Monday, September 30, 2013

Good Stuff Onstage & Good Times Offstage

What do you remember about being seven years old? I remember the bright yellow shoes I wore on the first day of school and making up dances to New Kids on the Block songs with my best friend, Liz. I remember Cabbage Patch Kids, the neighborhood trampoline, and the illicit joys of pop rocks candy. But my clearest memory is of the time my family decided to create a fantastic performance while we were on vacation in Oregon. I have crystal clear images of my mom and sister giggling while making up dance moves and my dad pretending to be a psychic and reading our fortunes while wearing a turban made from a bright orange beach towel. Since I didn't always get to see my parents be silly and creative themselves, those times stuck – I still remember them vividly 30 years later. 

This past year I became a mom myself. As my husband and I think about the kind of life we want to build with our kid, it is important to both of us that we work to create memories colored with the same joy and laughter in my own family memories. As luck would have it, my job as the Director of Education/Public Engagement is to create these kinds of experiences for all New Victory families! I measure the success of our programs in the smiles and laughter of our audiences.

Our engagement offerings are expanding this year –online, in our theater, and all around New York City – but I like to think of splitting them into the following categories:

Before the show, there is always something to see or do when you arrive at the theater:
Arts Express: This brief, interactive family activity is free for the ticket-holders to select performances. New Victory Teaching Artists will be on hand before the show to teach your family circus tricks, dance moves or another arts skill inspired by the performance on the stage. These events are “drop-in” and your family is welcome to stop by the Lower Lobby anytime during the hour before a show starts. These events were brand new last year and scored so high on the smiles and laughter scale that we are doing twice as many this season. For more information and exact dates, visit our website.

FYI (For Your Information) Posters: If there is not an Arts Express event for the performance you are seeing, head down to the Lower Lobby anyway and look for the FYI poster. These posters will help you learn more about the art form you are about to see and other fun facts that may help your family appreciate the performance even more.

Busy Bees: Shows for little ones in the New 42nd Street Studios are accompanied by pre-show activities that include a takeaway memento of your child’s first theater adventure. Songs From Above, This [Baby] Life and Baby Rave all feature Busy Bees this season. Our youngest audience members can come a little early to become accustomed to the space, get excited to see the show and have some fun.

After the show, stick around for these free events offered after select performances:
TXT Marks the Spot: These events combine digital gaming, scavenger hunting and the performing arts into unique experiences for families to enjoy together. Equipped with a map and your own personal mobile device, your family will roam from the Lower Lobby to the Mezzanine as you learn more about the New Vic, the performance you've just seen, and create some family fun with our teaching artists stationed around the theater. Peter Pan, Feet Don’t Fail Me Now, Knee Deep, Fluff and Hyperish all have TXT Marks the spot events on select dates – click here to learn more.

Talk-Backs: Certain performances have free post-show Q & A sessions with the creative team and performers. This is your chance to find out ‘how did you learn to do that?’ and anything else you and your family are dying to ask the talented international performers that come to The New Victory Theater. Though not every production has a Talk-Back, the majority do – and they’re noted on our season calendars with a speech bubble symbol.

Anytime is a perfect time to log on to our website or join us for an event:
Family Activities: Each show we present has a companion family activity that was created to get you ready to see the show or as a way to extend your experience at home. These online activities are meant to be done in your own house or apartment, and require only household items and your family’s imagination. Share the link with friends and neighbors who might want to join in the fun too!

Family Workshops: Each workshop corresponds to the show that’s playing on the New Victory stage but you don’t have to see a show to participate - these workshops are available to everyone! Buy tickets for your family, and join our highly skilled teaching artists to learn performing skills in this exciting, professional studio setting on 42nd street.

Community Events: The New Victory can’t be contained within our own walls! Watch for us around the community: at street fairs, museums, and parks. We love to meet New Vic families on your adventures around the city, and we always announce any upcoming events on our social media platforms. So if you see us in your neighborhood, stay awhile to juggle, make puppets or whatever else we have up our sleeve for the event.

At The New Victory Theater, we want the experiences of our audience members to begin long before they enter our theater and continue long after the last curtain call. We don't want you and your family to just be an audience member. We want you to interact and engage with the shows we bring from around the world. We want you to ask questions, learn new skills, and make memories with your own family. And as I wait for my son to go to his first performance at the New Victory Theater (he won't have to wait very long, the audience for our youngest shows starts at four months this year) I will do my best to find ways to help you enjoy your experience at the New Victory Theater even more. Because the family that plays together...makes memories that last a lifetime. 

This blog was written by Lindsey Buller Maliekel, Director of Education / Public Engagement

Lindsey oversees all public Engagement offerings for our family audiences as well as the New Vic New 42 Youth Corps. Prior to joining the New Victory Theater in 2004, she created and taught curriculum for the Creative Arts Team. As the Associate Director of Summer Theater Institute, she worked with youth from around the world to devise original theater. Lindsey has been a consultant, curriculum writer and Master Teaching Artist for such organizations as Girls Leadership Institute, TheatreWorks: Silicon Valley, and StageWrite. She is also a Thesis Advisor for the first American Masters program in Applied Theatre at City University of New York. She received her Masters degree from the Gallatin School at New York University focusing on Theater as a Tool for Communication and Learning. She is very excited to bring her young son to This [Baby] Life and Baby Rave this season.

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