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Consider A Gift To AATE For The Holidays

Posted By Marcie Granahan, Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Every child (whether they are future artists, educators, computer programmers or construction workers) can benefit from the dramatic arts.  Through performing and creating, they learn how to communicate effectively, develop problem-solving skills, and grow tolerance for those different than themselves.  

Did you know that only 4% of elementary schools and 34% of secondary schools offer drama/theatre in the U.S.?  That's in contrast to 91-94% in music programs and 83-89% in visual arts programs.  The American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) is a passionate advocate of the powerful benefits of combining theatre and education for young people.  We support the artists, educators, and scholars who bring the dramatic arts to our children, and we need your help!  When you support AATE, you're not helping just one school performance, one theatre troupe, one playwright, or one town.  You are helping them ALL.  In 2013, AATE and its members played a major role in developing national core arts standards for children from Pre-K through 12th grade, but our work is far from done.  Throughout the country, our network of volunteers worked tirelessly to advocate the importance of the dramatic arts to state legislators, boards of education, school administrators, and anyone else who would listen.  But there is still much more work to do.  

Your contribution to AATE raises the volume of our collective voices, broadening our reach and expanding the opportunities for youth exponentially.  As you make your list of holiday gifts this year, please don't forget AATE.  Every donation helps a child gain access to drama and theatre.  To learn more about how you can give to AATE, go to

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Call for InciteInsight Article Submissions

Posted By Marcie Granahan, Monday, October 28, 2013

Call for Article Submissions- InciteInsight

InciteInsight, an online publication of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE), announces a call for submission for publication in the fall and winter of 2013.  Submission deadline is November 15, 2013.

InciteInsight is committed to sharing the stories of what is happening in the field of Theatre for Youth in classrooms, theatres, studios and street corners across the country and around the world. We want to hear and share YOUR stories, through the dynamic formats available to us.We are seeking articles for publication that present in one of two major formats:


Scholarly articles that grapple with the theory, history/historiography, qualitative and/or quantitative analysis and research of our field.


Direct experience pieces that share the on-the-ground stories of our field through reflection, criticism, journalism, and analysis.

But within these formats - surprise us! Experiment with images, video, text and structure! Find an interesting way to share this story with the rest of the field. The format of this publication allows for new ways of presenting information, and we are eager to explore what that looks like.

The author must own the copyright of submitted work. By submitting an article, the author gives AATE exclusive publishing rights to the article. At this time we do not offer compensation for submissions.

Submissions should be between 500 and 2,500 words. The content of the article should cover topics related to theatre and education, and should not be a vehicle for self-promotion. Please include at least one photograph for publication that relates to your article, as well as a 50-word biography and headshot. Articles must be submitted in a word format (doc or docx) with any figures or illustrations submitted as separate jpg files.

All articles should be submitted to

Please include this signed statement with your submission:

"I certify that I am the author or sole owner of the material I am submitting to InciteInsight. The American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) may reproduce, distribute, publish, display, edit, modify, create derivative works and otherwise use the material for any purpose in any form and on any media. I agree to indemnify AATE for all damages and expenses that may be incurred in connection with the material."

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Call for 2014 Conference Session Proposals

Posted By Marcie Granahan, Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Call for Session Proposals
2014 AATE National Conference
Traversing the Rockies: Local to Global Theatre Education


The American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) is currently seeking session proposals for its 2014 National Conference:Traversing the Rockies: Local to Global Theatre Education, July 30-August 3, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.

The AATE National Conference offers theatre artists, educators, and scholars from across the country the opportunity to connect with each other within their areas of expertise, as well as across disciplines. Through interactive sessions, keynote speakers, performances, and community-building events, attendees will gather to reflect on their past work, current projects, and future ideas.

First time presenter? AATE offers debut panels sponsored by individual AATE Networks. This year, debut panels will be sponsored by the College/University/Research Network, the High School Network, the International Network, the New Guard Network, and the Professional Development Network. 
If you wish to be considered as a presenter for a debut panel, please contact the appropriate Network Chair to learn more about this process.

To submit a session proposal, please submit the session proposal form by Friday, November 15, 2013.

Contact Information:
Operations Manager

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Draft 9-12 Grade Standards To Be Released September 30, 2013

Posted By Marcie Granahan, Thursday, September 12, 2013

It has been a very busy summer and, for those following the progress of the national core arts standards revision, this summer has been especially busy.

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), a collaboration of nine national arts and education organizations, began its work in the spring of 2011 to plan and revise the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education. Writing teams from dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts--with the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) jointly managing the theatre team--have been working on the creation of new, more robust standards since February 2012. In July 2013, the PreK-8 grade draft standards were released for public comment, and more than 3,000 arts educators, artists, and advocates participated in the online review. We had reviewers from all 50 states, as well as several international reviewers, showing widespread interest in the revision of our nation's arts education standards.

In early August, the writing teams from all five disciplines met to review your comments and are working to incorporate them into the next draft. The responses confirm that you, our colleagues and practitioners in the field, agreed with the construction and framework of the standards. In addition to the Likert and scaled questions, researchers in each discipline captured and distilled the many substantive written comments from reviewers. Matt Omasta, Assistant Professor at Utah State University, conducted the theatre research.

Some of the common questions which were identified in the survey responses include:

  • How do we best balance the need for content within an artistic process framework?
  • How much content is the right balance for a set of standards, without dictating curriculum?
  • How can we simplify our language and still retain the essence of the artistic discipline we are describing?
  • What is the difference between "domain specific language" and jargon when trying to describe an artistic discipline?
  • Are there opportunities for increasing the commonality between the artistic disciplines while distinguishing and honoring the differences between them?

Based on the responses, the writing teams will be collectively developing a glossary of terms for the standards, and a refined, reader-friendly format for the standards themselves, as well as a complimentary web-based architecture that is both searchable and intuitive. No small task, as the writing teams will be putting in long hours through the fall and holiday season to meet the March 2014 deadline for the release of the new standards.

With the edit of the preK-8 grade standards well underway, please mark your calendars for the first public review of the draft 9-12 grade standards beginning September 30, 2013. Visit the coalition's website or the NCCAS Facebook page to learn how you can participate in the review process, and review other documentation and information about our work.

Marcie Granahan
AATE Executive Director

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DC (intern) Talk

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 03, 2013

This summer I had the opportunity to serve as the Volunteer Coordinator for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. It was quite the journey and I am so excited about the journey ahead. Follow the link below to read about my summer! 


A Summer at AATE

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The Growing Stage - The Children's Theatre of New Jersey accepting Play Submissions for 2013-2014 Festival

Posted By Danny Campos, Friday, June 28, 2013
Updated: Friday, June 28, 2013


The Growing Stage Theatre – The Children's Theatre of New Jersey

is now accepting submissions for our 2013-2014 New Play-Reading Festival!

This project is open to any unpublished and unproduced non-musical TYA scripts
to be considered as one of four plays to be featured in the New Play-Reading Festival this coming season
at The Growing Stage Theatre – The Children's Theatre of New Jersey.

The New Play-Reading
is a wonderful opportunity for artists to have their unpublished
works presented before an audience, in a play-reading scenario, by a cast
consisting of both professional and amateur actors on two separate occasions
during our 2013/2014 season.

The Growing Stage is committed to creating and presenting professional
theatre for young people and their families and to provide them with the unique
and affordable opportunity to share a fun, culturally significant moment in an
intimate and special venue, The Historic Palace Theatre. Young people are also
given the opportunity to grow as performers by working alongside professional
actors as part of the theatre learning experience. Shows usually require a
minimum of 4 characters/performers; there is no maximum, provided that if
necessary, doubling is OK with the playwright.

The initial play readings will take place, one per day,
November 7 through 10. After the reading of each play, there will be a dialogue
among the audience, performers and playwright. The second set of readings will
take place, again, one per day, March 6 through 9. After the play readings in
March, one of the four scripts will then be selected to be presented as a
fully mounted

in The Growing Stage's 2014/2015
Main Stage season!!!

Please send script submissions for the New Play-Reading Festival and subsequently for the 2014/2015 Main
BY OCTOBER 1st to the company's Production
Manager and head of the festival, Steve Graham:

Or to:

The Growing Stage Theatre

Attn: Steve Graham

 P.O. Box 36

Netcong, NJ 07857

If your script submission is an
adaptation, we do ask that you also please include proof that you have
permission from the author to adapt their work.

If you would like to learn more about the mission of The
Growing Stage Theatre, please visit:


Tags:  New Plays  Playwrighting  Playwrights 

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Getting Our Critical On!

Posted By Gustave J. Weltsek, Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In the most recent issue of Youth Theatre Journal, we started a dialogue of how pedagogy informs our practice. The conversation continues here on AATE's Community Blog, and we invite you to join in.

"Theory emanates from practice and that knowledge grows from and is reflective of social experience." -- We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change by Myles Horton and Paulo Freire, Temple University Press (1990)


So let's pick up where we left off in our journal article, Postcolonial, Postmodern, Postracial, Postqueer Positionality in a...Aw Hell, I'm Just Trying to Do Good Work: A Dialogue of Identity, Intention, and Position: Part I.

We're playing with how we use, combine and/or modify multiple pedagogical theories within the moment of "doing teaching".

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Transforming STEM to STEAM: Putting the Art Back Into Science

Posted By D.W. Gregory, Monday, February 25, 2013
How can we transform STEM to STEAM? Or more to the point how can that missing "A” can be incorporated into—and actually enhance---the teaching of other core subjects?


STEM, as we know is an initiative to emphasize SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, and MATH in the classroom. For lovers and teachers of the arts—all manner of art—the fact that music, painting, dance, theatre—even literature—is missing from this initiative is not just an unfortunate oversight, it is troubling evidence of an attitude that pervades our culture, which is that the arts are secondary—extraneous, fluff, unimportant—while science and technology are essentials.

To believe that is to be blind to the role of the arts not just in education but in our very lives. As theatre artists, we know that the arts and humanities are vital to helping young people develop essential skills—not the least of which is the exercise of the imagination. Without the ability to envision, the scientific mind would never think past the world as it exists now in the present.

In a recent essay, Princeton University Professor Danielle Allen reminds us:

"You can’t do well in math and engineering if you can’t read proficiently, and … reading is the province of courses in literature, language and writing. Nor can you do well in science and technology if you can’t interpret images and develop effective visualizations—skills that are strengthened by courses in art and art history.”

And, I would argue, by classes in drama.

Arts and science are not mutually exclusive disciplines but rather, are all of a piece—painting and geometry, poetry and chemistry, drama and physics, dance and biology, music and calculus. All of these are expressions of our profound human capacity for inquiry, creation, inspiration and exploration.

And let us not forget that the artist, like the scientist, deals in questions. Like science, the arts takes the measure of the world around us, but unlike science, they also takes a measure of the world within us. And for this reason helps us all to become more fully human, more reflective, more open, more critical—in our thinking—more confident in our own ideas. This notion that there exists a natural and necessary separation between these fields—and that one is somehow lesser than the other—never occurred to Leonardo Da Vinci; nor to Goethe, a man of letters who was fascinated by science. Anton Chekhov would have been surprised to learn that his degree in medicine disqualified him from writing plays and short stories. We all know that John James Audubon, a pioneer in the field of ornithology, was an accomplished illustrator. Today we know him better for his paintings of birds than for his careful observations and documentations of thousands of species. Even Mark Twain was an advocate of scientific inquiry, and a champion of that most useful of inventions, the typewriter.

So we are at a strange juncture in our times. Forced to defend the arts. Forced to show the value of an essential part of human experience that a generation ago, no one thought to question. Our struggle now is to bring the arts back into the classroom and integrate them—in our particular case, theatre and drama—into the teaching of other subjects. So I was heartened to see this statement in Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards for grade 5:

Are you ready?

"Musical instruments vibrate to create sound!”

Right there it is: an invitation to any science teacher presenting a lesson in sound waves. To use a musical instrument as part of the study of force, motion, and energy—a violin, let us say—to show that pitch is the frequency of a vibrating object. A string. Or the teacher might use a series of percussion instruments to demonstrate the concept of amplitude.

I am heartened to read this because if there is room in the science classroom for violins and drums, there is certainly room for us.

And drama has much to offer in rendering science and technology accessible and vital. I know this from personal experience, having written a play, RADIUM GIRLS, about the dialpainters who were poisoned on the job in the 1920s. RADIUM GIRLS is not so much a play about science as a play about capitalism. But the discovery of radium and its commercial and medical applications is central to the story, and so the play becomes a useful study in what happens when an eager corporation—besotted by a brand new technology—ignores the warnings of the scientific community. It is really a play about the exploitation of science for commercial purposes.

You have only to open the newspaper and read about fracking in the Marcellus Shale formation to know how relevant this story is to us today—one hundred years later.

But it is important to keep in mind that in writing this play, I did not set out to teach a lesson about science. I set out to write something that I felt very passionate about. I was drawn to the story of these women and their struggle, and I was fascinated by the idea that a miracle cure—an amazing scientific discovery!—could turn out to be the agent of so much destruction.

It is important to keep in mind that while we can use drama to teach lessons about scientific discoveries or technological advancements. We have to remember that the conventions of drama bring their own demands. And first and foremost is that we tell a good story. So when we invite our students to write plays dealing with science or technology, it is critical that we FIND the story first.

And as we know, at the heart of any good story there is always a character on a quest.

Which is what makes science such a ripe area for exploration on stage…because it is all about the inquiry. So I share a few points to keep in mind as we develop these plays:

  1. First, behind every great breakthrough or discovery are individuals who did not stop searching or questioning. These individuals encountered many barriers—whether the resistance of their peers or community, the limitations of their resources, the failures of early experiments—or their own insecurities. Consider how many times the Wright brothers flopped into the sand at Kitty Hawk before that breathtaking moment on the morning Dec. 17, 1903, when Wilbur Wright flew 800 yards into history. The history of science is full of these stories—stories of failure, persistence, and triumph. So by inviting your students to explore these stories, you are inviting them to relive these discoveries through their own eyes.

  2. Second, in order to tell these stories, your students will have to research not just the lives of the scientists but the historical context in which these men and women worked. So to write a play about Copernicus, your students will need to know not only about the movement of heavenly bodies but also about the political power of the Roman Catholic Church at the time, and the pressure a scientist might feel to change his story if he thought his immortal soul—or his immediate survival—depended on it. So we need to be open to the idea that we might not always be writing a story of persistence and triumph. It might be a story of persistence and defeat. But whatever it is, the play about a scientist on a quest will always be about so much more than the science alone. So the play about a man who figured out that the Earth revolves around the sun, but later discounted his own discovery under pressure from religious interests, is also a play about the intersection of politics and religion, about abuse of power and the limited ability of a single individual to stand up to overt injustice, about all the forces within the life of this man that led him to his capitulation.

  3. Three, when you invite your students to write these, you must also give them the freedom to invent. It will be inevitable that they have to invent a little if they are going to write any kind of play about historical figures. We all know the famous story of how Isaac Newton discovered gravity when he was hit on the head by an apple—probably apocryphal, but still fun. Only…how did he come to be in that orchard in the first place? And did he eat the apple? You can be sure those questions would come up, and must come up if we were to stage that story. And however your student dramatist chooses to answer those questions—or other questions—the student will have to learn a good deal about Newton to do it. And in the process, the student might stumble onto an even better story. The man who discovered gravity also invented calculus, but he had rivals in this, and they were all in a race for recognition. And that story—of exactly to what a lengths an ambitious man is willing to go to make his name as a scientist—that story has all the elements of a great play.

So this is the stuff of drama—a scientist, a quest, a reason to seek the answer. Fame? Fortune? Impress the wife? And something vitally important to lose if he (or she) should fail. And my personal sense, having written a two-hour play that draws on 10 years of history and discovery and debate—that involved dozens of medical and scientific figures—is that researching the story can be as exciting as writing it. But when it comes to write it, you must set yourself free. You cannot have a dozen doctors treating five different women; you don’t have time for that on stage. So one doctor stands in for the dozen; one dentist stands in for all the others, and one girl and her friend become the focus of the play—not the five who actually brought the lawsuit. And because I needed to show the terrible loss that this poor young woman endured, I invent a fiancé who dreams of a simple family life that is ultimately denied him because of her illness. And this creates a dramatic tension that pulls the story out of the page—out of the legal transcripts, the notations, and letters on file at the Library of Congress—and creates a relationship that the audience invests and eventually mourns when it ends.

But let me offer this caveat: Yes you can mess with timelines because you will have to, and you can invent characters and you can move a confrontation from the street to the church sanctuary if you need to. That is a dramatist’s prerogative. But my personal sense is that ultimately, you must be true to the outcome and above all, be true to the science—do not mess with the science!—and your story will ring with authenticity.

The other caveat that I would make is that the history of science lends itself to dramatization more readily than scientific principles. It is hard to write a play about gravity, much easier to write a play about the man who discovers it. But we can also write a play in which gravity is a barrier to be broken. As we know, what goes up, must come down…unless it has wings. Then it comes down when it wants to. So how does that character come to take flight? Is it Wilbur Wright? Or someone we never met before—who has figured out another way to be unbound by the forces of nature. Perhaps your students would like to tell that story. It is certainly a play I would love to.

DW Gregory recently presented at the Richmond TIOS mini-conference. She is the chair of AATE’s playwriting network and the author of RADIUM GIRLS and THE GOOD GIRL IS GONE, both available from Dramatic Publishing. Check out Gregory’s blog for ruminations and updates on this article and her plays.

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Theatre in our Schools Month 2013

Posted By Betsy D. Williams, Thursday, February 14, 2013

It is almost March which means it is almost time for THEATRE IN OUR SCHOOLS MONTH!! This is a time of year when theatre artists and educators can proudly bring attention to the work that we do all year with young people.  There are so many ways we strive to bring theatre into our schools, that is is good to step back, reflect, and celebrate!

The theme for TIOS 2013 is Fostering a Culture of Creativity.  I am fortunate to have started a new job this year at a fine arts magnet school within the Chicago Public School system.  This new position has made me question the nature of creativity and how we cultivate it within our students because this is honestly the most creative teaching environment in which I have ever worked.  These K-8 students are fearless and passionate and imaginative.  Their sense of play is celebrated and it shines through in all their work.  What is it about the culture at this school?  How can we maintain this commitment to creativity?  Is there a way to foster a similar environment in other schools?

It is my hope that some of these questions will be addressed in AATE's TIOS 2013 programming.  What questions do you have regarding creativity and the role it plays in your life?  Attend one of the nine different mini-conferences being offered across the country over the next few weeks and find creative communities close to your home.  Wear your show shirt on Friday, March 8th and use it as a way to bring creativity into your work place.  Follow the "Tweet Treats" or get on twitter yourself and tweet about how you teach creativity to your young artists.

 Whatever you do to celebrate TIOS, I hope your March is full of creativity!

Tags:  mini-conference  show shirt  theatre in our schools  tios 

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Pirates, PD, & Pedagogy

Posted By Lisa Mitchell, NY TIOS Co-Chair, Monday, February 11, 2013
There is three feet of snow on the ground, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, and Beyonce blew a fuse at the Superdome… coincidence, or premonitions of something unprecedented on the horizon?

March marks AATE’s Theatre in Our Schools month, and as part of the festivities, preparations are underway for regional conferences around the country. My co-chair, Nicole Lorenzetti and I, along with an esteemed committee of dedicated theatre-educators and administrators, are hard at work gearing up for the New York TIOS Conference. The event, which will be held on March 4th at Broadway’s American Airlines Theater, serves theatre education practitioners of all stripes, and will be an opportunity for professional development, networking, and most importantly, inspiration.

This year’s theme, "Fostering a Culture of Creativity” will be explored through dynamic plenary and breakout sessions. We’re beyond thrilled that the renowned Story Pirates will be our keynote presenters— join us to discover their approaches for developing student voice and expression. We’ve also got a panel of diverse educators who will be sharing their experiences and goals for Universal Design in their schools, as well as workshops exploring: Lincoln Center Institute’s Capacities for Imaginative Learning, process drama, storytelling & early childhood literacy, and inclusion through the arts.

It is shaping up to be an inspiring day of learning and growth—the only thing missing is you. Register now to take advantage of the best available rates, and come spend the day learning and sharing on Broadway. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

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