Kindergarten Truck: Group Spontaneity and Urban Catharsis

I recreated a mini version of Kindergarten Truck at the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama conference in Phoenix, AZ March 30-April 2, 2016. In this session, participants co-investigated my interactive performance art installation. We looked at how playing in civic playspaces guided by principles of aesthetic distance could liberate and reveal audiences’ vulnerable selves while cross-examining consumerism, democracy, and the power of applied drama praxis itself.



Tabletop Journey

This workshop was delivered at the meeting of the North American Drama Therapy Association in Boston, MA. Combining Campbell’s Hero’s Journey with Landy’s Role Method and Lowenfeld’s World Technique, this original framework makes the healing process accessible for a wide variety of populations. Seated with small objects, Tabletop Journey affords greater control and containment, yet the stories it reveals can release profound spontaneity and connection among participants.

I was honored to have two large tables full of enthusiastic participants!


Keynote Address in Shanghai, China

I was honored by the journal “Contemporary Educator” to deliver a plenary speech to 1,000 elementary educators at their conference in Shanghai.


New Plays for Young Audiences Roundtable: 20th Anniversary Celebration

I was proud to serve as the Manager of this event at New York University:


Rehabilitation and Transformation: Drama Therapy Strategies and Dialogues

I chaired this panel featuring Lee Chasen, Marianne Chasen, Diane Feldman, and Sarah McMullian at the  New York University Forum on Educational Theatre. My panelists had all implemented drama/theatre approaches in a range of educational settings–making connections across the curriculum and beyond–as well as prisons, heath settings, and community centers. I guide the panel and participants to highlight how the field of Drama Therapy/Educational Theatre has (or has not) changed since separating from The Program in Educational Theatre in 1982. To these ends, we were targeting participants who have worked or want to work in special settings and with challenging populations in order to wrestle with important ethical and technical questions about how and when to implement these strategies. 

Each presenter delivered a narrative presentation about their work, demonstrated techniques, and guided group reflections including this Role on the Wall exercise about facing both the internal and external experience of mental illness.


Educators’ Forum: Strategies for Wellness

Jason Butler and I co-facilitated this embodied panel and workshop at the meeting of the North American Drama Therapy Association in Yosemite, CA. As the fourth annual Educators’ Forum, this workshop once again created space for drama therapy educators to come together for support and collaboration. In connection with that year’s theme, we looked at ideas of balance and wellness as they apply to the drama therapy educator. In particular, we examined the day-to-day strategies that assist educators in maintaining balance and a personal sense of wellness. Participants were invited to bring strategies that work for them as well as situations that cause difficulty. Together we actively explored the contradictions and paradoxes inherent in drama therapy education and work to facilitate harmony and balance.

Participants will also heard about our recent explorations and collaborations bridging the fields of drama therapy and applied theatre as we had recently co-presented at two international applied and educational theatre conferences. Our experiences and findings were shared and these were collectively investigated with participants alongside other ways that other related fields can inform the education and practice of drama therapy. 

Finally, we  examined how drama therapists can better collaborate with applied theatre initiatives in order to expand the exposure of the field and create more opportunities for teaching drama therapy and expanding the profession. 

Below are some images of the participants embodying scenarios and themes of drama therapy education:


Ethical Praxis Discourse: Theatre, Education, Therapy, and Activism

How can socially-engaged and educational theatre/drama ethically serve marginalized and vulnerable populations? As Chair of this panel including Ashley Forman, David Montgomery, and Juliana Saxton, we explored answers and unearthed deeper questions at the American Alliance for Theatre and Education conference in Denver, CO.
Despite our best intentions, the terrain at the intersections of theory/practice and aesthetics/instrumentality can shift unpredictably, and we risk undermining the very populations we aim to empower.  Our discussion gained firmer footing through a series of subquestions to navigate overlaps, boundaries, and interstices found at this junction:
  • When does our work become too emotional or too personal?
  • What is the difference between therapy and therapeutic?
  • How are at-risk populations’ needs addressed?
  • How can we train facilitators and artists to manage these ethical dilemmas?
Our format also decentralized the discussion away from traditional didactics and democratized the discourse through Weaver’s “Long Table” experimental public forum: Concentric circles of chairs surrounded a single table covered with paper, with its own collection of chairs, occupied in part, by the hosts. Microphones and refreshments also adorned the table.  At any time, attendees were invited to fill the remaining chairs, and augment–or shift–the conversation.  In action, the Long Table became a metaphor for radical inclusion as we shared the fruits of our labors, collectively addressed the problems posed, and dramatically built community ties.
Etiquette for participation was read aloud and distributed to each participant:
There is no beginning
It is a performance of a breakfast, lunch or dinner
Those seated at the table are the performers  
The menu is up to you 
Talk is the only course
There is no hostess 
It is a democracy  
To participate, take a seat at the table  
If the table is full, you can request a seat
Once you leave the table you can come back  
There can be silence 
You can break the silence with a question
You can write your questions on the table
There can be laughter  
There is no conclusion