Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Theatre Action Project Seeks Teaching Artists for Spring Semester

Our Middle and High School Program is seeking a diverse team of
experienced teachers for the following positions:

Devised Theatre
Video Production
Drums (hand)
Mural Design
Costume Design

Applicants must have an interest in working with middle and high
school youth and have experience teaching or facilitating. We are
seeking individuals who align with our mission and are highly
creative, energetic, and enthusiastic team players. This is a
part-time, contract position which lasts until the end of May, with
the possibility of renewal for the ’10 – ’11 school year. Most of
these positions are 1.5 hours a day, 2 - 4 days a week for the Spring
Semester. Please send resumes and cover letters to
amanda@theatreactionproject.org by Friday. December 11. No phone
calls please.

TAP is also seeking teaching artists for the elementary after school
programs. We will be adding more classes at multiple campuses
throughout Austin and the surrounding communities. Teaching Artists
will lead after school theatre arts programs for students in grades
pre-K through 5th (within the time frame of 2:00-6:00pm) geared toward
building community, self confidence, creative expression and an
understanding of social issues. We are seeking individuals who align
with our mission and are highly creative, energetic, enthusiastic team
players. Must have some experience with one or more of the following
disciplines: creative drama, puppetry, creative writing, acting,
dance, music, improvisation, devised theatre, community-based arts,
theatre of the oppressed, film making, visual arts, movement or
design. Bilingual individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.

Two audition workshops will be held on Tuesday, Dec 15 from 6:00-9:00
PM and Wednesday, Dec 16 from 3:00-6:00 PM. If you are interested in
being considered for either of the audition workshops, please send a
resume and letter of interest to Sarah Rinner at
sarah@theatreactionproject.org. Please indicate your availability for
the audition workshops. Resumes must be received by Friday, Dec 11th.

For more information about Theatre Action Project, please see our
website: www.theatreactionproject.org

Donate White Fabric to Local Theatre!

As you clean out your closets to make way for the new year, give put your neglected white fabric to use!

The Generic Ensemble Company (kt shorb, Natalie Goodnow, Kimberly Alidio, La'arni Ayuma, Kai Bumpus, Camille DePrang, and Saray Rosales) seeks donations of white fabric for use as set material in our upcoming devised work, "Waiting for Gee-Dot," set to premiere in January 2010. Any fabric, so long as it is a shade of solid white and larger than one square yard will be greatly appreciated. Old sheets work well. Donations will be acknowledged in the program. To schedule a pick up, please contact kt shorb (ktshorb@hotmail.com) or Camille DePrang (cdeprang@gmail.com). Thank you for supporting local, cutting-edge theatre and performance art. Mister Beckett won't be pleased.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Noche de Esperanza

I'll be there representing Theatre Action Project and Kalpulli Teokalli Teoyolol.
You should be there too!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

halfway through my residency at Alma de Mujer...

Left by the comadre who stayed in my cabin before me:

The studio, Tues AM:

A walk:

Tues PM:


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

spread the word! LGBT Youth of Color Organizing Summit

/// Apply by Friday | 2010 LGBT Youth of Color Organizing Summit
Hey Folks,
This is your final reminder to get your applications in for the 2010 LGBTQ Youth of Color Organizing Summit at Creating Change!

See below for more information and for a link to the application.

What is it?
FIERCE, a lgbtq youth of color grassroots organization based in NYC, will host a day-long organizing summit at the Creating Change Conference in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday February 3, 2010. The summit will build the grassroots skills of LGBTQ youth of color who increasingly face homelessness, lack of safe public space, and violence. You will experience a fabulous interactive training space that covers organizing skills and strategies for how to build the political power of LGBTQ youth of color in the movement. If you are looking to sharpen your organizing skills or want to learn from the experiences of other LGBTQ youth doing grassroots organizing, this is the space for you.
Why a Summit?

* There is a gap in youth leadership in the LGBTQ movement. We want to be part of changing that.
* LGBTQ youth of color are facing increasing rates of homelessness and violence.
* There are not many resources available for LGBTQ youth of color to strengthen their grassroots organizing skills and build political power. We hope to share our model and the lessons we have learned.
* We think its important to share our curriculum, experiences, and strategies with each other so that we can be more effective in our work towards social justice.

What workshops and facilitated discussions should you expect at the summit?

* skills to build your membership base
* skills to plan a winnable campaign
* building, exercising, and sustaining power: FIERCE's Organizing Model
* creating a strategic vision for the future of LGBTQ Youth Organizing
* youth organizing: lessons from the field
* developing networks with other LGBTQ youth organizers


The deadline for all applications has been extended to October 30th.
Read On...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

a snippet of a bigger, collaborative essay in progress: Natalie's work in the Arts, Culture, Nature Think Tank

In May 2009, a number of arts/ecology/performance practitioners came together during the Earth Matters on Stage Festival in Eugene, Oregon, and engaged in practice-based research with one another. The organizers (Petra Kuppers and Molly Hacker) aimed to create an open space to investigate arts-based methodologies and analyses of process in relation to eco-arts. We invited (through an application process) artists and scholars who were interested in sharing inventive methods in the field of performance and eco arts. We had asked for applications from dancers, dramatists, poets, musicians, visual/performance artists, sculptors, community artists, theorists and multimedia artists to apply to our mini-think tank. The selected fellows were going to run mini-workshops for their peers. This would be a place to do, play and be, not (only) to tell. In this constructed essay, woven out of statements provided by the fellows and by observations and notes posted on a wiki following our symposium experiences, we share what happened. Some of these sharings describe the workshop, some describe the processes activated by them. There is no linear path here, no single set of guiding questions. Instead, we offer glimpses into an intentional, small and momentary community in creative practice with each other and the world.

Natalie Marlena Goodnow

In my practice as a playwright of solo, autobiographical work, I have sought to reforge, reinvent, re-member our relationships to the Earth through the practice of mindfulness. I once heard poet Naomi Shihab Nye profess that if we were all poets, there would be no war. "Poetry is the art of noticing," she said. A poet notices the glory and wonder and miraculousness of a snowflake, a blade of grass; and what if we learned to see one another with this sort of wonder? That wonder, noticing, is mindfulness. (And I must credit Thich Nhat Hanh, from whom I learned the term in his The Miracle of Mindfulness.) Two years ago, I began to wonder... perhaps if everyone in my city, Austin, Texas, viewed our natural world, and each other, with increased mindfulness, we could build new relationships with nature and with one another; and through those new relationships, perhaps we could learn to halt our own local versions of war, of destruction. In our case, the destruction that was heavy on my mind was the clearing of our urban forest, and the forced dislocation of people of color through gentrification.

And so, I began to take walks through my neighborhood park, and with a little help from my digital camera, made time stand still. Through close ups, unusual angles of the trees I that had seen many times before, but had failed to view in the spirit of mindfulness, I began to learn new lessons from those trees. In the shapes of roots, trunks, and branches, I constructed metaphors for my own experience, a mythology which helped me to make sense of my own relationships to the communities of color in Austin, in the context of my multiracial heritage. In my solo play Muntu: a word that means tree and person, I shared those lessons with Austin audiences, and hoped that my performance of the moments of mindfulness that I had experienced might inspire others. I am happy to report that audience responses indicate that for many, they did.

However, I am not only a playwright and a performer, I am also a teaching artist, and in the Arts, Culture, Nature Think Tank, I experimented with methods with which I might further bridge my artistic and my teaching practices. Could I not only teach audiences through my own writing and performance, but also teach others to write and perform as I had? Where could I start? How could I begin to share such a personal journey, and one that I did not yet fully understand, or even know how to articulate?

"Why not let others begin as I did," I thought. I asked think tank participants to head outside, take a camera, and take pictures. Next, they were to pick their favorite image, and communicate their experience of that image to another group member, through words and/or gestures. Simple. An application of Occam's razor? I hoped so.

I encouraged participants to play in the spirit of Audre Lorde's eroticism, allowing themselves to be seduced by sights, sounds, smells. I encouraged them to explore new and unusual perspectives, and to then take photos of whatever it was that fascinated them. I shared little of how exactly this process had fit into my own practice as a playwright, or of how exactly I hoped to adapt that practice in the classroom; I was curious to find out what others would experience without my framing the exercise in my own context.

And what did others experience? For some, it was frustration with an unfamiliar camera, confusion; for others, even boredom, a desire for a more nuanced task. One participant drew a flower, her "favorite creation of the conference," she said. Another reunited with an old friend, a tree which had been his refuge when he attended school on that same college campus, years ago.

And what does this mean for my practice? Invest in good cameras and in the time to teach students how to use them, or don't bother with them at all; tailor my instructions to the population with whom I am working - some will be happy to wander with a camera, others will need more structure, others, a more complex challenge; and keep working on this. I am on to something here, I know now. Something big, even if it does start simply, and small. This was the greatest gift I received from participating not only in our think tank but in the entire EMOS conference, the sense that my work was a part of something much larger and more important than I had previously realized. On the brink of environmental catastrophe, our world is hungry for ways to connect, to reconnect, with the Earth. We need new languages, new myths, new ways to make meaning out of our relationships with the non-human world, and thankfully, in a world scarred by the wounds of war of all kinds, those new systems of making meaning will requires changes in the way we understand and interact with one another as well. And what better way of building these new ways of making meaning (or not? "The irreparable?") than through performance, an embodied practice, in a culture that has punished, denied, ignored the body and the Earth it connects us to for too long. I will keep working, keep writing, and keep learning (so as) to teach; and all in mindfulness.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

musings - teaching, Teatro Q

I've just emerged from my first week of afterschool classes at T.A. Brown Elementary, and a series of evening workshops (Teatro Q) with Adelina Anthony, culminating in a reading at Resistencia Books on Saturday night.

I'm thrilled to be at Brown. The afterschool program coordinator is wonderful; she truly cares about the kids, and is organized, really on top of things. I'm finding that having caring, competent administrators makes all the difference in the quality of my teaching experience. Caring, capable teachers just aren't enough; we need support! And the support at Brown really shows. The environment in the afterschool program is calm, and the kids really do have fun. The students are wonderful. A little rambunctious, sure, but they aim to please, and so far don't at all seem to mind being reminded to calm down when things start to get a little too nutsy. An added bonus is that there were two Theatre Action Project teachers at Brown last year, and I'm able to, at least a little bit, build on the work that they did with many of the kids here last year.

I'm comparing my experience here to the year I spent teaching in Wooten Elementary's afterschool program in 2007-2008 (last year I wasn't at an elementary school in the same capacity), and one of the differences I've noticed is that immediately, day one, many of the older kids asked me if I spoke Spanish, where I was from, and wanted to share where they and their families were from; the majority of the kids and their families are from Mexico. I don't remember my students at Wooten talking about such things so openly, and certainly not on their first day with me; though I later did discover that many, if not most, of my students and their families at Wooten were also from Mexico. I wonder why...

I know that one of the TAP teachers who was at Brown before me worked on a curriculum that explored the immigrant experience, through Galveston Island (based on the "Forgotten Gateway" exhibit at the Bob Bullock History Museum) and today, and that the kids did amazing work creating a "digital storybook," featuring a sort of modern fairy tale that they wrote, about the current day Mexican immigrant experience. The TAP afterschool classroom became, my colleague told me, a place where her students could process feelings and experiences that they weren't normally allowed a space to discuss. I can't help but wonder, and hope, if the work she did at Brown has contributed to a cultural shift, making students more comfortable in fully claiming their identities... The pressure's on, for me, I feel, to build on her successes. A wonderful problem to have; I am blessed!

My evenings with Teatro Q were wonderful; I'm particularly happy that the workshop sessions took place at Alma de Mujer. I always find it easier to be fully present in my work there. The week, for me, was refreshing reminders of some of the fundamentals of character development, in both writing and performance, and opportunities to practice practice practice, and to learn from watching others' practice. I'm finding, these days, that I know more about the craft of theatre than I give myself credit for. Not that I don't have plenty to learn. But it's good, sometimes, to know that really I have most of the tools I need at my disposal... it's just the doing, the discipline, that I need at this point. And will always need, as long as I am a practicing artist, really.

What was newer to me was the context in which we were developing work - among women of color, mostly queer Latinas. And it was beautiful, joyful, for me to be working in such a context. To see perspectives and experiences so rarely represented in mainstream theatre, in many of the artistic communities I have known, and to see them foregrounded, approached with love and respect.

I started a piece this week that was hard for me... I'm afraid of writing characters who I consider very different from me. And I've even gotten antsy about performing them too... worried I'll get something "wrong," perpetuate some horrific stereotype... I've found safety in autobiographical writing and performance, in more poetic work, in directing. But art-making is not about safety, not for me, anyways, and not among the communities of artists that I respect, admire, and am now proud to call my own. And there are stories I want to tell, of women and men who are indeed very different from me... so I challenged myself to write from the perspective of a woman I felt I knew nothing about, a woman whose story I felt was important because I knew nothing about it. Because that ignorance is a theft, and that theft leaves a legacy, and... that's another story entirely.

It was hard. That writing was hard. And I ended up putting it aside, as there's a lot of research between me and that character, fully realized, and I wanted to work on a piece that I could feel good about, that could feel "finished" in the short period of time I had available to me. It was useful, nonetheless, to start that writing process; it gave me a clearer of idea of what research exactly I need to do next, to keep the piece moving forward.

And I ended up finishing a piece that I had been trying to write for some time; I made some of my first notes a couple of years ago, and wrote a few drafts this summer, in the form of a letter, but used my workshop time to transform the work into a monologue. I woke up on Friday morning with the words rattling around my head, tears on my cheeks - good tears, like, this is a good and necessary release sort of tears, these are words that must be said kind of tears - and rushed to my notebook as soon as I could. And I'm so pleased, so pleased the piece got a good response. Laughter, electric silence, and "I've thought those things before, but never knew how to say them. Can't wait to see you do more." Wonderful. And I'm thrilled beyond words that I had the opportunity to read with Adelina Anthony, who has been a hero of mine for some time now.

What a beautiful week. Thank you, world. I'm ready for the next...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'm reading tonight!

Just just just (a mere matter of hours ago) got finished with a workshop with Adelina Anthony, Teatro Q, and I'll be reading a piece I workshopped with her at Resistencia, tonight tonight tonight, at her reading! (Details below) Last minute, I know, but check it if you can!

allgo Artist-In-Residence, Adelina Anthony reads her new solo script at Resistencia Bookstore in Austin

"Homeboy Haunts"

DATE: Saturday, September 12, 2009
TIME: 7:00 pm
Place: Resistencia Bookstore, 1801-A S 1st Street, Austin, TXs
Adelina will read her work in-progress and engage participants in providing feedback. This is an important step in Adelina's creative process and allows particpants an opportunity to be a part of the creation of amazing art.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

buena gente working on RELATIVITY; check it out!

Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 12:00 pm
a free staged reading at The Vortex
2307 Manor Road, Austin TX

a performance about space & time
home/land & history
written by Jen Margulies


Daniel Alexander Jones
Nicole Vlado
Matt U. Richardson
KT Shorb
Sue Bilich

Directed by:
Adelina Anthony with Jen Margulies
Dramaturg - Omi Osun Olomo/Joni L. Jones
Costume Design - Senalka McDonald
Movement - Annelize Machado & Omi Osun Olomo/Joni L. Jones

Developed with support from Austin Script Works' Seed Support Fund

Einstein Bros. bagels and brunch snacks available at the Vortex Cafe

Some Makers I admire:

The Esperanza Center for Peace and Justice, member, proud supporter

Sojourn Theatre Company - I attended artistic director Michael Rohd's summer institute in 2006 - an important turning point for me in figuring out how theatre can make good.

Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed greatly influences my work, especially with youth. I got to attend the PTO Conference in 2008 (Thank you Theatre Action Project!)

Albany Park Theatre Project is amazing. I met Artistic Director David Feiner at the University of Texas Teaching Artist Symposium in 2008.

I was an intern at Grrl Action in the summer of 2006, and probably learned more from the students about autobiographical, solo performance than I could have possibly taught them.

I volunteered, writing curriculum and teaching with Las Libres in Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico, in the fall of 2008.

Cornerstone Theater makes wonderful work, and they're supremely nice people to boot. I will study with them someday!

I studied with Yuyachkani in Lima, Peru in November of 2006. Please follow this link. They're incredible.

El Teatro Campesino: I first realized that theatre could make some serious good, and be fun/funny/ridiculous, all at the same time, from reading their actos!

Anne Bogart's work with the SITI company is becoming an increasingly big influence on my work...

Anna Deavere Smith's "Letters to a Young Artist" is one of my 'bibles.' Incredible discipline. Amazing solo performer.

Sharon Bridgforth has been the anchor artist of The Austin Project since it was founded; I participated in her "Finding Voice" workshop in June 2009.

Adelina Anthony is hot hot hot! In all the ways that count! I'm about to learn with/from her in "Teatro Q" this week.

k.t. shorb is my friend and colleague, and an awesome theatre artist.

Anel Flores is also my friend and colleague, and a wonderful writer.

Ana Lara is yet another friend and colleague, amazing artist.

Gloria Anzaldua's "Borderlands" is a sutra.

Some good people I like to make good with:

Theatre Action Project
, Artistic Associate

Teatro Vivo, Associate Company Member

Alma de Mujer, Member, Artist in Residence, November 2009

Kalpulli Teokalli Teoyolotl, Danzante/Guerrera

The Austin Project, Member of 2010-2011 Cohort

Space12, Volunteer

For more information on some of the good I have made,

check it out:

I wrote/performed Muntu all over Austin and then at Muntu: Reflections in East Austin, 2008-2009.

I directed T.A.G., Best of the Fest, Frontera Fest Short Fringe 2009 (top 10 of 80 short pieces).

I taught in/directed Living Newspaper, Summer 2009, and The Teen Arts Puentes Project, Summers 2007 and 2008.

I performed in by a quiet sea, January 2009.

I directed su-students: email wars, an original, devised work, back in the day, in Spring 2006.

some other projects/collaborations, that I don't have links for:

I've performed as...
Gemini, blu, by Vicki Grise, a staged reading directed by Florinda Bryant, Vortex Theater, Austin, TX 2009
Angel/Dolores, Petra's Sueno, by Rupert Reyes, directed by Mary Alice Carnes, The Long Center, Austin, TX 2008
Medea, Medea, by Euripides, directed by Elena Araoz, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX 2005

I directed The Body Dialogues, an original, devised piece, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX 2007

I've taught with Theatre Action Project at...
Wooten Elementary, 2007-2008
Eastside Memorial High School at the Johnston Campus, 2009
Copperfield Elementary, 2009
Brown Elementary, 2009-2010
elementary schools all over Austin, in The Heroes/Los Heroes, a bilingual, interactive performance residency, 2007 - present

Monday, August 31, 2009

audition notice

please forward as appropriate:
director seeks women of color performers interested in experimental approaches to theatre influenced by samuel beckett.
rehearsals: tues, thurs: 7-10; sat 10:30-230 (with some exceptions)
performance: early december

if you are interested in auditioning, please email kt shorb, ktshorb@hotmail.com with times during the audition when you are available.
where: austin, tx; specific location to be shared with auditioners
date: saturday, september 5, 2009
time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm