Day 2: Stories old and new

So our work on Day 2 accidentally landed on the theme of storytelling. I didn't plan it that way, but sometimes these things are happy accidents. I've learned to just accept what bubbles up and be #grateful for the connections that emerge organically.

We started the day with a two-hour workshop with Orla Hasson, a colleague and friend who works in applied theatre settings like community groups and prisons.  She lead our group through a workshop focused on sharing our personal stories through single word descriptors, gestures, and movements. She even had the group create a short movement piece that showed our community as this class in this moment and where we hope to arrive by the end of our experience together on January 29. It was fascinating to watch, and I learned a lot about how the group thinks of themselves as individuals and as a collective, and also what they think about me as the instructor. Humbling and reflective. That's how Orla works, and it was a pleasure to be in her presence and in her care.

Looking at a visual representation of characteristics that people see or think about us.

Looking at a visual representation of characteristics that people see or think about us.

The students with workshop leader Orla Hasson (fourth from left).

The students with workshop leader Orla Hasson (fourth from left).

Closer image of the visual representations of characteristics.  How are we linked together?

Closer image of the visual representations of characteristics.  How are we linked together?

We then moved on to a walking tour of London's West End and learned many new things about the history of London theatre and the reasons for the emergence of this concentrated area of performance spaces. It's one of the most important theatre districts in the world, so hearing the stories of these theatres and the people who worked in them helped us to understand how our trip to London connects to an international perspective on theatre as an art form.

Students on the walking tour.

Students on the walking tour.

Students with tour guide Peter Clancy, with the famous Coliseum in the background. It's the building with the revolving globe on top.

Students with tour guide Peter Clancy, with the famous Coliseum in the background. It's the building with the revolving globe on top.

Final stop on the tour: Her Majesty's Theatre in the background.

Final stop on the tour: Her Majesty's Theatre in the background.

Our day closed out with a performance of Les Miserables. Now with all the theatre happening in London, one might ask why I chose for the group to see a show that's been running for 30 years. The answer: Peter Lockyer, a Steinhardt alum who is starring as Jean Valjean in the original West End production. I had the pleasure of having Peter as a student many years ago (2007), and he very graciously met with us after giving a fantastic performance. It was an absolute pleasure to see him work, and he shared some really helpful insights about the differences between working in US versus a UK context. But he also provided some valuable insights about life long learning, and I know that's what I'm taking away from our time with him. An honor to say that he's an alum of NYU Steinhardt.

Students and staff with Peter Lockyer (front row, second from right), a Steinhardt alum starring as Jean Valjean in the West End production of Les Miserables.

Students and staff with Peter Lockyer (front row, second from right), a Steinhardt alum starring as Jean Valjean in the West End production of Les Miserables.