Educators Dive In

As you may already know, Geva offers a diverse collection of programs for students and young artists in Rochester. But what do we do here at Geva for the educators in our community? I’m glad you asked!

Educators experimenting with their craft at Immersion Day
Educators experimenting at Immersion Day

Since 1999 we have hosted a special day of artist-driven workshops just for educators. For many years they were called “Hands On Workshops” and only in the past few years have they come to be known as “Immersion Weekend” or “Immersion Day for Educators” depending on that year’s offerings. The premise was, and still is, to offer a retreat for educators and administrators where they could come, immerse themselves in art, and rekindle their inner artist while learning and honing artistic skills, earning Professional Development credit, networking with other teachers, sharing ideas and resources across the academic and professional theatre spectrum, and infusing their classroom curriculum with fresh artistic approaches that not only nurture the teacher directly, but also his or her students by association. And, of course, the workshops have always lived up to their promise of being lively, engaging and, frankly, just a whole lot of fun!

In the past we have offered workshops in improvisation, theatre games for young actors, communication through movement, self expression, acting, vocalization, scene work, monologues, character development, intro to playwriting, intro to theatre design, and citizen artists. But much like any program, the Immersion Day program has grown and changed over time. The original Hands On Workshop began with one several hour long workshop that touched on multiple topics – everything from theatre games and vocal warm-ups to scene work – that teachers could use back in their classrooms. A few years later that format evolved into a few specialized classes that educators could pick and choose from, attending the sessions that interested them the most. A couple of years ago we offered acting, movement, improvisation and monologue workshops – a sampling of the training students receive when they attend the Geva Summer Academy program and an opportunity for the educators of our community to really rejuvenate the artist within themselves. We also experimented with spreading out the workshops over a two-day period for a true retreat experience.

This year, for the 2013 Immersion Day for Educators coming up at the end of January, we have another exciting agenda in mind! We’ve selected the highlights of the process, skills, and inspiration for the theatre we create here at Geva year-round and instilled them into one day with three dynamic workshops! This year’s workshops are all process-driven excerpts of the things we work on daily here at the theatre while we mount a production. Immersion Day will take the educator through the full experience of a production from start to finish, and all three sessions (which are taught by Geva’s own professional artist-educators) work in tandem together really nicely. The workshops are designed for all educators and administrators who have an interest in theatre – from the seasoned theatre instructor to the teacher who is looking for ways to introduce artistry into the classroom. Here are the workshops Immersion Day will include this year:

Dramaturgy: Researching & Interpreting the Text – A strong production is built on a foundation of practical research and creative interpretation. Learn how to read and think like a dramaturg, discover what resources to use, consider how research and analysis can affect all aspects of a production – from design to directing to acting choices – and investigate multiple ways to approach and interpret a script.

Directing Young Artists: Guiding Students to Discovery and Choice – Through an exploration of the directing process and an engaging discussion about the excitements and challenges of directing youth, we’ll share ideas for guiding a cast and encouraging them to relish in discovery, and we’ll explore choice and the development of a cohesive concept that allows the story and characters to shine.

Creative Solutions: Space, Resources, and the Scientific Method – How can improvisation, creative problem solving, and even the scientific method aid in experimentation with acting, help you make artistic choices, and stage your work within the space, time, resources, and budget at your disposal? This workshop is a fun and dynamic introduction to using what you’ve got to find creative solutions for everyday puzzles.

Juicy stuff, right? To borrow a line from Next to Normal, “Makes you want to dive in with both feet, doesn’t it?”

You can read more about the 2013 Immersion Day for Educators here.


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