Graduate students in the Graduate Program in Theatre & Performance Studies are involved in a wide range of scholarly and creative projects, at the local, national, and international level. This page highlights recent student publications, conferences, internships, theatre/performance projects and gives you the opportunity to meet some of our students.
Claudia Wier (PhD2) wins ASTR Research Fellowship
November 14, 2013
Congratulations to Claudia Wier (PhD2) for winning an ASTR (American Society for Theatre Research) Research Fellowship! The fellowship funded a recent research trip to Venice where she visited the Carlo Goldoni Library, the Venice State Archives, and the Marciana Library. Claudia talks about her research and her trip HERE.
The graduate program in Theatre & Performance Studies extends congratulations to Claudia Wier (PhD2) for winning an ASTR (American Society for Theatre Research) Research Fellowship! The fellowship funded a recent research trip to Venice where she visited the Carlo Goldoni Library, the Venice State Archives, and the Marciana Library. Claudia shares some more information about her research along with photos from her trip below:
The opera singing commedia dell’arte troupes of Renaissance Italy preceded comic opera. I am researching Italian archives for texts, libretti, contracts, accounts, and letters as evidence of the elusive players’ work. Commedia operas provided socio-political commentary through satire and parody. The radical, hedonist academic group at the University of Padua known as The Incogniti produced early Venetian opera and employed commedia performers. From 1641 to 1645 The Incogniti promoted their political agenda in the Teatro Novissimo theatre.
I examine cross-dressed performance, amazons, hermaphrodites and the blurring of social and gender boundaries to be found in the dramatic texts of libretti and reflected in musical scores. I think of Early Modern Venice as a social text where the regulation of the grotesque gesture and the bodies of the working comedic actors was enforced. Records of Catholic inquisitors who surveiled the activities of both performers and academics, for instance, help me to build a picture of their everyday lives. Archivists in the Cini Foundation, the Marciana Library, the Padua Library of Ancient Manuscripts, the Carlo Goldoni House, and the Venice State Archives facilitate my work.
Two Spirit Acts: Queer Indigenous Performance
October 30, 2013
We are pleased to announce that our recent PhD graduate, Jean O’Hara, has just published an edited collection with Playwrights Canada Press entitled Two-Spirit Acts: Queer Indigenous Performance. The collection is an extension of Jean’s dissertation research on queer indigenous drama.
Call For Papers: Third Annual Theatre & Performance Studies Graduate Symposium
October 18, 2013
Critically Kinaesthetic: Performing bodies of political engagement
For the York University Theatre and Performance Studies third annual graduate student symposium, we invite paper, performance and workshop proposals from any discipline relating to this year’s topic of Critically Kinaesthetic: Performing bodies of political engagement. This interdisciplinary symposium will examine the body as both expressive, and generative, of political meaning. “Critically kinaesthetic” refers to embodied knowledge systems and their engagement in both aesthetic and political spheres.
The Graduate Symposium takes place at York University on April 16, 2014. For more information on see the Symposium’s website here.
Internship Report: Moynan King – FADO Performance Art
September 18, 2013
PhD student Moynan King discussed the internship she completed with Shannon Coharane of FADO Performance Art last winter.
My internship took place in March 2013 when, for two weeks, I worked under the mentorship of Shannon Cochrane at FADO Performance Art in an administrative capacity.
About FADO and Shannon Cochrane
In Toronto, we have two organizations that present, produce, disseminate, and support performance art activity, and Shannon Cochrane works with both of them. She is the Artistic and Administrative Director of FADO Performance Art Centre and a Co-Founder of 7a11d Performance Art Festival. FADO was founded in 1993, and Shannon has been the Director since 2007. FADO is an artist-run centre – part of the rich history of Canadian artist-run culture – which presents the work of local, national and international performance artists, publishes books, presents artist talks, and organizes symposia or other related activities. FADO presents somewhere between 10-12 events each year; single events, series, and co-presentations with other centres.
During my internship I worked with Shannon Cochrane to compile and organize information for the purposes of reporting to the funding agencies (Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Trillium Foundation, and Toronto Arts Council) on the organization’s activities over the past year. The work involved culling detailed information about all the events produced, presented or co-presented by FADO. I was in contact with the artists collecting statements about the significance of their involvement with FADO. Further I collected statistical data about attendance at events. This information was then organized into the various format requirements of each of the councils. This work gave me valuable insight into the enduring impact of FADO on artists both nationally and internationally. With its unique mandate FADO is able to provide a venue in Toronto for work that would not otherwise been seen here. While I have done a good deal of grant reporting in my career, during my internship at FADO I was privy to a unique organizational system and introduced to a number of new artists.
Additionally, and incidentally, prior to beginning my internship I had been commissioned to write an article about Shannon Cochrane’s performance practice for the upcoming book Caught in the Act II. Having daily access to Shannon while involved in the research phase of this article has enriched the work immensely. I was able to ask her questions on the fly about her process and her past work, which added a rich personal element to the article.
The internship was beneficial to both the organization and me: FADO gained the assistance of an experienced grant writer and I was introduced to new work and a new organizational model while enjoying the added benefit of being close to the subject of an article in process.
Performance Studies (Canada) Speaker Series
September 13, 2013
Professors Laura Levin and Marlis Schweitzer are delighted to announce the return of the Performance Studies (Canada) Speaker Series.
This year’s theme is “Moving Bodies” and the four speakers – Harvey Young, Jill Dolan, Diana Taylor, and Erin Manning – will present papers that offer a range of perspectives for thinking about performance, mobility, emotion, bodies, embodiment, and political engagement. We are delighted to collaborate with colleaguspeaker series poster 2013_draft_Finales in the Community Arts Practice program at York University, the Walker Cultural Leader Series at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University, Aluna Theatre and the Panamerican Routes/Rutas Americanas Festival, and the Theatre and Performance Studies Graduate Symposium at York University.
For more information see the Performance Studies (Canada) website here.
The Mind-Body Stage: Passion and Interaction in the Cartesian Theater
September 6, 2013
A new book by Theatre and Performance Studies Professor R. Darren Gobert, The Mind-Body Stage: Passion and Interaction in the Cartesian Theater, has just published by Stanford University Press. It demonstrates what performance studies can offer to the study of philosophy. Check out the book and even read its prologue here.
The Halifax Chronicle Herald Interviews PhD Candidate Richie Wilcox
September 3, 2013
On break from teaching at the University of Lethbridge, PhD Student Richie Wilcox is directing Unsex’d at the Atlantic Fringe Festival. You can read Richie’s recent interview with the Chronicle Herald here.
Internship Report: Melissa Lepp – Wong Street Journal
September 3, 2013
MA student Melissa Lepp shares her experiences working as a dramaturgy for performance theatre artist Kristina Wong’s upcoming show, Wong Street Journal.
For my internship, as part of my Theatre and Performance Studies graduate work, I worked with Kristina Wong, a performance artist from L.A. Ian Garrett, who has worked with Kristina on projects and performances in the past, set up this partnership between Kristina and the university. The purpose of this internship was to assist Kristina in the development of her new performance project, The Wong Street Journal. I worked as her dramaturg from April until August.
My internship with Kristina was broken into two parts. The first was when Kristina was able to come to Toronto for one week in April. During this week, Thea Fitz-James and I worked intensively with Kristina in the studio to work on her newest show, The Wong Street Journal. We spend the majority of our time in the studio, where we were lucky to work with three undergraduate Devised Theatre students, Maite, Nicole, and Alicia. When we were with the DT students, Kristina, Thea, and I supplied the students with prompts, research projects, and concepts for them to perform improvised scenes, presentations, and other performance work. Often, they stood in for mini-Kristinas. When it was just Kristina, Thea, and I, the three of us spent a lot of time researching the global economy. We had several library research trips and even had a “field trip” to Toronto’s Stock Exchange. We would use our research to prompt Kristina to improvise or write short monologues and scenes. We took extensive notes and used some of the devising techniques that Kristina has used on past projects. We ended the week with a skeleton of the show and an informal presentation of our work.
This was an incredible learning opportunity for me, particularly working directly with Kristina while she was in Toronto. Since I have only minimal experience in dramaturgy, this was an excellent opportunity for me to gain hands on experience in new work development and dramaturgy. Kristina has a lot of experience as a performer and is incredibly knowledgeable and generous. She was great to work with, and will be an excellent contact and connection for me, and also for York. It was also valuable for Thea and I to be able to work with undergraduate students. There are so few opportunities for this type of relationship between graduate and undergraduate Theatre Studies students. These relationships are useful for students from both parties and might influence undergraduate students to apply to the grad program. This week happened to coincide with the graduate student symposium, which was also a great way for Kristina to meet other York students and faculty, as well as visiting scholars.
For the remaining fifteen hours of my internship, I did work for Kristina from a distance. I transcribed all of the rehearsal notes and had post-workshop conversations with Kristina. In the fall, Kristina is going to Uganda as part of her long-term research for The Wong Street Journal, so I did research for Kristina on programs, universities, and contacts in Uganda for her to connect with while traveling. We also discussed the issues implicated in her visit (i.e., “voluntourism”).
My internship was different from working with a Toronto based theatre company, but I am very thankful for the opportunity. I was able to create a relationship with Kristina, which I am sure will continue. I hope to be able to see The Wong Street Journal when it goes to production in the next few years. As I said before, this internship also allowed for connections to be made between graduate and undergraduate students, as well as between Kristina and the rest of the university. I think it was an excellent way for me to apply my interest in feminist performance art to learning a new skill of dramaturgy and new performance development.
Student Publication in Canadian Journal of Practice-Based Research in Theatre
August 22, 2013
PhD Candidate, Helene Vosters recently hand an article, “Impact Lab and The Halprin Life Art Process: A Practice-Based Approach to Creative, Affective, and Political Mobilization” published in the Canadian Journal of Practice-Based Research in Theatre Vol 5, No 1 (2013). The article is available online at http://cjprt.uwinnipeg.ca/index.php/cjprt.
PhD Student’s Summer Project – Community Canoe
July 29, 2013
Aidan Dahlin Nolan (PhD1) is volunteering as a Park Ranger as part of the David Suzuki Foundation’s Homegrown National Park Project. Aidan’s project, Community Canoe aims to re-build our relationship with the wetlands.
Aidan Dahlin Nolan (PhD1) is volunteering as a Park Ranger as part of the David Suzuki Foundation’s Homegrown National Park Project. Aidan’s project, Community Canoe aims to re-build our relationship with the wetlands: “I don’t just want us to think of them as endangered ecosystems we see on TV. I want us to smell them, touch them, and taste them, so that we’ll work to preserve them while also finding new ways to more fully integrate them into the very fabric of our city.”
As part of the project, Aidan and his team are repurposing old, unseaworthy canoes as bee-friendly garden planters. The Community Canoe Gardens will be installed in parks along the corridor of the old Garrison Creek. And they will be filled with native flowers that are really good for birds, bees and butterflies. The first canoe garden was recently set up in the Fort York area.
Aidan and a fellow ranger were recently interviewed on CBC’s Metro Morning about the project. Currently the group is working to raise funds to create a network of 12 community canoe gardens. More information on fundraising can be found here.
The ultimate ambition of the project, with its next phase, involves establishing a series of “Community Canoe Stops” through crowd funding that mimic bixi bikes. “We want to help make it easier for residents to explore Toronto’s waterfront and waterways. Imagine adding a paddle down the Humber or the Don to your commute, or taking a canoe trip along the waterfront!”
Kim McLeod Receives CATR’s Robert Lawrence Prize
July 26, 2013
Congratulations to Kim McLeod (PhD4) for receiving the Robert Lawrence Prize from the Canadian Association for Theatre Research for her paper, “Finding the New Radical: Digital Media, Oppositionality and Political Intervention in Contemporary Canadian Theatre.”
The prize recognizes the research of an emerging scholar who has presented an outstanding paper at the Association’s yearly conference. This marks the third year in a row that a student from our program has taken home this honour, past winners include:
- 2012: Helene Vosters “Between Two Worlds: Reflections on a Year of Falling”
- 2011: Nicholas Hanson, “A Solo Census: One-Person Productions as a Rising Tide?”
Introducing Our Incoming PhD Students
July 4, 2013
The Graduate Program in Theatre & Performance Studies is looking forward to four new PhDs joining us in the Fall.
The graduate program in Theatre and Performance Studies will be welcoming four new PhD students in the Fall.
Lauren Fournier is a practicing new media artist, writer, and scholar, Lauren is interested in the intersections of video and performance, and the ways in which mental illness is both problematized and romanticized in the visual arts. Her SSHRC-funded doctoral project applies the most recent frameworks of performance theory to the area of critical psychiatry, specifically within the conditions of contemporary art. During her time as Masters student in SFU’s Department of English, Lauren sought to explore performative tactics that might open up space for more spacious ‘readings’ of female bodies in public spaces, including the art-centric spheres of the gallery and the performance art biennale ‘LIVE’. Judith Butler’s inclusive call to “make more lives livable” often informs the artistic and theoretical projects that Fournier takes on. Her Masters thesis, entitled “Performance Art & the Rituals of Everyday Life in East Vancouver: a Sexualized Presence-Absence Dialectic of the Female Body in Public Space” posed the question: “When is performance studies’ emphasis on the body’s liveness in space ethically and politically productive, and when does it lead to the body ‘appearing too much’ (Wittenberg) in a public space?” Other areas of interest include affect theory, collaboration, existentialism, phenomenology, satire, and the notion of the abject, specifically in the context of the contemporary genre of “outsider art” — a ghettoizing genre which Lauren takes issue with, given its emphasis on the artist as “disabled.” Fournier has worked in gallery contexts in Vancouver and Saskatchewan, both as a facilitator of contemporary art and as an artist. During her time in Vancouver, Lauren was involved with various projects in the downtown eastside, both in her capacity as a mental health worker and as an artist and educator with the DTES Literacy Roundtable and an art therapy/creative writing/performance group which she spearheaded at the Living Room Drop-in. She has interned with VIVO Media Arts Centre’s education department and has had work published in West Coast Line.
Aidan Dahlin Nolan is interested in the emerging field of performance and ecology. Specifically interested in wetlands, other marginalized habitats, and the earthling creatures that call these places home, his work tries to bring people into a more sensual relationship with the world. Aidan is hopeful that we can change what we do, and how we do it, so that we might avert irreparable harm to our planet. Currently Aidan is volunteering with the David Suzuki Foundation as a “Neighbourhood Park Ranger”.
Sally Morgan has been working as an improviser, dancer, choreographer, director, filmmaker, teacher and producer for 15 years. She spent several years based in Toronto and lived/worked in Nova Scotia from 1999-2006. Her work has been presented across Canada, in Europe and the USA. Her current work looks at the intersections between improvisational dance, eco-somatics, site performance and place-based/environmental education.
Sally holds a (Hons) BFA in Dance and trained through The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Program. She completed a Diploma in Sustainable and Environmental Education at York University and recently graduated with a Masters in Environmental Studies (MES 2013)—her thesis portfolio titled Dancing the Landscape: Embodying and Performing Place.
Recent projects include: Dancing My Way Home (2012/13), the ‘here’ score (2012); The Road Dances Project/Handbook (in progress); The Fields and the Woods (in progress); the large scale site specific work Landmarked (2010) a commission for NDW in St. John’s; the solos Intersections (2008) and The Far Field (2008) and 26 minute dance film (2006 with Canal Arte) and accompanying 1hr BRAVO television documentary (2007) titled (decoding the) Undertow.
Sally is also a certified Pilates and Yoga Instructor and teaches both alongside classes and workshops in Dance, Eco/somatic practices, Contact Improvisation, and Improvisational Writing and Movement.
Sean Robertson-Palmer is a founding member of the Kadozuke Kollektif, an experimental theatre performance group that has been creating devised theatre professionally for over ten years. Sean’s creative process recently began to shift into hip hop performance, and his Masters research focused on the dramaturgical elements of hip hop theatre. Specifically, he is interested in exploring how each of hip hop’s four foundational elements (DJ’ing, breakdancing, MC’ing, and graffiti) can be performed cohesively in a theatrical context while still maintaining their artistic and cultural integrity. As a PhD student, he plans to continue exploring hip hop and the dramaturgical elements of hip hop theatre, with a global interpretation of the culture and its disciplines.
Internship Report: Matt McGeachy – Factory Theatre
June 24, 2013
MA student, Matt McGeachy offers up advice to future students based on his internship experience at Factory Theatre.
I spent the 2012/13 academic year as the York University Dramaturgy Intern at Factory Theatre being mentored by noted dramaturge Iris Turcott. I came to York with a very specific idea in mind: to compliment my academic studies with on the job training that would help launch me into a career in theatre in Toronto, and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to do that.
I came to Factory at a very unique time in the company’s history. Longtime artistic director Ken Gass had left in a controversial fight with the Factory board of directors, and the season fell apart. Under the leadership of the now-Co-Artistic Directors Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams, Factory went on to produce a full season that included two world premieres. Almost immediately, I felt like a crucial part of the Factory team.
Under Iris’s guidance, I received further training in institutional dramaturgy through administering the Ontario Arts Council Theatre Creators’ Reserve; worked as assistant production dramaturge on Nina Lee Aquino’s play Every Letter Counts; met regularly with some of the best playwrights in Canada; and ultimately was hired as associate dramaturge for the Factory Wired Festival of new work in progress. Through regular meetings with Iris I strengthened both my art and my craft, and found in her a mentor who was both supportive and willing to push me to grow in ways I could not have imagined at the beginning of this internship.
As the internship has drawn to a close, I have thought a lot about what made it so successful for me. The first thing that comes to mind is that I found an internship that was driven primarily by my needs and my growth. When we first met at the beginning of the academic year, Iris told me that she wasn’t interviewing me; I was interviewing her. This is perhaps the soundest advice I can offer to anyone embarking on their internship through York. Ultimately it isn’t about the hours; it’s about helping you to grow as a scholar, practitioner, or both. Be clear with yourself about what your goals are, and work to identify where those goals can be met. Don’t try to squeeze yourself into a hole that doesn’t fit.
The second thing that comes to mind is, take it seriously. If your mentor knows that you are serious about growth and improving your practice, whatever that may be, you can work together to do something meaningful. If not, chances are you’ll end up doing a lot of photocopying.
Third, choose your mentor carefully. It is a truism in theatre that the most important choice you make is your choice of collaborators, and that is doubly true when you’re asking someone to invest time in your growth and development. I didn’t know my mentor prior to beginning this internship and cold-called her; it worked out better than I could have ever hoped. Is your mentor flexible enough to tailor something to your needs? To know this, you have to know your needs and be willing to identify things you need to grow that you didn’t know yet.
My internship at Factory was a formative experience, and I have built relationships with people I hope to work with for years to come. I am a better dramaturge now than I was in September, and also, I think, a more open and grounded person. If that seems like a high bar to set, well… it is.
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Matt McGeachy (MA 2013) is a dramaturg and theatre critic based in Toronto. As a dramaturg, he has worked with Factory Theatre, the Guthrie Theater, the Kennedy Center, York University, and The Playwrights’ Center, among others. He is currently Toronto NewCrit Critic for HowlRound, and previously he has written for MinnesotaPlaylist.com and MONDO Magazine. When not reading scripts, working with playwrights, or seeing shows, he is an avid cook, bicyclist, and reader. He tries to live a life in theatre guided by the words of Albert Camus: “Real generosity to the future lies in giving all to the present.”
PhD Candidate’s Work in Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts
June 20, 2013
PhD Candidate Helene Vosters has an article in Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts Special Issue: On Value.“Piece/Peace Work: Engendering “rationalities of care” through a thread-by-thread deconstruction of militarism.”
Internship Report: Kallee Lins – Toronto Review of Books
June 13, 2013
We invited some of our students to share their reflections on the internships they undertook as part of their degree requirements. MA student, Kallee Lins reflects on her multi-faceted internship with the Toronto Review of Books.
I had the pleasure of interning at The Toronto Review of Books (TRB) this year. It’s an online publication that releases quarterly issues of essays and poetry as well as maintaining an active blog, Chirograph, and a podcast covering public talks around Toronto. While the website is largely about book culture in all of its varieties across print and electronic forms, the TRB acts as a forum to discuss everything from festivals and bookshops, to visual art and performance events. It’s a wide-reaching publication with a very small team, so I got to experience all the ins and outs of maintaining a web publication.
It’s always exciting to apply the skills gained from a theatre education in other venues like publishing. I found myself acting as the “stage manager” for our Issue 6 launch party at The Ossington. It was a night of poetry readings, screenings of Canadian Heritage Minutes, and a talk from Twitter persona “Rebel Mayor” a.k.a. writer Shawn Micallef. Sure, the launch party took place at a bar, but is there any better experience for orchestrating such an event than having stage-managed entire theatre productions?
I also had the opportunity to write for Chirograph. I covered performances around the city including Soup Can Theatre’s double bill of Hand of Bridge and No Exit, and Marie Chouinard’s canonical dance piece The Golden Mean, as well as writing my very first book review for Deidre Kelly’s “Ballerina.” As much as my background in theatre and dance, and training in performance scholarship within York’s graduate program in Theatre and Performance Studies was immensely useful in contributing to the TRB, I was struck by how much of my learning went in the other direction. I saw the world of performance very differently through the eyes of publishing.
I was designated “advertising manager” in the lead up to the Issue 6 launch party, meaning I was responsible for creating a list of businesses to contact, drafting letters to solicit raffle prize donations or the purchasing of ad space, and communicating with ad partners. I found myself asking a lot of questions throughout this process, namely “how do you measure and communicate the value of an online publication like the TRB?” In academia, your writing is usually aimed at the community of scholars in your disincline, but with a publication like the TRB—interested in all things bookish, arty, community-based, and cultural—your audience is far broader. Soliciting raffle donations meant clearly articulating our target audience and approaching potential advertisers with either a similar target demographic or similar goals of strengthening arts and culture in Toronto.
Be it for grant applications, promotional material, or simply convincing friends to come out to your show, there is really nothing more annoying than having to explain the value of a cultural product. Working on advertising for the TRB, however, meant speaking of the number of page views we hit each month, the number of Twitter and Facebook followers we reach, and the way our content fits with the vision of community shared by the businesses we contact.
This made me think about the way I speak of performance events. While I may not be able to say what an audience member will take away from any given show, I can speak about the number of people reached, the distinctive backgrounds and skills the creators brought to it, and how the show fits into the aesthetic history of its discipline. While many works may be somewhat ineffable, there are always concrete aspects that can be talked about in relatively simple terms. This is something I learned the hard way through writing about performance for a non-specialized audience. As someone whose research focuses primarily on dance, it is not surprising that the one review I had to completely re-write after a first read by TRB’s editor, the indefatigable Jessica Duffin Wolfe, was also my sole dance review. I made the mistake of assuming anyone reading the piece would be familiar with the company and the language I was using to talk about them.
The cross-disciplinary nature of the TRB, especially in the diversity of the team sustaining it, is exactly what I was looking for in an internship—a chance to situate my scholarship within the broader arts scene of Toronto, and to encounter different ways of looking at performance, books, and the city that surrounds them.
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Kallee Lins is completing her MA in Theatre and Performance Studies and will be beginning her PhD at York in the fall in the Graduate Program in Dance.
Internship Report: Thea Fitz-James – Into The Woods; Pedogody & Practice
June 13, 2013
We invited some of our students to share their reflections on the internships they undertook as part of their degree requirements. MA student, Thea Fitz-James reflects her experience directing a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods Jr.
For my internship, I had the incredible experience of directing a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods Jr. with 8-12 year old girls. As my work is in feminist theatre, as well youth theatre and pedagogy, this internship was a fascinating way to explore theory through practice. It is one thing to research and theorize about ‘girls’ on stage, and another thing to block, choreograph and rehearse an entire show. What was incredible to me about this performance, an ambitious one for those who know musical theatre, is the incredible heart, resilience and hard work of young girls. Without romanticizing what was an incredibly difficult (and at times frustrating) experience, the energy, skill and timing inherent in these young women is simply fascinating. It has me wondering if we all start out as intuitive, energetic and playful performers, only to learn a more socially sanctioned performance as adults.
Practically, the pedagogical skills I acquired were unparalleled. I made lesson plans, did basic vocal training, and gave simple acting direction. The energy, patience and flexibility inherent in these tasks was always surprising to me. I learned to treat kids with the respect and honesty I would adults, and more often than not, treat parents with the care and discretion I would children. Working with children has taught me to be a clear and concise teacher, a useful skill as I advance in my academic career. But perhaps the real learning derives from the unspoken, impossible-to-describe social moments: observing gossiping across a room; watching a difficult performer improve, talking shop between shows, or whispering and giggling back stage. These social ‘performances,’ complete with misfires, interpellations, resistance and subservience, has me theorizing as to what girls are, and what girls become. And what role does theatre play in this ‘becoming’?
As any director and teacher will know, there’s an intense amount of love that goes into a show of this nature. In any academic program, it is important to be reminded why we are fascinated by our strange niche interests. After this internship am still unsure how or where my interests in youth theatre, pedagogy, feminist performance, and textiles collide. But I am reminded that it has something to do with love. An unapologetic, unromanticized love. When I teach a 5-year-old how to sew, for example, it’s in this incredible space of pedagogy and frustration (on both sides) that I find pride and patience. It’s in these moments that I wonder who, really, is teaching whom. One stitch is learning, performance, female camaraderie and love. And in that I am reminded.
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Thea Fitz-James is a MA student in Theatre and Performance Studies.