A Model for teaching and curriculum development informed by the theatrical process

Awardees: Diane Paulus (FAS), Ryan McKittrick (FAS), Thomas Derrah (FAS), Brendan Shea (FAS), Shira Milikowsky (FAS)

Summary: Awardees plan to host a series of professional workshops and roundtables that connect the dramatic arts with teaching.

The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) hosted three roundtable discussions during academic year 2012 – 2013 on topics related to the American Civil War entitled: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”; “Medicine, Weaponry, War Wounds, and the Soldier’s Body”; and “Documenting the Civil War: Photography, Memoir, Letters and Painting.” The roundtables brought together more than 70 leading artists and scholars across several academic disciplines to share research and creative and academic works. The discussions also informed the artistic work of six participants with works-in-progress commissioned and/or developed by the A.R.T. as part of the National Civil War Project. Two of these theatrical projects – the drama Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) by Suzan-Lori Parks, and the opera Crossing by Matthew Aucoin (Harvard ’12) – received their world premieres by the A.R.T. in its 2014/15 season.

In addition to the Civil War Roundtables, the A.R.T. conducted four 2-hour workshops focused on specific areas of pedagogical skill-building; each workshop was designed as a self-contained experience. The purpose of this series was to expose Harvard faculty to the models of arts-integrated instruction frequently used in Dramatic Arts courses at Harvard. The teaching workshops offered faculty a unique and innovative introduction to the challenges and rewards of experiential learning. Two Harvard faculty members prepared a new curriculum for the 2014-2015 academic year based on reflections of the Roundtable discussions. In addition, Harvard faculty participants in the Civil War Roundtables went on to help design and conduct extensive arts enrichment programming produced by the A.R.T. in connection with its productions of Father Comes Home from the WarsCrossing, and All the Way (2014 Tony Award for Best Play), as well as a nine-part, year-long seminar series, The A.R.T. of Human Rights, in 2014/15.

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