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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.

In 15 years, 389,000 New York City students have discovered the transformative magic of theater in their classrooms with the New Victory Teaching Artists. To celebrate the exciting anniversary of our Classroom Workshop Program, we reached out to a few teachers who have collaborated with us over the years!



The New Victory Theater has been special from the start. Not only do they provide high-quality kid's theater from around the world, but sign-interpreted performances are scheduled for every production. I do not know if any other theater provides such accessibility to their young patrons. 

That respect and care is carried over into the pre- and post-show classroom workshops, where Teaching Artists visit our classroom to deepen our students' experience and understanding of each show. For example, my class attended A Sky For The Bears this season, which explores the themes of death and acceptance through puppetry and shadows. Our in-class post-show workshop directed the students to create cardboard puppets and play with shadow and light to create their own story of what it means to "go away but remain in someone's heart." After the visit, we continued to tell stories using shadow and light by setting up a learning center. The workshop challenged both our teachers' and our students' thinking and creativity. 

Thank you to the New Vic for respecting students and collaborating with teachers!
—Gary Wellbrock, PS 347 in New York, New York
  


I'm a music teacher at a public school in the South Bronx, where all of our students are developmentally disabled, multi-handicapped, autistic and/or have emotional disabilities. The workshops provide a creative space where students can participate in exciting ways. The Teaching Artists accommodate all students, regardless of their limitations. With them, every student is a star. The creativity and wisdom of our students have wowed us—the staff—many times.

The pre-performance workshops really prepare our students for the show they will be seeing and the post-performance workshops expand upon what they've seen. It goes without saying, but everyone, including my principal, sees these workshops as crucial to our arts program.

I commend The New Victory Theater for offering these wonderful workshops that stretch the imagination. I also can't thank them enough for giving our students an opportunity to experience live performances in an atmosphere that makes them all feel comfortable. Their hard work is greatly appreciated!
—Rita Prince, P186X in The Bronx, New York
 

The Teaching Artists who prepare the students to see the performances, or follow up on the visit are always high quality. The activities are fun, well-structured and expertly delivered. I've even stolen some of their ideas for use in my own work! It always amazes me how much they are able to accomplish in a short period of time like creating musical numbers, teaching circus tricks and staging shadow puppet shows. 
—Ron Sopyla, PS 88 in Queens, New York
 

I've been a public school elementary Drama Teacher for 23 years. When the New Vic first opened, I was so happy to have a place that consistently offered real theater for my students. When the classroom workshops started, it brought our experience to an entirely different level. The Teaching Artists are always top-notch, engaging and flexible! They get my students to open up their thinking (before and often after) a performance in a way that no amount of simply discussing the piece could ever do.
—Cynthia Blackwell, PS 58 in Brooklyn, New York
 

My experience with The New Victory Theater's Classroom Workshops has been wonderful! The Teaching Artists are enthusiastic, positive, patient and they know just what it takes to work with the students. Even my quietest students are excited to participate in the engaging activities they offer! Having the classroom workshops before going to a performance has really helped my students connect more to the show itself. It makes them feel like insiders, and they appreciate the experience so much more!

At one particular pre­show workshop, I had a student tell the teaching artist that she would not be coming to see the show with her class because she had an appointment to get her cast removed for her broken arm. The teaching artist told me that if I contacted the theater, they could set her family up with tickets for one of the public performances. I did this and the family got to see the show later that week. We were all so grateful for the kindness and consideration that was shown by the Teaching Artist and by the theater!
—Joan Christou, Nest+m in New York, New York
 
 
Funkedified Thumb Interested in learning more about our Classroom Workshop Program? Find out more here!

The New Victory Theater launched the New Victory Usher Corps the day the theater opened to provide paid employment, job training, academic support, mentorship and an introduction to the performing arts for over 50 young New Yorkers each year. Since then, the program has provided over 400,000 hours of paid employment to over 500 NYC teens ages 16-22 from across the city. Find out how teens in your life can apply to be a part of this award-winning program here!

All season long, we'll be featuring young people from our Usher Corps in our New Vic Bills and here on the New Victory blog. Today we're talking to third-year usher Porscha Rippy from the Bronx, New York.    
Porscha Rippy

My favorite show at The New Victory has been…
Hands down, Fly, from the 2015-2016 season, was my favorite. It was so real and it didn't sugarcoat anything. We even had three Tuskegee Airmen come see the show and do a discussion panel after!

The show I'm most excited for this season is...
I can't wait for Jason Bishop: Believe in Magic. Because it's the holiday show, I'll get to work with a lot of tourists and families. It makes me feel great when I see new faces at the New Vic and hear them talk about coming back.

My favorite memory from working as an usher was... 
I'll always remember when I first decided to learn American Sign Language (ASL) at the show Museum of Memories. The show was so intimate, that I got to see the interpreter up close and watch how her hands just flowed. Picking up ASL has had a huge impact on my job because I'm able to better interact with patrons who are hearing-impaired. By learning ASL, I'm able to make EVERYONE feel welcomed.     

My dream job would be… 
I would LOVE to work with kids who are hearing-impaired. I'm overwhelmed when I see how surprised the kids are when I sign. The parents and teachers notice that the New Vic is a versatile place, where their kids can come to be themselves. That feeling is indescribable.

My love of theater started... 
When I was 16, I joined an acting program called Opening Act, where I not only saw plays, but learned about the hard work that goes into them.

What was your favorite story as a kid?
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, because it taught me about morals at a young age. Throughout the story, the King tests both of his daughters to see which one is worthy of inheriting his kingdom. It taught me to be kind because you never know who you're talking to when you interact with strangers.    

Describe the most challenging thing about being an usher.
One of the most challenging things is that not everyone will come to the New Vic happy. I've learned that bad moods are just something you have to deal with and all you can do is try to keep it light.

Describe your dream vacation.
I would LOVE to visit Africa so I could discover a little bit more about myself and my roots.    

What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is planting tomatoes and peppers with my grandfather in his garden.    

 
New Victory Thumb Want to learn more about The New Victory Theater Usher Program? Take a look here!

 
Posted by Beth Henderson
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