OTW 2017 is just around the corner, and we are getting our travel plans in order and putting our conference schedules together. There are some really exciting Breakout Sessions we’ll be offering this year, and we asked our Breakout Session facilitators to share a little more about their workshops. Learn more at OTW2017.ORG.
The Creation of “A Palette of Possibility,” with Gretta Berghammer, Matthew Gutschick, Michael Miller, Fran Sillau
What is the “Big Question or Idea” you plan to explore at OTW? What conversation are you starting? We are asking the question “is it possible to devise work for students with sensory processing challenges while including a pre-kindergarten audience?” The core of this question is about whether universal design or learning principles can be applied to an artistic endeavor that engages both of these important audiences.
Why is now the right time to engage participants in this topic? As theaters and individual artists consider how to create innovative and time-intensive work that can be scaled for maximum impact, “Palette of Possibility” was a show that played to an integrated audience at The Rose Theater before being handed off to other arts organizations with long-standing histories of working with students who have Autism. This allowed The Rose to use its limited time and capital to create something uniquely made for both students with Autism as well as for a pre-K audience. We then handed the show off to a few arts entities that toured the show and modified it further to suit their particular audiences. Subsequent iterations of the show have been customized by the organizations that work specifically with early learners and some that work specifically with special needs populations. Many theaters like The Rose have their “if only” wish list of audiences they would like to work with, given limited time and money. That challenge is an immediate one for our field, and we found a workable way of scaling a show to suit two unique audiences without sacrificing technique or best practices educationally.
How does your session tie into the OTW theme “Innovate/Activate”? We are providing a sustainable model for not only devising unique work at a professional level, but also for meeting the growing hunger for work that speaks specifically to students with Autism and specifically to early learners. That is an innovation that we feel will be useful for other organizations and artists to utilize in their own work.
What are you most excited about attending at OTW (besides your session)? Connecting with colleagues and learning from other artists and theaters about the ways we can challenge ourselves institutionally to better serve our audiences.