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Drew Theatre Grads on Value of Real-World Experiences

Worked with premier New York theatre company.

April 2019 – In a return to Drew University, theatre arts graduates said what they learned through Drew’s relationship with New York City’s Tectonic Theater Project—and its signature “moment work” approach to “devising” productions—informed and animated their creative lives.

Drew partners with the renowned company on the school’s New York Theatre Semester and has collaborated with Tectonic to teach its methodology and stage original shows created by students, including “A Metamorphosis” in 2017, “4320p: Immersion” in 2018 and “Stillwater” earlier this year.

With moment work, productions are developed by writers, actors, producers and technical specialists working collaboratively at the onset as opposed to the traditional layered approach where others come in later to animate a writer’s work.

The “fluidity” of the technique helped prepare Shafer Ward C’17 for standup comedy. Ward also produces comedy shows. Likewise, Francine Odri C’14 uses devising as a theater arts teacher at the Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart and a freelance director and dramaturg.

Emily Dzioba C’18, an education assistant at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick and a theatre literary manager, said simply, “I credit moment work with rewiring my brain to find work that is engaging and compelling.”

The other returning alumni were Victoria Detres C’17, a producing fellow at New York Theatre Workshop, MJ Santry C’17, an actor and production assistant and Philipe Abiyouness C’17, a teacher at a Bronx charter school who traveled with Tectonic to Lebanon to present a workshop at the American University of Beirut.

Also on hand were Tectonic members Scott Barrow, who encouraged attendees to highlight the moment experience on their resumés, and Barbara Pitts McAdams, who’s also an adjunct instructor at Drew. Associate Professor Lisa Brenner moderated the discussion.