The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater partners with several community organizations.
Trenton Youth Theater
Trenton Youth Theater is the newest addition to the Saturday Morning Arts program offered through Trenton Arts at Princeton. Saturday Morning Arts establishes a community where Trenton and Princeton students can gather regularly to create art together. Starting in Fall 2020, Trenton students can participate in Trenton Youth Theater in addition to the Trenton Youth groups offered for Orchestra, Singers, and Dancers.
Princeton alumnus Victoria Davidjohn ’19 serves as Director; Princeton theater faculty Jane Cox, Shariffa Ali, and Tess James as Faculty Fellows; and Trenton Central High School theater teacher Felicia Brown as Teacher Partner. Princeton theater students are encouraged to sign up as volunteers.
About the Program
Following Princeton University’s academic calendar, Trenton Youth Theater (TYT) will be broken into two semesters of instruction, each lasting about 10-12 weeks. In fall 2020, during which rehearsals will take place online, students will work on developing specific skills related to theater, such as directing, acting, and lighting design. In the spring, with their freshly-honed skills, the students will work with their Princeton student mentors to create their own works of theater. Inspired by Princeton’s holistic approach to theater, TYT students will be exposed to all aspects of theater-making.
TYT is open to students in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) theater program at Trenton Central High School. Trenton’s CTE programs are meant to prepare students without any prior experience in specialized fields, such as theater, for intensive study in higher education and/or as professionals. In ninth grade, students have the opportunity to enroll in a CTE program of their choosing, and receive formal instruction for the rest of their three years at TCHS through a series of workshops and structured learning experiences.
Princeton students interested in volunteering for TYT should email Director Victoria Davidjohn at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in applying for the TYT Student Leader/Trenton Arts Fellow position, please email Trenton Arts at Princeton Program Manager Lou Chen at email@example.com.
Turn The Page: A Movement to Uplift Black-Owned Bookstores
Turn The Page: A Movement to Uplift Black-Owned Bookstores is a collective striving to ignite a community of readers who commit to decolonize their bookshelves, to redistribute wealth into black communities and to take actions toward Black liberation. Turn The Page was founded by Princeton University’s Program in Theater graduate Edwin Rosales ‘17 and co-led by fellow program graduate Abigail Jean-Baptiste ’18.
The founders of Turn The Page watched as Amazon sold out of books featured on anti-racist reading lists, while Black bookstores, which have been selling so-called anti-racist books for decades, struggled to stay open during the Covid-19 pandemic. This inspired the founders to question definitions of allyship and activism, and Turn The Page was born with a simple challenge to the community: buy and read a book from a Black-owned bookstore each month.
TURN THE PAGE: MISSION STATEMENT
We are grounded in practices of grassroots activism and radical Black collectives that have done the work of Black liberation before us and continue to do the work today. The Turn The Page Collective is a group of multi-racial young artists hoping to deepen our own work in Black liberation through partnerships and collaborations with Black-owned bookstores who are rooted in their communities. We build relationships with Black-owned bookstores and seek out how our collective and our community of readers can best support their business and their community. Our work is about easing the workload of the bookstores with whom we partner, to help counter the ways white supremacist capitalism has consistently worked to stifle Black-owned business.
Turn The Page efforts always center Black literature, Black artists, and of course, Black-owned bookstores. With our bookstore partner, we develop bi-monthly Black Literature Collections for our Community of Readers. From these Collections, our readers select the books they want to purchase from the bookstore and commit to reading and engaging with these books. We sponsor events and conversations with Black writers, scholars, activists, artists, and more, which are curated around the works, themes, and questions highlighted in the current Black Literature Collection. Finally, we practice non-reciprocal giving by fundraising for Black-led literacy programs and events in our partnered bookstore’s community. Our first fundraiser is for Source of Knowledge’s annual Read and Feed event taking place in Fall 2020.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT
In just two months in spring 2020, the Turn The Page Community of Readers brought in over $25,000 in sales to Source of Knowledge, purchased over 1,300 books, and raised over $3,000 to Source of Knowledge’s Read and Feed. A second Collection launches on August 7, 2020, through a partnership with the Lewis Center for the Arts. Follow Turn the Page on Facebook for the latest updates, events, and information on how to join the movement.
CLASSIX is a series created by Awoye Timpo to expand the classical canon through an exploration of dramatic works by Black writers. They define these classic works as plays by authors of African descent from around the world that speak profoundly to the times in which they were written and resonate deeply with our own. CLASSIX engages artists, historians, students, professors, producers and audiences to launch these plays into the public imagination and spark productions worldwide. The CLASSIX team includes Brittany Bradford, A.J. Muhammad, Dominique Rider, Arminda Thomas, and Awoye Timpo.
Princeton University’s Program in Theater will be partnering with CLASSIX in the coming years to support the expansion of the classical canon to include more plays by writers of African descent. The Program in Theater will participate in this work through various interactions between the professional artists of CLASSIX and theater students. These collaborations will include participation in play readings and play development processes, class visits, and larger inter-departmental discussions. The participation of the Program in Theater is supported by Princeton University’s Humanities Council.
CLASSIX began in 2017 as a series of staged readings in collaboration with the Martin E. Segal Center. The series featured 35 actors, 4 directors and 4 dramaturgs in a 2-day festival. The plays explored were Wine in the Wilderness by Alice Childresss, What the Wine Sellers Buy by Ron Milner, The Forbidden City by Bill Gunn and The Brothers by Kathleen Collins. In 2019, CLASSIX began a partnership with Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) to produce an ongoing series of readings, productions and symposia. The first play in this series, Alice Childress’ Wedding Band, was produced in February 2020.
CLASSIX engages the larger narrative of these plays through conversations with historians and theatre makers on its podcast series, social media platforms, and in live events; educational outreach; new writings and analysis; and an archive of information on its website.
Public Works at the Public Theater
The Program in Theater offers an annual funded summer internship with the Public Theater’s Public Works program.
PUBLIC WORKS, a major program of the Public Theater, aims to restore and build community by connecting people through theater—both performing it and experiencing it—reminding us that we’re all in this together. Working with partner organizations in all 5 boroughs of New York City, Public Works invites community members to take classes, attend performances and join in the creation of ambitious works of participatory theater. Learn more about the Public Theater »
The Sol Project
Launched in 2016, The Sol Project is a national theater initiative dedicated to producing the work of Latinx playwrights in New York City and beyond. Guided by the values of joy, rigor and generosity, The Sol Project works in partnership with leading theaters around the country to amplify Latinx voices and build artistic homes for artists of color. Through the writers we champion, The Sol Project aspires to create a bold, powerful, and kaleidoscopic body of work for the new American theater. Learn more about The Sol Project »
Associate Professor of Theater Brian Herrera is the Resident Scholar for The Sol Project, and Lecturer in Theater Elena Araoz serves on the Advisory Circle.
Theatrical Intimacy Education
Founded in 2017, Theatrical Intimacy Education is a consulting group specializing in researching, developing, and teaching best practices for staging theatrical intimacy. Theatrical Intimacy Education empowers artists with the tools to ethically, efficiently, and effectively stage intimacy, nudity, and sexual violence. The Program in Theater hosts several workshops each year with Theatrical Intimacy Education. Learn more about Theatrical Intimacy Education »
MAESTRA MUSIC, INC. was founded by composer/lyricist and music director Georgia Stitt to give support, visibility, and community to the women who make the music in the musical theater industry. Their membership is made up of female-identifying, non-binary, and gender non-conforming composers, music directors, orchestrators, arrangers, copyists, rehearsal pianists and other musicians who are an underrepresented minority in musical theater. The organization’s initiatives include monthly educational seminars, mentorship programs, technical skills workshops, networking events, and online resources and partnerships that aim to promote equality of opportunity and to address the many historical disadvantages and practices that have limited women composers and musicians in the musical theater. Learn more about Maestra »
After offering the first summer internship in 2020, the Programs in Theater and Music Theater plan to have future internship opportunities for students with Maestra.