Re-Negotiating Community in Times of Crisis: Arizona State University’s Theatre-In-Education Touring Project

Heather Stickeler,
Prof. Pamela Sterling,
Jeremiah Neal,
Lise Kloeppel
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During 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, underlying issues of race and class began to surface in the United States, and communities began to wake up, demand explanations, and connect with one another. But once the media moved on, so did the awareness of the general public. As artists and educators, how do we help communities make meaning of crisis now and in the future? What affect does crisis have on our sense of place and our relationship to others? How can the arts help communities heal, but also remember and realize negotiations of place, identity, and belief as ongoing and complex?

This workshop shares interactive techniques used to research students’ perceptions and questions about 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and to devise a Theatre-In-Education (T.I.E.) piece that engages young people in dialogue about the sensitive issues related to these national and global events. The T.I.E piece, "Somewhere Else", was developed in partnership with middle school students in the metropolitan Phoenix area, and graduate students at Arizona State University. In spring 2006, ASU’s graduate-level Theatre for Youth Touring Class toured the show to local schools and community centers, and facilitating interactive theatre workshops which enabled young people to represent their own perspectives on community and crisis.

At the 2006 Arts in Society Conference, Arizona State partners will share an overview of their project’s objectives, outcomes, challenges, and successes. They will also take workshop participants through some of theater activities they use to spark dialogue and build community capacity. The goal of this workshop presentation is to engage others in conversation about strategies for developing, implementing and sustaining community-engaged touring theatre productions that are aesthetically compelling and democratically meaningful.

Keywords: Theatre-in-Education, Touring Theatre, Youth Development, Community Conflict Resolution, Asset-based Community Building, Civic Dialogue, Youth
Stream: Art in Communities
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: Renegotiating Community in Times of Crisis

Heather Stickeler

Ph.D. Candidate and Graduate Instructor, Theatre for Youth Program
School of Theatre and Film
Arizona State University, Arizona State University

Temp, Arizona, USA

Heather Stickeler is a Ph.D. candidate in Theatre with an emphasis in Theatre for Youth at Arizona State University. Her dissertation research focuses on community-based theater in the United States and its effect on positive youth development and community building. In addition to her research, she works as a community artist and teaches an upper-division course in Theatre for Social Change.

Prof. Pamela Sterling

Associate Professor, Theatre for Youth Program
School of Theatre and Film, Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona, USA

Pamela Sterling has written or directed over thirty-five touring productions for various professional theatre companies. As associate professor in ASU’s Herberger School of Theatre and Film, she taught the devising and touring theatre courses that produced Somewhere Else.

Jeremiah Neal

MFA student, Theatre for Youth,
School of Theatre and Film, Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona, USA

Lise Kloeppel

MFA student; community arts consultant, Theatre for Youth Program; School of Theatre and Film, Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona, USA

Ref: A06P0525