops 
NYTW provides a third component to Learning Workshop originally devised specifically for LoMA’s 11th grade Drama majors. This Mentoring Workshop Series allows students
to visit NYTW with their Drama teacher on a monthly basis to learn more about the behind-the-scenes process of theatre-making and the different kinds of work available to theatre artists. Selected NYTW staff members give informal presentations about their work and lead students in basic activities that introduce them to aspects of theatre that they have not yet encountered in their studies. The students that have participated in these workshops have been enthusiastic about having the opportunity to learn about the many administrative and technical facets of mounting a professional production and running an Off Broadway theatre.

LoMA students present their work after meeting with NYTW Marketing staff in a Mentoring Workshop