Roots to Branches Program: Day 3

August 15 – 18, 2003
Science Museum of Virginia
Richmond, VA

Day 3 Branches: Where Its All Been Growing

Hospitality will be available in Eureka Theatre lobby from 7am until noon.

9:00 – 10:15 Concurrent Sessions

David Mosely, National Railway Museum, York, U.K.
From Roots to Branches – and Back Again

This workshop will begin with a presentation of performances, video clips, audience participation, and discussion to explore how a railway story for Guernsey, an island without railways, was developed. This workshop will illustrate how this show has influenced and stimulated community awareness and access to information in a variety of museums, galleries and historic sites.

Daina Harvey, National Museum of Australia, Canberra
Branching into the Community

This session will examine the way in which much of museum theatre occurring throughout Australia has a strong community focus, allowing museums and other cultural institutions to connect to different cultural groups. Two programs, held in October 2001 during the National Museum of Australia’s Tracking Kultja Festival, will illustrate the way in which theatre has enabled an Indigenous group and a youth theatre company to connect with the Museum, to help tell its stories, and to tell their own story.

10:30 – 11:45: Concurrent Sessions

Jim Murtha, New Jersey State Aquarium
And Now for Something Completely the Same

This performance-oriented session will illustrate non-traditional ways of presenting children’s theatre that is not “dumbed down.” The Drama Gills from the New Jersey State Aquarium will perform three pieces, including a movement-based work, an absurdist Beckett-esque comedy, and a black light puppet show. The presentations will be followed by a discussion focusing on institutional and program goals, both educational and artistic, and attendee reactions to the non-traditional styles presented.

Harriet Lynn, Heritage Theatre Artists Consortium, Baltimore, MD
Lisa Hayes, University at Buffalo
Branches to Bridges: Museum Theatre and Community Collaborations

This hands-on playshop (workshop) will explore how to expand the use of museum theatre by developing alliances and nurturing collaborations with community organizations, educational and cultural institutions. Panel members will discuss their own collaborations experiences. Then workshop attendees will break out into work teams to brainstorm and put together action plans for an actual museum theatre collaboration currently in the planning stages.

11:45 – 12-45 LUNCH ON US

Carpenter Science Theater invites all delegates to the Eureka Theatre for a free lunch and a 30-minute performance of That Ol’ Windbag, by Douglas Jones.

1:00 – 2:45 Concurrent Sessions

Wendy Ellefson, Minnesota Historical Society, St Paul, MN
The Museum Theater Dating Game: Program Manager Seeks LTR with Playwright!

What's a Museum Program Manager to do? It's hard to meet good playwrights these days. Back in the museum, the Program Manager is surrounded by curators, designers, and administrators. She herself admits to having little, if any, theater experience (she has a history degree, for Pete's sake!), and yet she can't resist the siren call of museum theater. She MUST include it in her repertoire of engaging and effective educational museum programs. But how, when she barely speaks the language of theater, will she know when she's found that one special playwright that can turn her exhibit content, goals, and objectives into a 15-minute tour-de-force . . . with puppets?! And even if she finds the right playwright, will she be able to tell him what she really wants? Will she be able to keep him happy? Will he understand her needs? When opposites attract, will their differences bring them closer together . . . or break them apart? Find out the answers to these and other compelling questions in this informal exploration of the relationship between program manager and playwright!

Drew Gibson, Classic Stories
Dan Dowling, Museum of Science, Boston
Life, the Universe and Everything: Taking on BIG topics

How do you compress a really BIG question, or a really LONG piece of world literature, into a format that is comprehensible to today’s audiences? Here are two approaches to this problem--one from the Boston Museum of Science and the other from a solo storyteller and mythologist. This session presents both Melinda Lopez’s play Girl Meets Boy: A Comedy about the Universe and portions of Drew Gibson’s original adaptation of The Mahabharata. The first one uses romance and poetry to introduce 20th-century theories about the origin of the universe. The second performance uses solo acting and storytelling to convey a vision of life that is at the core of classic Indian civilization. Two Civilizations -- Two Really Big Issues -- One Stage. Questions and discussion to follow.

3:00 – 4:45 Concurrent Sessions

Larry Gard, Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond
"They Grow on Trees, Silly…": Locating, Hiring and Orienting Independent Theatre Artists for Work in a Museum

Explore the methods of acquiring the services of quality theatre artists
for your museum theatre projects. What kind of experience should you
expect to see on a résumé? What are the issues and priorities in hiring
qualified staff? How does one best orient independent artists for work
in a corporate environment? What are the concerns of the artist being
hired? You'll gain some perspective from full-time museum employees who create museum theatre programs, as well as from independent artists who have worked in museum environments.

Dr. Joann Siegrist, West Virginia University
Jonathan Ellers, Central Park Zoo, NY
Just Give It Eyeballs: Secrets of Simple Puppetry

This hands-on workshop will help participants re-learn how to animate the inanimate and produce simple puppets for the purpose of communicating ideas, telling stories and generally expanding the vocabulary (and staff!) of your facility's programs. Examples of puppetry from the programs at West Virginia University and the Central Park Zoo will be followed by a show-and-tell/workshop wherein various kinds of puppets --and the concepts they help illuminate--are created or imagined by session attendees.

Evening Activity:
6:30 p.m.: Banquet in Science Museum of Virginia Rotunda

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