This blog has been archived and now reads 1st post to last post.
Originally published Sept. 4, 2008
This October, two teaching artists from The City University of New York’s Creative Arts Team (CAT) will be traveling to the United Arab Emirates to work with students at the UAE University. During their time in the UAE, Steve Elm and Helen Wheelock, senior members of CAT’s Early Learning Through the Arts/New York City Wolf Trap program (ELTA), will lead two weeks of trainings and demonstrations to introduce undergraduate students to the use of drama in the early childhood classroom.
“CAT’s residency at UAEU will allow our students to gain a unique academic and artistic experience and help our students learn to use the arts as a catalyst to learning,” said Dr. James Mirrione, an American UAEU faculty member and CAT co-founder who arranged the residency.
Since its founding in 1974, CAT has pioneered the use of drama as an educational tool in public schools, becoming internationally known for its innovative practices. CAT’s ELTA work involves Head Start and pre-kindergarten through second grade students and their teachers in interactive drama activities designed to explore human, social and curricular issues. Within the context of a story that unfolds over a series of days, CAT’s professional actor/teachers, together with the children, play characters that address and resolve dilemmas raised during the drama sessions.
Steve Elm is a senior actor/teacher and has been with CAT’s Early Learning program since its creation in 1994.
In addition to direct services to students, ELTA offers a powerful teacher-training model that supports the professional development of teachers in the use of drama in the classroom. Through modeling, mentoring and implementation, teachers are able to practice and reflect on their work with the ongoing support of the actor/teachers.
The CUNY-CAT partnership, initiated on July 1, 2004, integrates CAT’s programs within the nation’s largest public university system. CAT and the Paul A. Kaplan Center for Educational Drama’s outreach programs are housed within the University Office of Academic Affairs and the School of Professional Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Building on the achievements of the partnership with the the School of Professional Studies and the Creative Arts Team, this fall saw the launch of the M.A. program in Applied Theatre, the first of its kind in the United States. A sequential, ensemble-based program for students interested in the use of theatre to address social and educational issues in a wide range of settings, the program stresses the unity of theory and practice and is linked to the professional applied theatre work of CAT.
MORE ABOUT THE CAT ACTOR/TEACHERS
Steve Elm is a senior actor/teacher and has been with CAT’s Early Learning Through the Arts program since its creation in 1994. Trained at London’s Rose Bruford College, Steve has appeared as an actor in film, television and on the stage. He has worked as a playwright and director with London’s Common Body Theatre, University of Manchester (England), the American Indian Community House Youth Theatre Project, and was a founding member of Chuka Lokoli Native Theatre Ensemble in New York City. Steve also works as an actor with the Only Make Believe company and does professional development nationwide as a Master Artist for the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. Steve is the Artistic Director of Amerinda Theatre, which, in partnership with New York’s Public Theater, produces new work by Native American artists.
Steve serves as the editor of American Indian Artists Inc.’s Talking Stick Native Arts Quarterly, which publishes Indigenous arts, news, commentaries, features, fiction, poetry and essays written by Native American writers. Its mission is to promote, give exposure to, and explore ideas in the world of contemporary American Indian arts. Steve was recently published in Amerinda/Nation Book’s anthologies, Genocide of the Mind and Sovereign Bones.
Helen Wheelock joined the Creative Arts Team in 1994 as an actor/teacher with the Elementary Program and moved to the NYC Wolf Trap/Early Learning Through the Arts Program (ELTA) in 1996. Since then she has been intricately involved with the development of ELTA’s issue-based curriculum and their highly successfully teacher-training/mentoring model piloted in New York City Head Starts. As a Senior Actor/Teacher, she was a point-person for ELTA’s collaboration with Wolf Trap in the stART smART program, a three-year project that sought to integrate technology with teacher training.
Helen took over the Program Director position in January of 2007. She has represented CAT across the country both as a conference presenter and key note speaker. Additionally, Helen has collaborated extensively with CAT’s senior Youth Theatre, both as a director and production manager, and taught courses for CAT’s Paul A. Kaplan Center for Educational Theater.
Helen also has developed a robust career as a freelance journalist specializing in women’s basketball. With over one hundred articles to her credit, she currently is a columnist for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Coaching Women’s Basketball. A regular contributor to the Women’s Hoops Blog and the Women’s Sports Foundation, she has become a resource for reporters and students across the nation.
Helen earned her B.A. in theater from Middlebury College, and her Masters in Educational Theatre from NYU.
Helen and Steve will be blogging their UAE experience.