Friday, April 13, 2012

Playwrights Theatre’s Staff Members To Speak on New York University Young Audience Panel

The “Which Way TYA? New Directions for Theater for Young Audiences” conference will be held at New York University on April 27-29, 2012. For a schedule of events and to register, visit

Playwrights Theatre’s Director of Education (and New York University Ph.D. candidate in Educational Theatre), Jim DeVivo, will be presenting “The New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival: Cultivating Young Artists in the Garden State”. He will be joined by former New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival winners Summer Dawn Hortillosa, Constantine Lignos and Justine DeSilva.

John Pietrowski, Playwrights Theatre’s Artistic Director and a 2012 recipient of the New Jersey New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship in Playwriting, will be part of a plenary keynote panel entitles “The Writer, The Future.” He will be joined by Theatre for Young Audiences playwright and author, Sandra Fenichel Asher and playwright/director Brendan Murray from the United Kingdom.

The program will also include Theatre for Young Audiences directors, writers and artists from across the world: Dr. Gerd Taube (Frankfurt, Germany), Dr. Manon van de Water (U of Wisconsin), Martin Drury (Irish Arts Council), Mary Rose Lloyd (New Victory, New York), Kim Peter Kovac (Kennedy Center, Washington DC), Peter C Brosius (CTC, Minneapolis), Roxanne Schroeder-Arce (U of Texas) and David Wood (London, England).

The Forum, convened by NYU guest professor and former Unicorn Artistic Director Tony Graham, is designed for TYA practitioners, researchers in TYA and applied theatre, educators, and students of educational theatre. The weekend-long event will offer panel discussions, workshops, and narratives, as well as opportunities to see current theatre for young audiences in New York City at special ticket prices. Mr. Graham notes: “I think that all our work, whether in the classroom or in the theater, asks the same question: how much of our work is ‘ought’, and how much is driven by art?” The Forum will examine key issues in the future of TYA, including cultural translation, self-censorship and morality, the role of the playwright and dramaturg in new works, new trends and innovations in TYA including Theatre for the Very Young (TVY), and issues of participation and youth in TYA.

Mr. Graham added: “At the Forum, we’re going to be blasted with a whole lot of fresh thinking, and we’ll see more clearly where we want to be heading!”

Jim DeVivo is a teaching artist who specializes in creating theatre with, for, and by young people. He is a PhD candidate in the Program in Educational Theatre at the Steinhardt School of Education at NYU and an adjunct at NYU and Middlesex County College. For Playwrights Theatre, Jim coordinates the New Jersey Writers Project residencies, the Creative Arts Academy classes, and the statewide and local Young Playwrights Festivals. At NYU, Jim is the Artistic Associate for the New Plays for Young Audiences Series at the Provincetown Playhouse. Jim has presented at national conferences for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) regarding his work in playwriting and new play development for young people. Jim's work with teachers includes workshops in drama-in-education practices at the NJEA Convention and at secondary schools across New York and New Jersey. He is a frequent reader/adjudicator for local and nationwide writing and recitation contests and consulted on the theatre exit exams for the NJ Department of Education. As an actor, Jim performed with the New Plays for Young Audiences Series and with the Artpark Repertory Theatre in Lewiston, NY. As a dramaturg, he has worked with undergraduate playwriting students at Niagara University and NYU. Jim is the recipient of the Lowell S. and Nancy Swortzell Graduate Scholarship (2008-2009), a member of the Liverpool (NY) Central School District Fine Arts Hall of Fame, a member of the advisory board for the Union County Academy of Performing Arts, and a recipient of a NJ Governor's Award in Arts Education (2009).

John Pietrowski is currently the Artistic Director of Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey (PTNJ), where he has overseen the nationwide New Play Development Program, the New Jersey Writers Project (in partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts), PTNJ Creative Arts Academy, Poetry Out Loud, New Jersey Emerging Women Playwrights Program, and the Literary Artists Fellowship (both in partnership with NJSCA) for the past twenty-six years. He has directed numerous world premier productions at Playwright Theatre, as well as NJRep, Oldcastle Theatre, Premiere Stages, Shadowland Theatre, The Growing Stage (a TYA Theatre), and What Exit? Theatre, to name a few. His direction of the TYA play A Midnight Cry at The Growing Stage (TGS) was chosen by Bank of America as their representative NJ production for Black History Month in 2008, and he recently directed a production of Mother Hicks with a deaf and mute actor in the role of Tuck at TGS. As an actor, he played the role of Andrew Schrag in David Wiltse’s Sedition at both Playwrights Theatre and Shadowland, and Zeblyan in Two Jews Walk into a War, at PTNJ, NJRep, Shadowland, and InterAct Theatres. He designed the original curriculum for PTNJ’s Juvenile Justice program, was the Program Director for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Theatre Program for Teachers and Playwrights, and currently teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Kean University. His plays have been performed at Foundation Theatre, Loaves and Fish Theatre Company and Playwrights Theatre, and his most recent play, Dura Mater, was the basis of his being awarded a Playwriting Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. He holds a BS in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, an MPA from Seton Hall University in nonprofit management, and is currently working towards a Master Certificate in Creative Placemaking in the first ever offering of this program at Rutgers University. He is married to stage manager and properties designer Danielle Constance Pietrowski.

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