Cortney McEniry | Breakout Session

Cortney joins Sarah Jane Hardy for a session called "The Ann Shaw Fellowship: Building Community through Theater for Young Audiences".

About this session: The Ann Shaw Fellowship offers recipients the opportunity to travel in pursuit of research or discovery in the field of TYA. Recent Ann Shaw Fellowship recipients Sarah Jane Hardy (2017) and Cortney McEniry (2016) explore common practices in community building from two very different theatrical sources and lead a discussion on the power of community based theater to revolutionize the relationship between audiences and on-stage performance. 

In Bali, Sarah Jane worked in residence with Balinese Puppet Master I Made Sadia as he created a large scale production in celebration of Indonesian Independence. Community is central to Balinese theater and best practices are sophisticated and effective. Over 200 performers ages 5 to 75 collaborated with the entire village on a performance piece that was rooted in traditional Balinese storytelling while embracing contemporary theatrical technology.  

Cortney McEniry attended an intensive with one of the national leaders in community based theater, Cornerstone Theater Company. Following this intensive, she worked with an ensemble of high school artists at McCarter Theatre Center, applying her training with Cornerstone to a pedagogical model with youth agency at its core.

Sarah Jane and Cortney explore many of the similarities and differences in how community is central to the work they were exposed to and describe how these fellowship experiences have shaped their own work and impacted the field of TYA. 

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About Cortney

Cortney McEniry is beginning her first season at Milwaukee Repertory Theater in the 2017/18 season. Previously, Cortney worked as a community-based theatre-maker and teaching artist throughout the country, working with the Performing Justice Project, Drama for Schools, Conspire Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre Center, Barrington Stage Company, and Synchronicity Theatre Company’s Playmaking for Girls program. At the University of Texas at Austin, Cortney trained peer educators in performance and dialogue facilitation for Voices Against Violence, a nationally-recognized violence prevention program. In Greenville, SC, she co-founded Front Porch Arts Collective, a two-year initiative that hired over 50 local artists and commissioned over 20 new works centered on the stories of the South. In 2016, Cortney was a co-recipient of the Ann Shaw Fellowship to fund her research in community-based youth theatre within regional theatre contexts. Her writing on community-engaged practices can be seen in publications such as Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, the Howlround Blog, TYA Today, Theatre Topics and Youth Theatre Journal, and she has presented workshops and research at conferences including the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and the NYU Forum on Educational Theatre. Cortney received her B.A. from Furman University in South Carolina and her M.F.A. in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities from The University of Texas at Austin.