NYU Professor, Playwright and Director Joe Salvatore Visits Bentley
New York University professor, playwright, and director Joe Salvatore visited Bentley Upper School to speak with Upper School theater students and parents. Salvatore is on the faculty of the Program in Educational Theatre at NYU’s Steinhardt School, where he teaches courses in ethnodrama, new play development, applied theatre, and dramatic literature.
Professor Salvatore spoke with Upper School theater arts students about arts education and ethnodrama, an arts-based methodology for presenting participants' personal stories, often centered on social issues or significant events, Salvatore is partnering with Bentley theater arts teacher Ryan Weible on a future ethnodrama project and is interested in working with Bentley students to generate ideas for it.
With parents, Salvatore discussed "Verbatim Theater," in which a playwright uses news transcripts, speeches, and dialogue from the headlines to create stories conveying history, substance, and different perspectives of our social and political worlds. Salvatore gained critical acclaim for his recent Off-Broadway production, “Her Opponent,” which incorporated presidential debate excerpts into a stage production reversing the genders of Trump and Clinton to encourage discussion.
With parents, Upper School Head Bryan Smith and Salvatore discussed the importance of both academic and social emotional learning through theater arts. Salvatore emphasized the need for teachers to create a “shared learning environment” for students, who need structure as well as transparency. He suggested that the practice of figuring things out together with students can be very instructive as well as curricular additions and modifications so that all student identities and perspectives are represented.
Professor Salvatore said he felt welcome and sensed a strong understanding of the importance of the arts at Bentley, and he also happily noted in the Bentley Promise the need to explore the arts.