Shakespeare For A New World: The Palestinian Voice
Manhattan Shakespeare Project is going GLOBAL!!
We’re sending two teaching artists and a documentary film director to Palestine to work with the students at the Drama Academy Ramallah and The Freedom Theatre in the Jenin refugee camp.
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Shakespeare For A New World: The Palestinian Voice will engage culturally diverse groups through the process of mentorship; creating theatre with a community with whom they would not normally have the opportunity to work. It will expand knowledge and resources of these artists and strengthen their artistic voices and imaginations to cultivate the imagery of what can be different and change the world around them. It will engage communities outside of Palestine through documentary film-making by bringing these voices and stories of Palestinian artists to them.
To accomplish this 5 MSP artists will work with 2 communities in Palestine, Drama Academy Ramallah (DAR) and Jenin refugee camp to complete: 1) A series of workshops in movement, voice, and Shakespeare text with the students of DAR. 2) An original ensemble piece performed for the public in Ramallah. 3) The presentation of this piece at The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, preceding workshops for students in Jenin that will incorporate DAR students in a mentorship role. 4) A documentary film of this process sharing the work, methodology, and stories of these Palestinian artists with an audience beyond the Palestinian borders. The film and methodology will be used for educational outreach to symposiums across the US, and made available worldwide where students that have created collaborative theatre pieces can use this model to mentor new students.
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Sarah Eismann (teaching artist: Shakespeare Text & Performance), a native Jersey girl, recently received her MFA in Acting from Columbia University School of the Arts. She got her BFA in Drama at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where she attended the Playwrights Horizons Theatre School studio. She has also worked with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London in their Shakespeare in Performance course, the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver in their Summer Intensive, and Teatr Piesn Kozla in Wroclaw, Poland in their Acting Techniques workshop.
Sarah has been performing professionally and teaching for over 18 years. After graduating from NYU, she moved from New York and lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota doing mostly children’s theatre. Among others, she had the pleasure of working with the 2003 Tony award-winning Children’s Theatre Company for a season. She then moved out to California and worked as a performer / teaching artist for two seasons with California Theatre Center, and two seasons with The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. She also had the opportunity to work with the California Shakespeare Theatre, Center Rep, Woman’s Will, Pear Avenue Theatre, The Western Stage and several long and short form improv troupes.
As a teaching artist, Sarah has taught and directed at the elementary, middle and high school levels: improvisation, voice, movement, acting, and all aspects of Shakespeare. Sarah was an adjunct faculty member at Solano Community College in Fairfield, California where she completely redesigned their Youth Theatre program. She has experience working across disciplines and art forms and has worked closely with classroom teachers. Among others she has taught with Classic Stage Company and Summer Theatre Institute (New York), California Shakespeare Theatre, Solano Youth Theatre, Marin Shakespeare Company, CLAP Arts, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Kids on Camera, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Peninsula Youth Theatre, Children’s Musical Theatre San Jose, and California Theatre Center.
Now back in New York, Sarah has worked with internationally renowned teachers and directors Kristin Linklater, Andrei Serban, Niky and Ulla Wolcz, Gregory Mosher, Larry Singer, Anne Bogart, John Erman, and Kim Weild, just to name a few. She has studied Linklater Voice Technique, Shakespeare Text and Performance, Biomechanics, Meyerhold, Viewpoints, Film, the Greeks, the Absurdists, French farce, Strindberg, Commedia del’Arte, and Chekhov, as well as classical and contemporary American playwrights and theatre.
Sarah’s artistic philosophy is her belief in the power of theatre, and Shakespeare specifically, as an educational tool to enliven and engage imaginations. The power to imagine what is impossible and unimaginable opens the doors to active positive change in ourselves, our communities, and our world.
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Jensen Olaya (teaching artist: Viewpoints & Movement)was born in Bataan, Philippines, and raised between the U.S. Navy bases located in Yokosuka, Japan and San Diego, California. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from San Diego State University, where her experimental theatre training began under the guidance of mentor, dancer, director and playwright, Margaret Larlham. Jensen was a company member of Larlham’s TYME Company for three years while attending SDSU. She then went on to train with SITI Company, first in Los Angeles, and then intensively again in New York City, learning about Composition and the Viewpoints. It was during her work with SITI Company when she was inspired by the work of world renowned director, Anne Bogart. The experience led to her decision to apply to Columbia University’s MFA in Acting Program, where Ms. Bogart was faculty. Since her acceptance to the university, she has been taught the Viewpoints through her teacher, Barney O’Hanlon, and attended Anne Bogart’s collaboration class, where Columbia playwrights, directors, stage managers, and actors created new works together. While at Columbia, she was also taught the Linklater Vocal Technique through Kristin Linklater, herself, and she has been under the guidance of international directors, Andrei Serban, Niky Wolcz, and Ulla Wolcz, and American directors, Gregory Mosher, Larry Singer, Anne Bogart, John Erman, and Kim Weild. Her body of works include the Greek canon, Beckett, Shakespeare, Chekhov, as well as classical and contemporary American playwrights, such as Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, to John Pielmeier, and Robert Glaudini, respectively.
Last summer, she attended a workshop series at Song of the Goat Theatre in Wroclaw, Poland, which furthered her physical theatre training. There, she practiced Grotowski-based movement tactics in order to free the mind, body, and voice of the actor. She worked closely with Artistic director and co-founder, Anna Zubrzycki and Rafal Habel. She was so inspired that she decided to do a second workshop with her Columbia colleagues at Song of the Goat in Poland again but in November, after the Columbia Actors’ Thesis tour in Essen, Germany took place.
This year she trained and taught Shakespeare workshops for Classic Stage Company’s Young Company, bringing Shakespeare to high school students in their classrooms. She was also cast as Hero in the Young Company production of Much Ado About Nothing. She was also a teaching artist in training at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, upon graduating from SDSU in 2007. Jensen received her MFA in Acting from Columbia University in May 2012. She hopes to continue her mind, body, voice exploration for the rest of her artistic career.
Her recent New York theatre credits include: Hero, Much Ado About Nothing(Classic Stage Company), The Welsh Woman, Henry IV part I & II (Resonance Ensemble Theatre), The Parlour Maid, La Ronde, Hippolyta, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, (Columbia Stages). San Diego theatre credits: The Medium,Rashomon (Northcoast Rep), Dear Miss Breed (Lyceum Theatre) The Jungle Book,Fire & Mist, The Musical Adventures of the Boy Mozart (California Center for the Arts).
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In the last few years Lena Rudnick (Documentary Film Director) has been all over the map, both figuratively and literally. She explored crystal mines in the mountains of Brazil for upcoming Discovery Channel show Mineral Explorers. She documented an organization fighting TB in rural India. She studied at the renowned FAMU in Prague.She creates video performances with experimental musicians in non-traditional spaces for Brooklyn’s Original Music Workshop. Currently Lena is a directing candidate in Columbia’s prestigious MFA film program, where she works tirelessly honing her story-telling skills.
She has completely 4 short films with international screenings and is finishing her second feature length script. Most recently, her short film El Spanish Lesson(writer/producer) showed at the NY International Latino Film Festival and her commissioned art can be viewed on OMW’s website. While her developing body of work spans many types of projects Lena’s strength as an artist is in her international perspective and the mixture of comedy and pathos she infuses into her humanity.