One of my favorite things is visiting colleges, universities, high schools, and camps to share workshops. While I am skilled in teaching acting and directing workshops, I typically am invited to teach workshops in Shakespeare and theater history.
“Cutting Plays for Performance” started as a workshop collaboration with Toby Malone. Then it became a book! Now it’s a better workshop, thanks to everything we learned from writing the book. Using practical exercises, I’ve created a framework for guiding the cutting process to adapt public domain plays for a specific context.
“Take 5: Creating Spaces of Radical Welcome” is a workshop designed to give educators and directors tools for protecting actors’ mental health and creating a safe work environment. Too often, we create situations where we are asking other people to harm themselves for the sake of our art. Many artistic leaders know that this needs to change, but few know where to start. I have spent the past five years researching and talking with counselors, directors, actors, stage managers, and intimacy directors to develop a set of tools for preventing adverse mental health events, supportively working with artists who have chronic mental health challenges, and processing adverse mental health events in a productive way.
“Theater History as a Living Art” helps students develop an understanding of theater history as a source of inspiration for their art. I focus on the evidentiary problems of theater history–how do we know what we think we know? How can we test what we think we know by putting it on its feet? I stage a lot of theater history experiments to help students develop an understanding of how the theaters of the past might have felt. My goal is to expand their idea of what theater can be.
Another workshop I thoroughly enjoy is called “Let Shakespeare Help You.” The purpose of this workshop is to help students who are preparing to perform Shakespeare by demonstrating the ways Shakespeare designed his text to facilitate performance after a short rehearsal period. We look at everything from helpful cuing to rhyme to vowel/consonant ratios.
From my years working in the research lab at Rosetta Stone, I have a lot of interest in pedagogy for adults. One workshop I have enjoyed sharing with faculty is “Get That Sage Off the Stage,” about applying research by people who study how adults learn to a content-heavy class like theater history. I wrote an article version of this workshop for Howl Round.