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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.


The New Victory Theater is dedicated to creating opportunities for you and your family to play together. We invite you to share a giggle, try some new moves and deepen your awe and understanding of the performing arts by participating in our celebrated public engagement programs with your family. With every visit to the theater, join in the fun of exploring the art forms presented on our stage. Our lobbies aren't just a place to wait for the show to start–they're an important part of your family's trip to the New Vic.

As the Assistant Director of Education/Public Engagement I oversee and create age-appropriate content specifically focused on engaging families in the art forms and themes of the show. I love being able to watch the shows and collaboratively create with our teaching artists and staff, activities that families may want to play with and explore before or after a performance. Every Monday morning after a weekend of shows I eagerly open the post-show surveys to see if anyone has mentioned the public engagement events. In December we received a glowing note in the post-show survey about the Arts Express before Mother Africa from Joanna. We reached out asking if she would write a more detailed account of her experience with her two kids. I hope you enjoy it and that you join us in the lobby for a pre/post show arts express!

 


Joanna's Daughter
This winter, before the Mother Africa show, my family and I escaped the cold and arrived at the New Victory as the doors opened. We grabbed a free locker and stored our coats and bags and my seven-year-old stowed her unfashionable rain boots, swapping them out for more fashionable glittery slippers. Now the family is unencumbered and she feels properly adorned. We're free to enjoy the transformed downstairs lobby. This magical space of friendly people and activities beckons the family as soon as we enter into its orbit. 

This is just the beginning of a New Victory Arts Express event and there is something for everyone. For the visual artist, grab a marker, design your own quilt square and pin it up or take it home. For the musician, come make some beats with the drums. For the athlete, you can hula hoop your heart out or, you can hit the juggling station, lay on your back, stick your feet in the air and try to juggle a pillow with your feet. Do you have a willing adult whose arm you can twist? Get them to crawl on all fours on some cushioned mats as the kid tries to balance on your back (with a New Victory staff member aiding and spotting). While each New Victory Arts Express event is different, there's always an enticing mix of activities that appeal to many different learning styles and comfort zones. 

Different kids and adults, staff members and visitors were all exploring and experimenting, dipping a big toe into the waters of what we were about to see on stage with Mother Africa. My extremely intellectual assessment was: "This is great! The kids are getting their wiggles out." I have to confess, the awesome and enthusiastic staff member with whom I had been conversing, looked a bit crestfallen. All this effort to imagine an engaging arts workshop, and it's about… wiggles? However, there is something to be said for getting your wiggles out right before a show.

Mother Africa DecorationsArriving at a theater often means you only watch others get to move and sing and dance–that's just unbearable for some kids–mine included. And that said, these events really do encourage so much more than just wiggles. Audience members get to meet and interact with other audience and staff members. Kids get invited to play and stretch their imaginations with music, art, stories and dance. I don't have to start my night out with my family with an endless stream of, "Please be quiet, no you can't eat, please be still." Instead, I get to say, "Let's play, imagine and create!"

Of course I want my kids to appreciate watching art, but I also want them to have a toehold on making, creating and doing. We don't always have the time or money to allow the kids to do all the creative exploration we would like. However, I'm glad they get that opportunity with The New Victory Theater. 


 
New Victory Thumb Learn to juggle at the Pre-Show Activities for Water on Mars! Get your tickets today.
Posted by Beth Henderson
August 24, 2016

Growing Up New Vic


Written by Miranda Cornell, Summer 2016 Education Apprentice

 

Miranda and Mom
Miranda and her mom explore NYC in 2005!
In December of 2016, The New Victory Theater will turn twenty-one years old. This past June, I turned nineteen years old. And ten years into The New Victory’s life, in December of 2005, our paths intersected and I saw my first New Vic show, a holiday circus from the Golden Dragon Acrobats. Nearly eleven years later, I am sitting at my desk in the middle of the New Victory Education Department, writing this blog post. A lot has changed over the past decade—I have grown sixteen inches, can differentiate between b’s and d’s, started my college tenure and, perhaps most importantly, have begun my career in the theater. 

The arts have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Somewhere between dance classes, theater groups, piano lessons and trips to various performances around New York City, my #LoveOfTheater developed in full force. I don’t need to list the statistics on how exposure to the arts affects children; the studies have been done and the effect is a positive one. I can, however, explore my personal experiences with theater and the arts—from some of my earliest memories to rehearsals for the play I am currently directing—by interviewing my mom, a former actress, about our experiences at the New Vic, from 2005 to now.
 

 

Miranda this summer
Miranda during her summer as an Apprentice!
Miranda Cornell: Why The New Victory? What about this theater made you want to bring me (and friends) there?

Jill Cornell: The shows at The New Victory are marked by joy and wonder. The best theater has a magical quality: a sock becomes a puppet, a box can be a bed, a lavatory or a ship. I brought you to The New Victory to see great theater that happened to be created for kids, not because it was kid’s theater. Especially when you were in middle school, I just wanted you to see shows that would interest you that, I could enjoy as well.

MC: In your opinion, how did the performances that we saw at the New Vic strengthen a connection between us?

JC: I wanted to expand your world by going to the theater with you. The New Victory allowed me to do that by bringing in shows from all over the world at an affordable ticket price. There were also the workshops before the shows that were fun! Seeing shows together and being able to talk about the subject matter or the productions were the foundations for a lot of our communication. That was, and still is, very important to me as a parent.

MC: Do you think that taking me to see various shows around New York City (many at The New Vic) has shaped my view of theater or has influenced where I am today in my theatrical career?

JC: I think a lot of your taste in theater can be traced to The New Victory. As you begin to explore your Education major at school and your interest in this part of the field, I wholeheartedly believe that your passion for arts education was sparked by the acrobats, pigs and magic boxes we saw at The New Vic. 

 

Golden Dragon Acrobats
The first show Miranda saw at the New Vic, Cirque Ziva from the Golden Dragon Acrobats. Photo: Amitava Sarka
MC: Do you think that I would have discovered this passion of mine this early on if I had not been exposed to such high quality theater at such a young age?

JC: Your early arts education taught you so much more than how to move around on stage. Arts education laid the foundation for your emotional intelligence, your ability to reason and infer meaning from complicated material. It also provided a visceral, creative experience that went beyond basic learning. Children’s bodies and brains flourish with an arts curriculum, regardless if they become engineers or win Tony Awards. 

MC: What is it like for you, as a parent who once brought their child to The New Victory, to have that same child now working as a summer apprentice here? Additionally, we still talk about some of the shows we saw here. Considering that these shows are meant for children and families, why is it that a mother and her college-aged daughter still think about those shows?

JC: Being able to still enjoy The New Vic’s programming speaks to the breadth of their artistic vision, almost as a whole community approach. Their dedication to diversity is also a major strength and draw for us as a multicultural and multiracial family. Having you do an apprenticeship there is both exciting and gratifying as you explore who you want to be as a working adult in both theater and education. I’m excited that you continue to be nurtured by The New Victory’s artistic and education programming as an adult and that you’ve found a home there this summer. 
 

This summer has been a crazy whirlwind of running from the New Vic to rehearsal studios for FringeNYC, but I would not change a single thing even if I could. I think it is safe to say that The New Victory has laid the foundation for pretty much everything I want to do with my life, especially a career in the theater as an artist and as an educator. To be back here this summer is almost like returning back home—back to a place that holds dear memories from the past, as well as a place I hope to come back to in the future. 

 
Miranda Cornell Miranda Cornell is a rising sophomore at Vassar College where she is a double major in Drama and Education and a summer apprentice in the New Victory Education Department. In addition to her studies, she serves as the Artistic Director for Semicolon Theatre Company, a company dedicated to presenting the voices of theatre artists 21 and under Off and Off-Off Broadway. She is currently directing Semicolon’s most recent production, #Blessed at the New York International Fringe Festival. In her spare time, you can find her obsessively watching cooking shows and making theater with eight year olds, though not at the same time. 

 
Posted by Beth Henderson
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