Author: Kyla Searle

From Our Friends at AATE!

AATE is now accepting applications for their 2019 Conference Session Proposals! For more information on how to submit, frequently asked questions, or session proposal tips please visit:

The 32nd annual American Alliance for Theatre and Education Conference will take place in New York City from August 1-5, 2019. The conference theme is “Activate AATE: Exploring Theatre Educators’ Role and Responsibility

AATE’s 32nd annual conference will be held in diverse, dynamic and vibrant New York City from August 1-5, 2019. In a city known for its diversity, culture, and, arts conference attendees will explore how theatre artists, educators, and scholars can be responsive and effective in the current socio-political climate. AATE Members are uniquely poised to be a force for positivity, action, and empathy building at this pivotal moment when the need for self-expression and dialogue is so palpable. The conference will provide a place for the arts education community to come together and spend time discussing the current issues through curated sessions and facilitated conversations. Join us in 2019 to question, to learn, to celebrate – and to Activate AATE.

Theater Master Workshop Invite from NYC DOE!

THE CHARACTER FORMULA: A Master Workshop with Larry Silverberg (11/1/2018)


This is a truly special event on November 1.  I am thrilled to welcome Larry Silverberg, internationally renowned acting teacher and author, as he leads us through his transformative workshop The Character Formula. Subsidized tickets are $10.

Larry, who studied with Sandy Meisner and is an expert in his approach, explores the core human components of theatre, what he calls “the Human Map.” His session as has been described as a powerful path of aliveness, connection, and self-expression to impact one’s well being as well as one’s theater practice.

Hope you can join us for what promises to be an experiential evening designed to recharge as we look inwards as another step towards being responsive and supportive facilitators of our students bringing their passionate, whole, present and brave selves to any theater work.

  •  Location: Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and  the Performing Arts (100 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023)
  • Date: November 1, 2018
  • Time: 6:00PM – 8:00PM
  • Cost: Special subsidized fee of $10 per person
  • TO REGISTER: Please visit


News from the OASP

In September, the Roundtable Co-Chairs (Sobha Kavanakudiyil and Jennifer DiBella) met with Paul King, the Executive Director of the Office of Arts and Special Services (OASP). Here is some information he shared with us:

  • The Office of Arts & Special Projects staff contact information can be found HERE. The most recent appointment is Alexa Fairchild, Arts for Diverse Learners Program Manager.
  • The new Chancellor is very supportive of the arts in schools and committed to equity, access, and excellence. The NYC DOE will provide mandated implicit bias training to its employees within 2 years. Also, all teachers will participate in training to support culturally responsive pedagogy.
  • There is a focus to address the lack of sequential arts education instruction at the elementary school level.
  • The name for “English Language Learners” has generally transitioned to “English as a New Language”. The NYC DOE is developing strategies to be sure that ENL students don’t lose access to arts instruction.
  • The NYC DOE has restructured its website to communicate with constituents and NYC DOE personnel:
    • Main NYC DOE site ( will be primarily for parents and families‎.
    • Info Hub ( will be for cultural partners and other constituents with public facing resources.
    • WeTeachNYC ( will house materials and resources for educators; some content will require a NYC DOE login.

**The Roundtable will be hosting a special event in November with the team from the Office of Arts & Special Projects profiling the roll-out of the new New York State Arts Standards on November 13th from 4-6pm.  Registration is required for this free, members only, event.**

Roundtable Welcomes Interim Managing Director

NYC Arts in Education Roundtable’s Managing Director, Kyla Searle, will be transitioning out of her role this month. She has been awarded a fellowship with Harvard University, while also completing her MFA in Playwriting at Brown University. We are very proud of her and wish her the best of luck! As we begin the search for a new Managing Director, Kimberly Olsen, will step in as our Interim Managing Director and can be reached at

My Full Experience at the International Teaching Artist Conference

By Heleya de Barros

It’s been two weeks since I walked out of Carnegie Hall, after three jam-packed days at the 4th International Teaching Artist Conference (ITAC). I walked out a bit dazed, very tired, invigorated, and incredibly—amazingly—full. I ambled towards the subway with a colleague I’d met, but couldn’t quite bring myself to get on the train and just “go home.” It seemed crazy to follow my typical pattern after an experience like ITAC.

Instead, I walked passed the 59th Street subway and into Central Park. I needed to digest. Two weeks later, after more time contemplating, sorting through notes, listening to recordings, and many conversations with colleagues both at the conference and not, it is still hard to put this experience into words. I keep coming back to that fullness I felt as I walked into the park.

Over the 3 day conference I attended 9 break-out sessions representing 7 countries on 5 continents (Australia, Cambodia, Columbia, Guatemala, UK, USA), 3 keynote addresses (by a dancer, photographer, and theatre artist), 1 site-visit, 1 live performance, and 1 live podcast recording. And I met a lot of teaching artists. Sure, the name of the conference might suggest this, but my past conference experiences have taught me to expect to be one of few TAs in a sea of administrators. There was something very special about walking into a room of 300 people who do what you do. These were my people. I immediately felt seen and understood at ITAC. The conference’s final report quoted nearly 300 attendees (whom they call delegates) representing 28 countries.

I spoke with many others who expressed the same feeling of belonging, and the power that can come from that. One visual artist teaching artist (TA) from Vermont, Alexandra Turner, told me it had been empowering for her to claim the title of Teaching Artist, “I’ve been putting together part-time jobs for so many years and I didn’t know there was a name for it, or a community of people doing it. When I owned this title of Teaching Artist it changed my whole perception of myself and my work to someone who belongs to a community of amazing and impactful people.” Others wondered if they were missing out on finding a larger community in their field at home because different titles were used across the field. Is a teaching artist the same as a community artist or a participatory artist? Many were impressed with New York for having a very clear community around the single title of TA.

It isn’t surprising to me that the feeling of belonging was so desired and celebrated. Much of what we do as TAs can be solitary and we can often lose sight of the fact that we do belong to a community of artists who—do what we do. One conference organizer Eric Booth (who jovially refers to himself as the oldest living TA) kept referring to the delegates as leaves on a tree. This analogy was referenced frequently throughout the conference. We leaves sometimes forget (or lose sight) that we are rooted on a branch with other leaves, which is rooted on the trunk of a tree with many other branches. To that end, one of the collaborative projects launched at the conference was the Global History Timeline an online record of the history of teaching artistry. There is power in naming your history as well as your title. This is a living document. You can submit entries here.

I wondered before the conference if my experience as a TA in New York City was comparable to others in the US or around the world; or did we live in our own microcosm here? I almost feel silly for questioning this now. Of course there were similarities, particularly in the approaches to, and the challenges of, the work. The specifics of the settings or social, cultural, and institutional challenges in the 28 countries represented may be different, but our strategies were not. Active listening. How to enter a community as an outsider? How to leave a community? Recognition of the links of systemic oppression and working towards dismantling them through our art. How to fund the work? How to sustain the work? How to tell another’s story? Should you tell another’s story? How to communicate what we do?

In his keynote address photojournalist Aaron Huey spoke of his many years working in the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation in South Dakota, “When you leave a community like Pine Ridge they are left wondering not IF, but HOW you will misrepresent them.” Dancer and choreographer Liz Lerman posed, “I’m curious how we listen. I’m wondering how we listen with our whole artist self,” in her keynote. James Miles, Executive Director of ArtsCorps in Seattle, WA seemed to answer during the live-recorded podcast of Teaching Artistry with Courtney J. Boddie when he said, “Artists must listen to other people’s stories with love.”

Edie Demas, Sobha Kavanakudiyil, Penelope McCourty, James Miles and Courtney Boddie at the live podcast recording of Teaching Artistry with Courtney J. Boddie. Photo credit Christopher Totten.

In my last session, facilitated by Santiago Gonzalez from Corporacion Otra Escuela in Colombia, we were handed a handful of coffee beans. After each exercise exploring conflict Santiago had us take out the coffee beans, smell them, and bring ourselves back into the room and into our own bodies through the smell. He ended the session by saying, “You don’t HAVE a body, you ARE a body.”

I am a body. I am an artist. And we are a body of teaching artists in NYC, in the Northeast, in the US, and around the world. Although, I was left wondering if the question was not that we forget we are leaves that make up a tree, but that many of us don’t know we are part of a tree to begin with. While we seem to have the nomenclature of teaching artist settled in NYC (if you disagree, let me know), we still struggle to see, and actively engage, the entire tree of our teaching artist community.

While at the conference a NYC TA colleague mentioned she’d just come from a training for an arts education organization and was surprised when very few TAs in the room were aware of the Roundtable or the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee. TAs were discussing the complications of signing up for healthcare through the Affordable Care Act as a freelancer and my colleague mentioned our bi-annual workshop on this very topic. No one knew what she was talking about. (Open enrollment starts Nov. 1st you can watch the video of our tutorial with The Actor’s Fund from last year here, or go to an in person workshop here).

I had a similar conversation on this struggle with the staff from the National Arts Council Singapore. They are looking at creating a Teaching Artist Handbook for their artists with opportunities for professional development, healthcare and legal aid, resources for artists, and work and funding opportunities. I thought that was an interesting idea, so I brought it back to TA Affairs.

If you come to our “Sip & Create” TA Meet-Up on November 2nd 5pm-7pm we’ll have a plethora of TA resources. Our committee is compiling them now. Do you have an idea of something that should be on the list? Do you have an idea of how to reach more NYC TAs? Hit us up.

I also had questions about how to sustain global connectivity after this conference and between the next one in 2020. ITAC answered this for me on the first day when they launched the ITAC Collaborative. I’ve already submitted the Roundtable’s TA Affairs Committee as an ITAC Collaborative Catalyst to help disseminate global information to our NYC TA community. ITAC Collaborative will also have small funding opportunities for projects between nations. Do you have an idea for a project? Hit me up.  

So, what was ITAC like? It felt like home. It felt like recognition. It felt like being full. The theme of the conference was “Artist as Instigator.” I’m instigated to create this feeling for the NYC TA community. Wanna help me?


Heleya de Barros is an actor and teaching artist in New York City. She is a Board Member of the Roundtable and Co-Chair of the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee. @Heleya_deBarros

*(TopPhoto credit DreamYard Media Interns.


Request for Proposals


Wednesday, April 24 & Thursday, April 25, 2019

Request for Proposals

*Application Deadline EXTENDED: September 28, 2018*


FACE TO FACE is a professional development conference for arts administrators, teaching artists, and others interested in the field of arts in education. The conference strives to demonstrate effective teaching and learning strategies for practitioners in the field of arts in education, as well as to provide forums for discussion of other critical issues such as equity, diversity, and inclusion; advocacy; research findings; assessment; community engagement; and organizational management.

The Roundtable is accepting proposals for breakout sessions for Face to Face 2019. The Conference Committee is especially interested in proposals for sessions that actively engage participants in one or more of the six disciplines of visual art, dance, music, theatre, film/moving image, and writing; in addition to sessions topics related to early childhood learning, creative aging, working with ELL and immigrant populations, out of school time programming, and working in nontraditional settings.

While there is no limit to the number of proposals an organization can submit, a maximum of two (2) proposals per organization will be selected for the conference. There is also a limit of four presenters (one (1) lead presenter and up to three (3) co-presenters) per session.

Proposers do not need to be Roundtable members (Full Organization or Individual) to propose a session.


Registration Fee

Note: Registration is required for all session presenters and panelists. The moderator and up to three (3) presenters will be admitted to the conference for a reduced fee of $100. If the moderator or the presenters wish to only attend his/her own session, they must register for a fee of $45.


For Tips on Crafting Your Proposal please visit our How To video at 

Face to Face Session Proposal Contact Info:

Kyla Searle: NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Managing Director:



Successful proposals will:

    • Investigate a critical question.
    • Explore or reference a specific art form(s), as appropriate, and demonstrate a mastery of that art form(s).
    • Involve a variety of viewpoints and/or qualified presenters and include ample time for reflection.
    • Not serve as a “commercial” for an individual or organization (i.e. “dog and pony show”). Sessions that only describe an organization’s work and successes are rarely selected.

Each session submitted to the conference is evaluated by a panel of Face to Face evaluators. Session evaluation includes the following criteria:

  • Relates to the description in the conference program
  • Demonstrates a mastery of content
  • Communicates content clearly and effectively
  • Stimulates lively dialogue with the participants
  • Manages time and pacing effectively
  • Incorporates opportunities for reflection
  • Initiates thoughtful dialogue and discussion
  • Uses practical examples of relevant work


SESSION ENROLLMENT: The NYC AIE Roundtable cannot guarantee presenters a minimum or maximum number of participants in their session; however, the Roundtable will try to inform presenters of how many people to anticipate at their session prior to the conference.  

In order to be considered, proposals must be submitted by September 12, 2018, using the link below. 



Link to application:

This application consists of three parts:

PART I: Session Proposal Form

PART II: Presenter Information

PART III: Session Proposer Agreement

Be sure to complete all sections of this application and submit the form by the deadline of September 12, 2018.

Maintaining Parallel Careers; A Teaching Artist Perspective

Maintaining Parallel Careers; A Teaching Artist Perspective
by Chris Giordano & Jacqueline Raymond

This audio blog entry “Maintaining Parallel Careers” was inspired by everyday conversations with fellow teaching artists. By experience, we have often had to make decisions on where are we going to spend our resources. Do we professionally pursue opportunities to showcase our art or do we commit to a teaching residency? Often we strive do both, but there always seems like a sacrifice or missed opportunity in the other field. We wanted to know more about those struggles from working teaching artists, and their strategies to making their parallel careers worth for them.

To listen to the Podcast, Click Here!

Chris Giordano is an actor, director, producer, and teaching artist. He’s a current member of New York City Arts In Education Roundtable, serving on the teaching artist affairs committee. He has taught theatre classes with 92nd Street Y, New York Film Academy’s Musical Theatre Conservatory, TexARTS, AMDA’s High School Summer Conservatory, Inside Broadway, Kidville, Brooklyn Acting Lab, Camp Broadway, The Boys and Girls Club, the Putney School Summer Program, and Lifetime Arts. He’s also a member of the Educational Theatre Association, and just completed his M.S.Ed. in Educational Theatre at The City College of New York.

Jacqueline Raymond is an actor and teaching artist in New York City. She’s currently working on her MSEd in Educational Theatre at The City College of New York. Additionally, Jacqueline is Co-Founder of Girls 4 Girls, a non profit committed to empowering girls and young women through arts education.

Gender in the Classroom Part 2: What’s in a Pronoun?

What’s In a Pronoun?

by AnJu Hyppolite


We, she, he, I, you, it, and them.”

We, she, he, I, you, it, and them.”

We, she, he, I, you, it, and them...”

My third grade teacher, Mrs. Mary White, made us sing these pronouns everyday. It’s a song I sang as I typed them above. It’s a song I’ve taught the students I’ve tutored. Sure, there are more pronouns in the English lexicon than in the chant above. Yet, this was how Mrs. White helped a class of twenty-something eight and nine-year-olds remember what pronouns are. We knew which pronouns to attribute to singular nouns vs. plural nouns, and we also knew which ones were qualifiers for males, females, and objects.

This was well over 20 years ago when gender normatives were widespread. There was no overt opposition: If you were born with female gonads, you were a girl or woman. In which case, your pronoun was ‘she’. Conversely, if you were born with male gonads, you were called a boy or man. Your pronoun, in that case, was ‘he’. Today, the world is a more diverse place. People are challenging the identities that they are not comfortable conforming to. They are denouncing the male and female binary construct. Individuals who do not fall within gender normatives are referred to as non-binary, a descriptor for any gender identity which does not fit the male and female binary.

Though I grew up in a traditional Haitian household, my parents did not assign gender-conforming roles to my brother and me.

I had to take the trash out, mow the lawn, paint, shovel snow, and rake leaves. It’s the reason why as a young girl, I knew the difference between a Phillips screwdriver and a flat-blade. My brother had to vacuum, wash dishes, dust, sweep, and mop. We took turns doing our gender-nonconforming chores as well as the conforming ones. Despite having been raised without these biases, I haven’t always been open-minded in regards to other non-normative ideologies.

As an advocate for marginalized people, a teaching artist whose pedagogy is informed by social equity, diversity, and inclusion, and as a human being, it is important that I create equity in the classroom and in my interactions. I am meeting a lot more non-binary people. I am learning that what Mrs. White taught me about pronoun attribution wasn’t wrong, but that today, in 2018, pronouns are being used differently than they were when I was in the third grade.

There is no formula as to how an interaction with a non-binary person should flow.

In one instance, I am learning that when I meet someone and introduce myself, I should state my name and pronoun, giving the other person the freedom (should they wish), to do the same. I’ve been told it is okay to ask someone what their preferred pronoun is if it isn’t offered. I have, however, heard that doing either of the aforementioned could potentially oust someone who wasn’t prepared to come out. I am also learning that it is okay to not offer my pronoun or ask for someone’s pronoun first, but to allow the other person to self-advocate.

The matter of pronouns is a delicate subject for both binary and non-binary individuals. I realize that above all else, it’s about honoring how a person wants to be addressed. To call someone anything other than how they want to be addressed is calling them out of their name and minimizes how they see themselves. We don’t have to agree with it. We don’t even have to understand it. We should, however, respect people’s choices to name themselves.

What’s in a pronoun? It’s a non-binary individual’s value — the opportunity to show up as their whole selves and to be called by their right name.

AnJu Hyppolite is a Brooklyn-born, Queens-bred award-winning actress, author, advocate, poet, and copy editor who works at the intersection of theater arts, literacy advocacy, and social equity pedagogy. She is a current member of the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee.

Gender In The Classroom; A Two Part Blog Series.

Gender In The Classroom; A Two Part Blog Series.


As The Day Of Learning approaches, we offer you two perspectives on gender expression in the classroom.  Part One is from a Teaching Artist, Kelindah, who identifies as non-binary.  Part Two, written by Anju, a Teaching Artist who is cisgendered, will be released early next week.

We encourage you to respond to this article on the facebook page and keep the conversation going.

In Trans I Trust, Kids Adjust

Every 10 weeks I enter a new classroom, teal hair preceding me, “Out for Safe Schools” and “Black Trans Lives Matter” badges on display, pronoun necklace facing out, with a polka-dotted suitcase full of art supplies. These are my armor, supplies for my They Agenda.

Mx. Kelindah, I write on the board.

“Is that an X?”

“Are you a boy or a girl?”

“Why is your hair blue? Why are your eyebrows blue?”

I draw a venn diagram, one circle holds Ms, the other Mr. I write Mx. in between, or outside of, or on another page entirely.


“Oh! Mx. like mix! I’m a mix of boy and girl too!”

Assessing the room quickly, judging by the facial expressions of the grown-ups present, I decide how much of my gender to bring into the room. What bargains and boundaries will I set this time?

I don’t always use the word trans to describe myself in the classroom because to most cis people it still implies a medical procedure to transition from one binary to another– a dichotomy in need of disruption. Perhaps I’m just not ready yet. For now, Mx. it is.

Tranifest truth, Mx.

Can’t teach if you’re pretending–

A Theyvolution

My experience of gender asks for more options and unsettles the principles that construct our sordid system: that there are only two genders, that people of those genders must display certain behaviors, that those genders are based on genitals, and that those assigned male at birth are superior.

These violent principles pave the pathway for colonization and fuel white supremacy₁. A capitalist, heterosexist project, the cis-tem relies on the nuclear family as a unit of labor.

Meanwhile, nonbinary trans people, in all their nuance, have always been here existing and resisting₂. What if we could appreciate this nuance as if there are as many genders as there are beings on Earth?

I should wear a sign

Make the subway cis cringe, squirm

“Gender is a hoax”

Some days, I wear my Mx. with nonchalance. Others, I just want to find the rare, mythical, single-stall gender neutral bathroom in the school and hide.

The need to come out

Over, over, and over

And when’s it over?

My whiteness, my able body, my US citizenship and other privileges allow for my relative safety within my transness; I feel a responsibility to be out in whatever ways I have the capacity for that day. Some wonder why my transness is even relevant to an art classroom.

Because pretending to be a gender that I’m not makes me a less present teacher.

Because I’ve been the kid who felt like the options were lackluster, forced myself to wear “girl” until is falseness carved a cave of my chest. And I know the kid who cringes at every aggressive “listen up, boys and girls!” I’ve met the teacher who doesn’t have the language but is burdened by the dysphoria at every reflection.

And the rest of you who have to adjust? I know, it’s hard to shift your syntax. But you know what’s probably harder? Being trans in a structure built by binaries that tells you your magic is burden.  

Dysphorix the Clown:

Sing love songs into

A mirror that deceives you

I have to hope that if I’m truthful about who I am, I might offer those gender creative young people₃ an alternative to dysphoria, an artful expression of otherwise.

To smash the cistem

Requires a team effort, To

Break the binary

I wonder how we educators might do it differently…

  1. Make your language more inclusive: “boys and girls!” Try, “artists, scientists, readers:” words that honor what they can be over what they have been assigned.
  2. Resist assigning pronouns before asking and the urge to rely on gendered compliments. Try using student’s names more often and neutralize observations: “This is Henry’s piece. I notice that Henry explored the element of texture in this collage.”
  3. Share examples of gender variant role models₄ and artists who express gender in a range of ways beyond the binary. Representation enables reflection and expands what “normal” is!
  4. Challenge gendered assumptions: when you hear, “only girls wear nail polish,” ask questions to dig deeper: “what makes you say that?” “does anyone else feel differently?”
  5. Slow down your speech and be accountable to what you say. Did you mess up a student’s pronouns? Apologize, correct yourself, move on. Dwelling on it to assuage your own guilt puts the trans person in an uncomfortable position. Practice on your own time so it doesn’t happen again.
  6. Introduce pronouns early and often, through a game or by identifying the pronouns of role models you introduce students to. (I know a handful of 3-year-olds who ask their stuffed animals for their pronouns.) It can be as easy as asking someone’s name or their wellbeing.

Trust, children adjust. And perhaps if we grant them opportunities to take agency over their own identities, exposure to an array of gender expressions, and affirmation when they offer us ever more gender-expansive language, they won’t have to.

Kelindah Schuster is a teaching and performance artist based in Brooklyn. They grew up in Indonesia and Singapore and received their BA in theater and gender studies from Vassar College. Kelindah teaches drama and visual art with Marquis Studios and BAX and believes in collaborative art-making as radical community care. They perform as Theydy bedbug, a nonbinary drag creature who explodes gendered stereotypes and reminds us #NoMeansNo.


₁: Morales, Ezra. “I’m a Trans Student of Color. Supporting Me Means Fighting White Supremacy.” GLSEN,

₂: Diavolo, Lucy. “People Have Had Non-Binary Genders for THOUSANDS of Years.” Teen Vogue,, 20 June 2017,

₃: “SO YOUR CHILD IS NONBINARY: A Guide For Parents.” Life Outside The Binary, 30 Aug. 2014,

₄: Preston, Ashlee Marie. “Meet 10 black transgender figures from history who are models for resilience.” Mic, Mic Network Inc., 28 Feb. 2018,