I just had an amazing meeting at First Stage Theatre Academy (oops- that's what they were called in the 90s, now it's "First Stage Children's Theater", and I still never remember that... just like I keep forgetting that my boss' name has changed since she got married like 5 years ago. I've known her since I was probably 8 years old.) Anyway, they've hired me to do some in-school education workshops surrounding their play Romeo and Juliet, which they're doing with a cast mixed with veteran actors and students of the academy. (The idea is that young people will play the young people, and old people will play the old people - which is how it should be done, in my not so humble opinion.)
I am PSYCHED. Why?
I'm teaching with very good friends of mine who are just as passionate about theatre education as I am.
I get to sample a variety of schools in the area, from urban to suburban to rural. Much like my past experiences moving through schools teaching Forensics, this will likely be a little easier - a little more well-defined, and shorter class periods.
The curriculum is SO WELL OUTLINED - and designed by probably my current biggest real-life inspiration, Marcella. She teaches, she develops education programs, and she's on stage some times - that's the direction I want my life to go. I should find her footsteps and step right into them. I'll probably be mentioning her a lot in this blog over the summer. She is the Obi-wan to my Anakin, the Superman to my Batman, the Batman to my Nightwing... I'm so glad she's just as big a dork as me, too.
Romeo and Juliet is a play I know inside and out, and it's easily accessible for younger people.
Teaching Shakespeare to middle school - high school students is the best thing ever. I wish I had the opportunity to build a 2 - 4 week curriculum and teach Shakespeare at the academy, but this in-school education thing is a new horizon for me that I've wanted to explore for a long while now. And anyway, I WILL still be teaching at the academy for four weeks....
For four weeks this summer, aforementioned Marcella and I will be leading First Stage's classical company class' production of Love's Labor's Lost. I had a meeting with her on Monday in her sun-drenched living room (in the coolest apartment ever) and talked about my role in the classroom, exercises I know, and the play itself. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know Love's Labors as well as I should, (I've seen it about three times but haven't studied the text myself,) but I have time to brush up before we start. Same as I did last year, when Marcella decided to amalgamate all 3 Henry VI plays into one show she called "Margaret." Marcella handled the history, I got to play with swords. (Remember the Superman / Batman reference? We kind of function exactly like that.) So. Excited. For the summer.
But before that happens, I hope I'll be at...
I had a phone interview with a woman who works at Lake Valley Camp. I didn't even know this place existed, but I'm in love with the mission statement: "Lake Valley Camp provides a safety net for youth living in Milwaukee’s most underserved communities when they are not in school." This is something I am highly interested in. I feel like, with The Rep's in-school education programming I've been knee-deep in for the past few months, I want to learn more and take more time with building a curriculum for communities that I haven't had enough experience in. I need to learn more about my Milwaukee community, and I need to surround myself with experienced educators who have worked with projects specifically targeted to the underserved communities here. This city is the first or second most segregated city in the U.S. depending on which list you're looking at. It's a major issue that highly effects our education systems, and I want to dive in and absorb as much as I can with open eyes and an open heart. My final interview is next week.
If I'm hired there, I'll use what I learn while I build the program at...
I finally had a meeting with our new managing director! (The education department falls under the management half of a theatre company, not the artistic... isn't that funny?) We hit it off (thank goodness - she's awesome!) and my to-do list includes outlining a season of workshops for the company. The workshop we're currently offering is spectacular, but my next issue to tackle is this big question: how do we pay our teaching artists the value that they are worth, while not charging our artist-students too much to take the workshop? I think the answers might lie in some grant proposals. So. Guess I should start learning how to write grant proposals!
Currently Pink Banana has an unwritten "we don't work with kids" rule. That will change if I get to say anything about it. Not only because I love most everyone from 8-18, but because motivated high school students are a theatre company's most powerful volunteer resource.
[X] Edit the workshop proposal form for Pink Banana
[ ] Create and send a Pink Banana workshop season outline
[ ] Start contacting possible workshop leaders and advertise the new workshop proposal, which will soon be found on the website
[ ] Chat with managing director about pricing
[X] Add the First Stage R+J workshop calendar to my pocket calendar
(yes, I actually keep a paper calendar in my pocket.)
[ ] Clear my summer obligations with my desk job as a receptionist
[ ] Read Love's Labor's Lost
[ ] Rent the movie again - I love me some Adrian Lester
[ ] Ponder what Lake Valley might ask me, somewhat prepare responses so I don't stumble over my own tongue
[ ] Do laundry this weekend - wash my one pair of nice pants :P
[ ] Wrapping up in-school education, create lesson plans for last 3 classes
[ ] Shop for materials for "Parent Night" (blog abut this later)
[ ] See The History of Invulnerability tonight (a play that involves some Comic Book history! SO EXCITED.)
[ ] Prepare audition (blog about this later)
... y'know, when I look at all of this all at once, it should probably be more overwhelming than it feels... but it's not. I'm just so excited for all of these projects, and so (SO) glad that Forensics season is over. I guess I'm the kind of person that needs a total job description overhaul every 6 months or so to keep me interested and passionate about my work. I can't imagine a regular 9-5. I am constantly learning, constantly working with friends, and I am quite often in a room filled with really creative young people - what could be better than this?