2018 Women in Theater Pre-Conference

 Staged Reading Son of SoilThis year the Women and Theatre Program Pre-conference had the theme of Revolutionary Pedagogy. It was a wonderful day of panels, workshops, and awards, including a reading of the 2018 Student Jane Chambers Award Winning Play, Son of Soil by Andie Berry. (Andie is in blue, second from left).

 The program begins with this quote by bell hook, from Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black (1989):

To make a revolutionary feminist pedagogy, we must relinquich our ties to traditional ways of teaching that reinforce domination...

We must learn from one another, sharing ideas and pedagogical strategies."

That is exactly what happened during this wonder day. During the first session I attended the panel on Revolutionary Pedagogy in Action: Three Approaches to Active Engagement and Empowerment in  The Classroom. I particularly enjoyed the exercise where we looked up something feminist online and then were encouraged to write a five-minute play about it. The resulting topics were inspiring.

The panelists were:

  • Lynn Deboeck, Univesity of Utah,  "Improve and Liveness as Active Pedagogy."
  • Laura Neill, Boston University, "Joy and Choice: Empowering Revolutionaries"
  • Heather Welch, Bridgewater State University, "Actively Engaging First Year Seminar Students: The Use of Active Concisouenss and Feminist Playwriting."
  • Moderator: Chrstine Young, University of San Francisco.
Gina Young and Claire WardenThe second session featured two workshops, one by Gina Young entitled How to Teach a Feminist Acting Class and one by Claire Warden: Working with Consent and Intimate Scenes in the Rehearsal Room. I participated in Claire Warden's workshop, and I am still reflecting on the issues of consent that came up.
Then came the reading of the 2018 Student Jane Chambers Award Winning Play, Son of Soil by Andie Berry. Andie Berry is a writer and scholar from Silver Spring, Maryland. She is a second-year student in the English Ph.D. program at Yale University where she studies the intersections between trauma, collective memory, performance, and race in late-20th and 21st century dramatic literature. Read more about Andie and the play here.
The last panel for me was the panel I was on, entitled Celebrating a Legacy, Empowering Future Generations: The 35th Anniversary of the Jane Chambers Award. Participants included:
  • Sara Warner, Cornell University
  • Alison McMahan, Filmmaker
  • Gina Young, playwright and former Jane Chambers Award Winner
  • Moderator: Kristen Wright, Cornell University
 My part of the panel consister of showing a new trailer for The Eight Faces of Jane and answering some questions about the film. We also had a lively discussion about what was a feminist play. Some conclusions: a feminist play dealth with the interstitial, showed women with agency, was conscious of issues of class and race and identity politics. 

See the trailer here.