Greenfield Fellows

Winter/Spring 2018

Greenfield Fellows

PTC’s Education Programming continues with our Greenfield Fellows’ projects.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, Philadelphia Theatre Company is deep into Phase II of The Albert M. Greenfield Fellowship.  The three dynamic, creative and who comprise the second cohort of Albert M. Greenfield Teaching Artist Fellows are Olivia Harris, Michelle Pauls and Jarrett McCreary.  The focus of the fellowship is on specialized work within the community, with populations that are under-represented and projects that expand the boundaries of where and how teaching artists work.  This fellowship ends August 31, 2018.

Greenfield Fellows are paid a bi-weekly stipend and will receive sponsored professional development including, but not limited to national conferences and workshops.  The fellowship stipend is $21,000 per year.  See below for more information on their individual programs.

At this time, PTC’s Philly Reality is on hiatus, and our summer camps will return in the future.  Programming is temporarily on hiatus.

Questions?

For more information about the Education Program and the Greenfield Fellows, please contact:

Paige Price, Producing Artistic Director

Meet the Albert M. Greenfield Fellows:

Olivia Harris

I came to the Albert M. Greenfield Fellowship having used theatre to engage communities and teach life skills, particularly healthy relationship skills.and feminist organizing. I was (and continue to be) interested in partnering with direct service providers to infuse curriculum with role-play and engagement activities using theatrical tools.

In my first year as a Greenfield Fellow, I prioritized building partnerships, sharing curricula, and engaging young people. I arranged a professional development sharing with Educators from Women Against Abuse (WAA), which developed into a curriculum partnership in Fall 2017. We collaborated on curriculum for an 8-week residency at Hope Partnership for Education with graduates of their middle school program. The students have been very responsive, willing to jump into new territory and excited to return every week.

According to Hope Graduate Support Director Brittany Holiday, “Through music, games, life experiences, role play, and dialogue, our graduates have been learning the ways to have healthy relationships; not only with their peers, but with parents, guardians, teachers, and their community…It has become another safe space at Hope, and the room is often filled with laughter, new perspectives, and informative discussions. …. Hope is grateful for the opportunity to pilot such a unique experience for our graduates, and knows that the skills they are learning today will most definitely serve them well in their futures.”

In July 2017, I designed a new curriculum for a 4-day intensive workshop with the Teen Council at PTC: Getting Intense with Olivia. The intensive allowed me to pilot curriculum about healthy communication, relationship desires and learning, and consent that draw from Theatre of the Oppressed, Theatre in Education, process drama, and role play. I invited other PTC Teaching Artists to participate in some of the engagement activities as well, which the students loves.One participant said, “It’s been nice to be able to talk to my peers like this in a safe environment.”  Another said, “Once we started thinking about this [material], we realized there was a lot more going on.”

Three of the Teen Council members have become Project Leads for the Getting Intense project. They are building their own workshops, inspired by the Getting Intense curriculum, so that they can offer a similar experience to young people in Philadelphia in the 2017-18 school year. I am serving as their mentor and assisting with facilitation. In November, the Project Leads led a workshop at HOPE Partnership for Education through my partnership with WAA. In December, they were invited to lead a workshop for MARS peer educators through the University of Pennsylvania Office of Violence prevention. The workshop was a success, and the students and faculty have already invited the Getting Intense team back to continue our work.

The Project Leads also want to expand their curriculum and facilitation expertise in order to offer workshops at middle and high schools in the Spring semester, an exciting continuation and culmination of my consent and healthy relationships project. (as of Dec 18, 2018)

 

Jarrett McCreary

“In the past, my fellowship has consisted of mostly development via research and interviews. I’ve met with political official Malcolm Kenyatta, Author Rorie Still and more about their positions in the community and the need for exploring black joy workshops and cultivation. They have helped me to decipher the meaning behind my idea and the types of curriculum I could create to be able to document these important experiences.

“With that curriculum in hand, my next step is to present it to First Person Arts for possible collaboration under the umbrella of behavioral health. It would be an in-depth look at not only the joyous stories we as black people forget to acknowledge, but the parachute l psyche behind that subconscious choice.

“I also plan to present it to Temple Theater students in their spring semester. This would not be a full course so much as a voluntary workshop to test out the curriculum, get feedback and observe how exercises work with a group of people who are already familiar with the theater side of things.

“The goal of course is to go beyond the theater community. The goal is to reach black communities, organizations and workers and do the necessary work of acknowledging and respecting the positive things that allow us to live and continue moving forward. My work is to focus on the individual, and in doing so, be able to effectively influence any community they have connections with.”

“These meetings, as well as stepping into the role of being the advisor of PTC’s Teen Council, have helped refine my creative goal, attempting to focus on certain spaces and communities that already exist, discerning what they get out of their community and how I could be beneficial in adding to that community.” – Jarrett

Michelle Pauls

“Through my project with the Greenfield Fellows at PTC, I am exploring how theatre can support end-of-life decision-making, communication and care.

“In a society that struggles with the medical community, its own fears and the lack of understanding of what is available for a good death, I want to educate, enlighten and empower people to make choices in line with their core values. This work is designed for the theatre shaman to help those willing to find comfort and a sense of control around their (inevitable) death and important issues associated with the end of life.

“People are afraid of death: thinking about how death will change things, imagining what it looks like it, talking about it. In America, our rituals around death do not provide a big enough space for us to fully understand what it means to have a good death. We generally think of death as a bad thing, something to be avoided. As a result, dying people often grasp at whatever measures they can to stave off the inevitable. Medical professionals often prescribe invasive procedures in accordance with their oath. We may feel we have control over every aspect of our lives, except our death. I seek to find ways to inform our population on the value of thinking about and talking about these scary issues, as well as to provide tools to make a good death possible before reaching the point of loss. Each of us has a life that should be celebrated, and we all have the right to decide how our quality of life should extend all the way to our last day. A good death may include not only appointing a person to make decisions about my care for me when I can’t, and what kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want, but also what I want my loved ones to know, and how will I be remembered after I’m gone.

“With this project, I am exploring how theatre can be used with families of people on hospice care, as well as the person dying, to strengthen connections among them, to provide a safe, loving and profound way to think and talk about death and what it means to have a good death, and to celebrate a life fully. Working with people on hospice care and their families, I first use meaningful objects, such as photographs, stories, songs, gestures, and prayers to find ways to make connections. We then use theatre techniques such as improvisation and role-playing where the theatre artists reenact stories or major events in the person’s life in order to celebrate, reaffirm, connect and define what it means to be this human on the earth at this time. The individual can comment, refine, change the reenactment in any way, to get the scene where it needs to be. Family members can be as involved as they feel comfortable. Scenes can relive celebratory, painful or growthful moments in truth and beauty. This project provides a safe, loving space for an individual, a family, and a society to contemplate and uncover what it means to be death positive. It is as individual as the person involved. We need to know we are living for something bigger than ourselves.

“The next phase of this project is to hone the directions for this work. I am actively working with Compassus Hospice in Philadelphia to implement a two-hour workshop version of program with people from retirement communities and their families. Both adult children of older people (not on hospice) and healthy seniors may want to share in collaborating with me and the theatre artists to realize these goals:

“To try out new ways to connect and celebrate those who may be on hospice in a safe and controlled environment.

“To establish ways to communicate to those outside of the realm of being on hospice what being death-positive looks like.

“To uncover ways that theatre can help someone on hospice to have the most meaningful life, every single day of his/her/their life.

“Concrete impact this work has had:  A friend of mine asked me to visit with her and her mother who was on hospice care at home. Along with other family members, I employed some of the activities described above. I visited with her during December, 2016. She spent several hours sharing stories, and describing family photographs. We also did a few improvisations, based on her prompts. The entire time spent with her was loving, deeply personal and extremely moving.

“My friend shared, ‘The experience of my mom in hospice and doing improv with her and Michelle Pauls during her last weeks was poignant, heartbreaking and exhilarating all at the same time. It provided a life-altering memory that gives me closure and peace.’ What success looks like for this work: families have a peaceful, positive end time with their loved one; the person on hospice feels more sense of control and makes death-positive choices; The theatre shaman feel connected to something bigger than themselves, and help to bring about transformation for their community.” (as of December 11, 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

The Albert M. Greenfield Fellows have discovered ways to expand their reach from the theatre, past the classroom, to hospice beds, women shelters, and to the African American community.  The Albert M. Greenfield Foundation’s support allows these theatre education professionals to research, develop, create, and teach.  The Greenfield Foundation’s support helps PTC create new partnerships and to expand the transformative power of theatre past its regular audience to the homes, rooms, and spaces of underserved communities.