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

By Heather Stickeler.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

During 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, underlying differences of race, class, value and belief boiled to the surface in the United States, and communities momentarily began to wake up, ask questions, and connect with one another. But the nature of renegotiating community in times of crisis is slippery, and can be particularly puzzling for young people, who often are denied access to the processes of civic interaction and decision-making that directly affect their lives and communities. As artists and educators, how do we help youth make meaning of community crisis now and in the
future? What effect does crisis have on their sense of place and relationship to others? How can the arts help youth and their communities heal, but also remember and realize negotiations of place, identity, and belief as ongoing and complex? This paper explains how interactive theatre techniques were used to research students’ perceptions and questions about 9/11, and to devise a Theatre-In-Education (TIE) piece that engages young people in dialogue about the sensitive issues related to this and other community crises. The TIE piece, “Somewhere Else,” was developed in partnership with middle school students at a school in the metropolitan Phoenix area, and graduate students at Arizona State University (ASU). In spring 2006, ASU’s graduate-level Theatre for Youth Touring Class toured the show to local schools and community centers, and facilitated interactive theatre workshops that enabled young people to represent their own perspectives on community crisis, youth agency and social change.

Keywords: Theatre-In-Education, Touring Theatre, Youth Development, Community Conflict Resolution, Arts-based Civic Dialogue

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 1, Issue 6, pp.117-128. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.793MB).

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 for Youth at Arizona State University, currently working on her dissertation, a multiple case study of three community-based youth ensembles in New York City. For two years, she taught ASU’s Theatre for Social Change course, for which she received the 2004-05 Teaching Excellence Award and the 2005-06 Continuing Teaching Excellence Award. She founded the arts-based civic dialogue project, Phoenix Speaks, and has collaborated on many community arts projects in the United States. Stickeler is the recipient of the 2006 Winifred Ward Scholarship, awarded by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.

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