Theatre Without Borders: Teaching Artists in 2017
Written by Sarah Rebell- Illustrations by Desiree Nasim
September 28th, 2017
Excerpt from http://theintervalny.com/features/2017/09/theatre-without-borders-teaching-artists-in-2017/ - Read more here.
The arts can have a powerful effect on students of all types, including those with special needs. It can be an opportunity to help bring those who are not typically considered as communicative or empathic into the broader community. Leah Miles, a musical theatre writer who spent more than half a decade working with the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and ArtsConnection (an arts nonprofit specializing in comprehensive research and curriculum development for NYC public school students) believes that “the most powerful work” she ever did as a teaching artist was through ArtsConnection’s STAARS, which she describes as “a program that exposes children on the autism spectrum to the performing and creative arts.” The participants ranged from high functioning children on the autism spectrum to children who were non-verbal, with seemingly limited cognitive abilities. But all of the students appeared to “respond so fully and wholeheartedly” to the musical activities in the STAARS curriculum. “There’s a joy that radiates from them when they’re performing,” said Leah. “I learned a lot about what it means to be human in the presence of these kids. It was an amazing community to belong to.”