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Sep 18 2017 - 08:00 PM
Learning Theater Spotlight: The Art of Creating Through Play

"Play is the highest form of research," said Albert Einstein. Yet, as any child knows, some environments give more freedom to the imagination than others. Teaching artist and professional performer Judy Tate encourages play wherever she teaches, but the Learning Theater, she says, gives students an incredible space to take risks and express their voices. For her, play is at the heart of creating. And while teaching at the Literacy Unbound summer institute, she used the freedom of the Learning Theater to help participating students and teachers play, brainstorm, and tap into their inner imagination to create an original performance based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

As much as Tate values play, she works even harder in her more than 20-year-long career in theater and television. As a writer, she has won four Emmys and a Writer’s Guild of America award for her work on Another World, Days of Our Lives, and As the World Turns. She is also the Co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of The American Slavery Project, a theatrical production created in response to revisionist history. For this, Tate helped create Unheard Voices, a series of monologues by 17 African American writers examining the lives of anonymous Africans living in colonial New York. As a professional actor, Tate has worked in theaters throughout the U.S. and Southern Africa, and she has been a member of Ensemble Studio Theater for over 20 years. And if that isn't cool enough, Tate also studied with Stella Adler while completing her degree at Tisch School of the Arts.

In addition to her performance credits, Tate is also a passionate teaching artist. In this role, she has worked with students all over the country in alternative schools, prisons, shelters, reservations, camps, and workshops, including 14 years working with high school inmates on Rikers Island. Tate's most recent teaching role was at the Literacy Unbound institute, where high school students and teachers come together for a 2-week program to read and create a performance based on a piece of literature. Through encouraging play in the Learning Theater space, Tate was able to help the aspiring performers take risks, find their voices, and create a piece of art at once fleeting, novel, and powerful.

Music: Isma Roktar by Thiaz Itch

Posted in: New Learning TimesVialogues|By: EdLab Studios|452 Reads