Education at NYTW: Youth Education

Learning Workshop

The primary component of NYTW’s Youth Education is our Learning Workshop, a 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 and within our offices. With continual input from New York City public school educators, theatre artists, community advocates, and NYTW staff members, Learning Workshop strives to achieve the following key goals:

• Enrich young people’s textual, visual, and critical literacies by exposing them to new and re-imagined works of theatre and the collaborative processes behind their creation

• Provide instruction in multiple elements of dramatic craft including writing, performance, and design

• Encourage further study and work in all aspects of theatre-making

• Increase youth attendance at, involvement in, and advocacy for the performing arts

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

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 that provides students with a Regents-based curricular foundation and the opportunity to pursue an academic major in the visual or performing arts. NYTW has been a leading arts partner with LoMA, a New York City Department of Education designated “Empowerment School”, since its founding in 2005. Now in our 4th year with the school, NYTW is thrilled to witness the school reaching full capacity, serving students in all grades 9-12. 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.

Based on the success of the partnership with LoMA, NYTW is pursuing additional partnerships with other New York City secondary schools including the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the Harlem School of the Arts and the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA). A small public secondary school in Brooklyn, KGIA incorporated NYTW’s Learning Workshop into their afterschool program during the 2007/08 Season. Opened in September 2007 with a sixth grade, the school plans to add one grade every year until it offers grades 6-12 and is sponsored by two organizations: the Arab American Family Support Center (AAFSC), a community-based organization in Brooklyn that provides comprehensive social services to Arab American immigrant families and children as they adjust to a new culture and navigate American laws and cultural norms; and, New Visions for Public Schools, the largest education reform organization dedicated to improving the quality of education in New York City's public schools.

Classroom Residencies

Learning Workshop
offers intensive residencies in high school English, Humanities, and Drama courses. NYTW staff and teaching artists collaborate with teachers to plan curricula that introduce new concepts, source materials, and methods while complementing the instruction students receive during their regular classes. Residencies can be structured to enhance a literature, history, or performance curriculum or used as a writing workshop in which students generate original material for eventual production.

Artists from Elevator Repair Service have led several residencies in Lower Manhattan Arts Academy classrooms based around the work they are developing at NYTW. In the 2007/08 season, Creative Resident Fellow Jorge Cortiñas led a four-week playwriting course for LoMA’s 10th grade Spanish-language students. NYTW teaching artists also bring artists involved in our productions to speak and work with LoMA students in the classroom to enrich their experience of seeing the student matinee on the NYTW stage. For example, in 2008, LoMA students saw Michael Weller’s Beast and participated in a series of workshops exploring the subject of the return from war through acting games, demonstrations of make-up and prosthetics by one of the production’s designers, and a question-and-answer session with one of the actors.

Mentor Workshop Series

To enhance Learning Workshop during the 2007/08 Season, NYTW devised a mentoring workshop series for LoMA’s 11th grade Drama majors. This series has continued into the current season, allowing 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.

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 Wednesday matinee performance. These Wednesday matinees are performed solely for our Learning Workshop partner schools or any other interested community group for a minimal ticket fee. The group student ticket rate for all NYTW performances including student matinees is $15, which is lower than the already discounted individual student ticket rate of $20. Tickets for students from LoMA are partially subsidized by NYTW. The combined experience of coming to NYTW as an audience member and then discussing various aspects of the play in the classroom challenges students to think broadly about each production, and proves that students are capable of exploring within an artistic context some of the most powerful and enduring questions of human nature.

Internships for High School and College Students

NYTW annually invites 12-16 college students and/or recent graduates and 2-4 high school students into the offices for internships with our Artistic, Literary, Casting, Production Management, Technical Direction, Development, and Marketing staff. Internships typically last 3-4 months and can result in college or high school credit. Internships are advertised on NYTW’s website and applications are accepted throughout the year, with selected applicants interviewed by staff three times per year.

Intern duties include assisting the Casting Director with general auditions, assisting the Literary and Artistic Departments with weekly developmental readings, and assisting the Marketing and Development Departments with major publicity and fundraising campaigns. Interns meet with their departmental supervisors on a regular basis to receive feedback on previous work and guidance on current projects, and to discuss career interests and options.

The entire cohort of NYTW interns gather every other week to discuss their work, share ideas, and speak with an invited guest from the theatre community over lunch. Interns have met with professionals such as director Leigh Silverman; actor Corey Stoll; playwright Betty Shamieh; and NYTW Board President Heather Randall.

NYTW is committed to providing interns with structured and substantive experiential learning. NYTW interns often have gone on to part- or full-time jobs at NYTW and other notable New York theatrical organizations.

Please click here for full internship program and application information.

NYTW Artistic Associate Ruben Polendo leading a discussion with NYTW interns







Jim Nicola, NYTW's Artistic Director, and Caroline Reddick Lawson, NYTW's Director of Education have a lively talk at one of the intern lunches which happen every other week. An inspiring guest is always invited to come talk with the students.















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