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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.

At the New Vic, we pride ourselves in bringing exciting theater to the young people of New York City. We couldn't do any of it without the people who broaden and enrich the kids' understanding of the art forms on our stages: our New Victory Teaching Artists. This year we welcome nine new Teaching Artists to the New Vic community! 

You'll be seeing them around the theater at Family WorkshopsArts Express, Talk-Backs and TXT Marks the Spot, so get to know this batch of performers, puppeteers, podcasters and artists below. Make sure you say hi when you spot them at the theater! 
 

Jamie Agnello

Hello! My name is Jamie Agnello and I'm a theater artist. I spend most of my time acting, puppeteering and devising with Trusty Sidekick Theater Company. I also work as a florist with Stems Brooklyn, where I get to design and play with foliage and blossoms. 

I grew up in Oil City, Pennsylvania, where I wrote a lot of poetry in the woods and was very involved with our community theater scene. I feel so lucky to have grown up in an inclusive artistic town with lots of encouragement as a child. I'm so excited to be in a position as a Teaching Artist where I can foster that kind of creativity in young people. 

I'm so thrilled to work with the Teaching Artist ensemble at the New Vic. Being a Teaching Artist requires us to be so thoughtful about the biggest question of all: WHY ART? Why this show? Why is this important? I love that we get to play and be goofy, deliberate and creative. I'm so looking forward to all the moments of connection and energy that will surely happen with our young audiences this year. 
 

Carolyn Charpie Fagan

What I love about being a Teaching Artist is the sense of community it brings to my life. At the New Vic, we work together as an ensemble developing lessons and teaching in the classroom and other creative spaces. As a result, the work we do is fun, fulfilling and of the highest quality.

I love that I'm surrounded by artists who teach me their skills in facilitating and performance. From my peers, I've become a stronger teacher, but also a better puppeteer, clown, acrobat, musician, dancer, juggler, actor and more! Because of this community, my life is much richer. 
 

Steve Cuiffo

I'm an actor and magician who makes solo, as well as, collaborative works with other artists and theater companies. My work incorporates aspects of sleight of hand, misdirection, imitation and re-enactment.

As a Teaching Artist, I like to put myself in the same mindset as the students. I like to encourage curiosity by being curious myself. Similar to the creative process, when making a new piece of art, it's important to facilitate an environment where everyone can be confident and try things they've never tried before and know that it's okay when things don't necessarily go as planned. I'm very excited to start meeting students and help deepen their theatrical experiences at The New Victory!
 


Chelsea Harrison

The thing I love most about being a Teaching Artist is seeing my students' imaginations blossom before my eyes. Not only do I enjoy teaching my students, I also enjoy learning from them. From them, I learn the true meaning of joy. I witness robust imaginations at play and it lights me up with laughter.

Working as a Teaching Artist infuses my life with purpose and playfulness. Kids teach me every day how to be my bravest and silliest self as I explore the limitlessness of my own imagination. 
 


Rachel Lee 

My name is Rachel Lee and I am a musical theater practitioner and Teaching Artist.

As a California native, I grew up going to the beach, cooking with my family and doing many jazz hands in local community theater and school productions. I still try to maintain my easy-going west coast mentality here in NYC and I love exploring the calm, outdoorsy spaces the east coast has to offer, in addition to the wackiness of the city. 

My favorite thing about being a Teaching Artist is being able to provide students with their earliest—maybe even their first—experience with the arts. As an artist, my first encounter with the arts had a profound impact on my life, and being able to provide that for students in a safe, welcoming and engaging way fills my own life and practice with joy everyday!
 


Jose "Esteban" Rodriguez-Alverio

I'm a young actor and director from the Boogie Down (South), Bronx. I recently graduated from the CUNY City College of New York, where I earned my bachelor's degree in Theater. My proudest achievement there was directing the World of Extreme Happiness (2016), a powerful tragicomedy set in modern China. In preparation for this project, I conducted research by not only taking three different Asian Studies classes, but also traveling to China and exploring seven different cities with my Assistant Director, Johnny Wang from Shanghai, to get a more in-depth perspective of Chinese culture and history.

I'm excited to be the first alumni of the New Victory Usher Corps to join the New Victory Teaching Artists! What I love most about working at the New Vic is being able to apply my passion for the arts to bringing young people in New York City public schools to theater.
 

Jason Vance
 
Hi there, I'm Jason Vance and I'm a musician, actor and educator with years of experience working with children of all ages.  I've toured schools and libraries all around the US with my one-man band of harmonica, spoons, banjo, bass drum and tambourine.  

Here in NYC, I perform and create immersive and interactive theater with multiple companies such as Trusty Sidekick, Live In Theater and Society for Misfit Puppets, for institutions such as Lincoln Center Education and the New York Historical Society.

I teach pre-school and I'm excited to bring enthusiasm and experience in arts and education to the New Victory teaching ensemble.
 


Blanca VivancosBlanca Vivancos

When I was a little girl I had a clear idea of what I wanted: I wanted to perform, I wanted to write stories and I wanted to make the world a better place for everyone.

In my early career I explored different professional paths: I graduated as a lawyer, worked in advertising and travelled the world as the director of a not-for-profit organization. On the side, I never stopped writing and training as an actress. Still, I felt the balance was off.

So I went back to my childhood certainties and looked for meaningful ways to connect social justice and the arts. After engaging in different social theater projects in my home country of Spain, I moved to NYC on a Fulbright grant. Since then, I've been lucky enough to have countless opportunities to explore how I could make an impact as an artist.

Through my acting work, my training and my collaborations as a Teaching Artist, I've experienced how art can open our eyes to new realities, enabling us to become agents of change. And I've learned that for that to happen, we—artists, audiences—need to be able to establish a meaningful, personal connection with the art in front of us.

As a Teaching Artist I have the ability to help build that connection and the privilege to witness the magic of every meaningful discovery it provokes. 


Ben Weber 

I'm Ben Weber and I'm delighted to join the New Victory Theater Teaching Artist Ensemble. I'm a performer, writer, comedian and podcaster, who's been performing from a very young age, thanks to the vibrant theater community of my hometown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I'm proud to celebrate my 13th year as a New Yorker, having studied at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study and CUNY's School for Professional Studies, where I hold a Masters in Applied Theater. I've worked as a Teaching Artist at the Children's Museum of the Arts, the Creative Arts Team, the JCC of Manhattan and Urban Stages.

I love teaching artistry because of the genuine exchange of creative ideas that happens between a group of participants and because I get to embody the philosophy "Everyone Is An Artist!" Listen to the podcast Cozy Zone with Ben Weber for all of my thoughts, feelings and notions of coziness.
 
 
New Victory Thumb Don't miss out on all of the extra engagement activities we offer! Check out what we're offering this season here.
 




Mary Rose Lloyd, the Director of Artistic Programming at The New Victory Theater, has spent the past twenty years curating work for the New Victory stage. Starting in 1996, Mary has crisscrossed the globe seeing shows, attending conferences and festivals and connecting with countless artists. She has served on the Boards of Directors for both TYA/USA and International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) and is the recipient of IPAY's Mickey Miners Lifetime Achievement Award. She is passionate about books, family, friends and, most certainly, the performing arts.
 

​Mary has helped shape and define The New Victory Theater for the past 20 years. She has been trusted from the get-go with the responsibility of seeking out and bringing to the New Victory stage works for our young audiences that are beautiful, compelling, challenging and magical—always underpinned with the highest artistic and production values. It is no surprise that artists and colleagues from near and far have joined us to celebrate, with their musings and reminiscences, our beloved Director of Artistic Programming—the one and only—Mary Rose Lloyd. 
— Cora Cahan, President of The New Victory Theater
 



Mary is often described as a "tastemaker" in the international movement of theater for young audiences. I think "trailblazer" is a more appropriate badge of honour. She is a brave programmer who through dedicated commitment to this international community has developed a sense of what is coming next. She can pick trends, spot good ideas behind emerging companies and then find the right context in which to present that work. 
— Andy Packer, Slingsby Theatre Company​, Artistic Director

When I started in the Education Department of the New Vic in 2002, I didn't know Mary well… but she had already had a profound impact on me by what she had programmed the previous two years. As a grad student at NYU in Educational Theatre, I bought a season subscription and was forever changed by seeing work of the highest caliber at the New Vic. I have been lucky to cross paths often with Mary over the past dozen years and there's never enough time for us to catch up, laugh, gossip, dream and scheme about the future—all in an effort to continue to make the work better.
 
There are very few programmers on the planet who know more about the national and international landscape of theater for young audiences than Mary Rose Lloyd and who have made such a significant impact. I am lucky to call her a colleague and a friend. Happy 20 years, Mary!
— David Kilpatrick​​, Kennedy Center, Manager of Theater for Young Audiences

 

Mary Rose Lloyd
Mary and the New Vic's Director of Ticket Services, Robin Leeds, at the opening of the New 42nd Street Studios in 2000.
For someone who is clearly at the top of her game, respected by arts organizations around the world, and who has changed the face of performing arts for young people here in North America, Mary is a wonderful, warm, remarkably down to earth friend and colleague. The arts community of New York City is so lucky to claim her as one of our own and the young people of New York City are her greatest beneficiaries, as they should be. Congratulations on 20 years, Mary, and thank you, with love.
— Peg Schuler-Armstrong, Director of Programming and Production, Lincoln Center Education

How shocking. 20 years. This means we have worked together over two decades ago. Impossible.
I'm thrilled to be able to contribute my song to the large chorus of professionals singing in unison of your valiant artistic vision and astute programming. I send you a warm embrace from where I am working. Onward, dear friend. You have many more wonderful years ahead to make your artistic contribution to our society through your noble work.
— Joe Melillo​, Executive Producer, Brooklyn Academy of Music

Mary—your vision of and for the New Vic's artistic programming has taught me so much. I don't know how to thank you. Suffice it to say my life, my children's lives and the lives of thousands upon thousands of kids and their families would be much poorer, much more boring, much more insular and much less empathetic without the glorious, brave, life-affirming, boundary-breaking, myth-busting work you have put on the New Vic's stage.
— Edie Demas, Executive Director, Jacob Burns Film Center 

 

Mary Rose Lloyd
Mary reading in the Programming office.
We both started around the same time and we've been a lot of places and seen a lot of work together. And I mean a lot of work! She has been a mentor, the dearest of all colleagues, and more than all of that, a real true friend. I'm a lucky, better man for knowing her and I love her to bits. 
— Tony Reekie, Chief Executive, Imaginate

Mary—how is it possible that as you celebrate your 20th anniversary at the helm of the New Vic, Tall Stories celebrate our 20th year of existence? It's crazy to think back all those years ago to the first time we met you at IPAY 2002 in Philadelphia after our performance of Snow White. After booking the show, you invited us to New York to have a look at the New Vic and you walked us around the venue. We played it as calmly as we could. When you left the room for a moment—all five of us turned to each other and let out a little scream. Did you hear? We always wondered if you had…
— Olivia​ Jacobs​ and Toby​ Mitchell, Joint Artistic Directors, Tall Stories

 

Mary Rose Lloyd
Mary giving opening remarks at the Scottish Theater Forum in 2009. 
There are certain people that you meet in life that just feel like "home." The professional and the personal relationship is not "work." It just is. Mary is one of those people. I just want to hang out with her, eat a bucket of chicken and talk about hair dye. I simply adore her.
— Michael Bobbitt​, Artistic Director, Adventure Theatre MTC

Mary Rose, you have changed all of our lives, inspired the heck out of us and challenged us to be better! My life was forever changed by those weeks in that van as we bounced across the backroads of the Netherlands meeting incredible artists, seeing rehearsals, having dinners and getting to know all of those traveling in the van far too well. I remember laughing myself sick, eating far too much Dutch licorice and feeling like the luckiest guy on the planet to be hanging out with folks like Mary and Tony Reekie. Thanks for kicking our behinds. Thanks for traveling to the furthest corners of the planet to make us see with the eyes of kids and to know just how much we had to change in the USA. You can never stop, you are just getting warmed up. You have been the greatest friend, ally and guide that anyone could want. Thanks for bringing your heart, your critical eye and your fabulous laugh to every moment and for sharing it all so generously. U R DA BEST!
— Peter Brosius, Artistic Director, Children's Theatre Company

While at PennPAT, Mary served on our roster review panel and really provided a terrific lens for viewing traditional theater, physical theater and family programming. I had been contemplating more consulting work with artists, particularly those who created quality programming for young audiences, and Mary was a wonderful resource. She sat down with me that winter and really helped me get clear on my vision, trends in the field, artists to watch and how I could serve; and this ultimately guided me when I took my consulting in the direction of artist management and representation. Through the years she's continued to be a voice for quality family programming and a guide to so many of us who are looking to give this work more mainstream outlets. Congrats on 20 years, Mary! Thank you for all you do!
— Chrissie DiAngelus, Marketing Mentor, Piccadilly Arts
 

 

Mary Rose Lloyd
Mary with her artistic programming team!
I shared almost all my time on the board of IPAY with Mary. She was always generous with both her knowledge and her contacts whenever we were together and I always have appreciated that. She has introduced me to many companies and colleagues over the years; a value that is hard to calculate. Congratulations on 20 years, Mary. All the best form the wilds of New Jersey.
— Alan Liddell, Director of the Nash Theatre, Raritan Valley Community College

20 years! That is incredible. I suppose for me the thing I love about Mary is that she is really upfront about what she likes and what she doesn't. It's refreshingly straightforward. She will still manage to compliment the work, but if it doesn't work for her you know it. Oh, and she is always good for a restaurant tip, too, which is a tremendous skill in itself. Go Mary—here's to the next 20!
— Andy Manley, Creator and Performer, White 

20th Anniversary!?!? Already!?!? Wow I feel old… I remember attending a theater festival in Lyon that first year Mary was in her position at The New Victory. It was 10 days of seeing an excellent array of work along with food, wine and shopping. She became a treasured colleague and friend from that moment. Mary sets the bar as a curator and programmer for children’s performing arts; she personifies excellence both personally and professionally. I salute her and raise a toast to another 20 brilliant years!
— Leanne Tintori Wells, Dance Program Director, NYSCA
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