The 2012-13 New Victory season is bigger than ever! To help you navigate every small detail, we're shining a spotlight on a few key topics. Let our staff–and outside experts we've enlisted–share their insights and tips for deciding what's just right for your family.
This week, we've asked New Vic Member, mother and teacher Sharon Count, to share her experiences. With a career that spans teaching theater for students with learning disabilities to working with Blue Man Group, we knew Sharon would have some valuable insights:
How long have you been coming to the New Vic?
I have been coming to the New Vic both as an educator and a parent for the last 7 years.
What’s one particularly fond memory you have of attending a show at The New Victory Theater?
Last season, I brought my 5-year-old son and his best pal to see Hands Up! After the show, we had the opportunity to meet and talk with the artist. He showed them some cool tricks to manipulate a puppet and was very happy to take pictures with the boys. It was a great day!
With your own background in theater, particularly experimental or “downtown” theater, why do you choose to come to the New Vic?
There is a lot of low quality theater for kids out there. As a theater artist, it is important to me to expose my children to all different kinds of live performance, but I would also like to enjoy what we are going to see. Everything that I have ever seen at the New Vic has been something that I myself have enjoyed. The New Vic offers a level of professionalism and thoughtfulness about the work and how it is presented that is unparalleled in NYC. The spaces that the shows are presented in are clean, beautiful and state of the art. They are easy to navigate and comfortable for students and families.
I also really appreciate the incredible Education Department at the New Vic and how their work ties into the performances. I have had several Teaching Artists come to my school to teach a workshop before I've taken my students to a performance. These smart, comprehensive and fun workshops helped to create a context and connection to the work for my students, who in turn got a lot more out of the performance. When I have been to see shows with my son, he has had the chance to make art projects related to the show beforehand, which is a great way for young people to find their own way in to experiencing something new. I choose the New Vic because their productions are simply smart, thoughtful and beautifully presented.
As both an artist and educator yourself, what do you look for when selecting a show?
As an educator, I often look for work that thematically ties into curriculum that I am teaching. Similarly as a parent, I want something that offers the possibility of expanding the understanding of something that we are investigating or exploring as a family. I also look for work that I think is just plain old cool and fun. My husband and I both work in the theater, so we see theater as very important to experience–as well as something that can lead to important discoveries.
How old are your kids? What shows are you excited to bring them to next season?
I have two boys. Wilder is 5 and Dashiell is 1 and a half. Dash may have to wait one more year but Wilder will get to see lots this season. It looks fantastic! On my list so far are Ring A Ding Ding, Circus Oz, Bello Mania and Black Violin.
Sharon Counts is a director, actor and educator, and has worked with several arts and entertainment organizations including Blue Man Group, GAle GAtes et al., and The Improv. Her roles have included producer, marketing director, artistic associate, theater manager and talent coordinator. Sharon has taught at several schools in New York City and currently teaches theater at Mary McDowell Friends School. She is a graduate of the Master's program in Educational Theatre at NYU and holds a BFA in Acting from Emerson College. Recent projects have included performing in a piece by Phil Soltanoff as part of the River to River Festival at Governor's Island and working as the Assistant Director for a production in the Fringe Festival.