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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Playmakers Teaches Campers All Aspects of Production

by Erik Weasenforth, Marketing Associate VISTA

This week’s theme for Theatre Action Project (TAP) Summer Camp is Playmakers at both our Trinity United Methodist Church and Lakeway locations. During Playmakers, campers work together to put on a short, original play. Campers will learn about teamwork by experiencing all aspects of the production, from the set to the costumes to the performance. The magic of the theatre comes alive in Friday afternoon’s performance!

From the set to the costumes to the performance, campers learn all aspects of production at Playmakers.
Photo on far right by Carol Acurso

Getting Your Heart Beating

by Mary Alice Carnes, Community Relations Director

I visited TAP camp last Wednesday during our Rhythm and Drums week. The energy in every session was electrifying. There’s something about making a rhythmic sound that makes your heart beat faster. I witnessed the fun you can make from making a drum out of a plastic paint bucket turned upside down, stomping your feet, and the ka-thump, ka-thump you get from moving your body and singing.

All of this drumming brought back memories of the show Stomp I saw years ago at Austin’s Paramount Theatre where everything was turned into a percussive instrument: brooms, plastic bags, pasta (yes pasta!) and even the kitchen sink.

Rhythm and Drums campers showed me that to be a creative artist, all that was needed was to trust in the guidance of a devoted Teaching Artist, follow our hearts, and step through the door to our imagination.

TAP Camp continues through August 1oth. Don’t miss all the fun!

Freddy’s 7th Year at Theatre Action Project

by Freddy Carnes, Artistic Associate

I am coming up on my seventh anniversary with Theatre Action Project (TAP) and  I have loved every moment!  It is the best kind of non-profit organization:

  • It does amazing work every day with the children of Central Texas.
  • It is a model for arts education.
  • It is also a model for how an employer treats its employees: with respect and empowerment.

I have proudly told many people that I work for such an amazing company.

Natalie Goodnow (left) and Brian Fahey (right, with Carol Ann Willhite and Chelsea Gilman) will be leaving TAP soon, and we will miss them)

I must also say that two of the best people who also happen to work for TAP will be leaving soon.  I have worked with Natalie Goodnow since 2007, first touring with her in “The Heroes/Los Heroes”, then working with teacher training.  I found her gentle and giving.  We will miss you, Natalie.

Brian Fahey has been a wonderful human who also works with all of the touring shows and markets many of our programs including summer camp.  He has brought such intelligence and energy to his job that sometimes I forget how hard his job is.  You will be missed, Brian.

AmeriCorps Works Video Contest

by Erik Weasenforth, Marketing Associate VISTA

This past month, I worked on a video project to submit to the 2012 AmeriCorps Video Contest. The theme for the contest is “AmeriCorps Works” so I tried to communicate:

  • The diversity of people who work for AmeriCorps and their effect on  their communities
  • Who we serve
  • The variety of locations served in communities across America (including different cities and variety of organizations being helped)

I ended up having Mary Alice Carnes, my AmeriCorps VISTA supervisor and fellow Theatre Action Project (TAP) coworker, give a great quick speech in my video on how the AmeriCorps VISTA program helps us out at TAP.

Public voting is currently open from now until September 1st, and I’d appreciate any votes to help me win this competition.

To vote, follow this link: http://bit.ly/ORjRrM. Click vote, fill out the form and it will send you an email to confirm your vote. Make sure to confirm your vote or it won’t become official!

Here’s the video:

I’d like to thank everyone who was in my video as well as a special thanks to Lance McNeil, a VISTA at Foundation Communities, for helping me with great ideas and for creating the music for the video.

Volunteer Satisfaction

by Katie Grills, Community Relations AmeriCorps VISTA

Katie Grills and volunteers Elena Stross (left) and Corinna Archer (right)

The results from Theatre Action Project’s Volunteer Satisfaction Survey are in, and we’re thrilled by the response that we received.

Here are some highlights from our feedback:

  • Working with youth was a very high priority for most of our volunteers.
  • Volunteers wanted to include more creativity in their lives.
  • Most volunteers saw the possibility to make a difference in the lives of others.
  • Our volunteers were overwhelmingly satisfied with their experience working with us.
  • Most volunteers indicated that they were either very or extremely likely to volunteer with us again, as well as recommend TAP as a place to volunteer to their friends or family.

Here are some of our volunteers’ comments from the survey:

  • “…it was very easy to get involved.”
  • “I volunteered because I wanted more experience with kids. Your summer camp was the perfect opportunity to do so.”
  • “I particularly enjoyed one teaching artist who did film-making with the kids. His way of film-making with kids was loose, fun, creative and fast paced, I will remember his tricks and techniques for future projects with kids!”
  • “Great group of people to work with, from diverse backgrounds and experiences.”

There were also some fantastic suggestions made to improve our program, including ways to better register and organize volunteers before events, ways to integrate volunteers into the classroom experience, and suggestions for improving our communication with volunteers.

We greatly appreciate all that you do, and cannot wait for another great school year to begin!

Teaching Artist positions available for Theatre Action Project

Theatre Action Project (TAP) uses the creative arts to activate the academic, social and emotional development of young people. Through interactive classroom performances, after-school residencies and community based programs, TAP’s team of professional teaching artists inspire youth to be creative artists, courageous allies, critical thinkers, and confident leaders in their community.

We are currently seeking Teaching Artists of all disciplines (theatre, dance, visual art, film, puppetry, etc.) for the 2012 – 2013 school year to work with Austin area youth in our TAP After School programming for grades preK – 12th. Applicants must have professional artistic experience and demonstrate a genuine interest in arts education. Teaching Artists (TAs) at TAP must be:

  • Highly creative
  • Energetic
  • Enthusiastic team players
  • Have experience in writing curriculum.

All TAs are hired as part-time employees for the duration of the school year, August – June. TAs are expected to have general availability between the hours of 2:00 PM and 6:30 PM Monday – Friday, although specific schedules will be determined according to school placements. Bilingual (Spanish – English) candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. TAs must be available for auditions and interviews on August 1st  or 2nd and training starting August 20.

If you are interested in this position, please email your CV or resume to sarah@theatreactionproject.org no later than July 23, 2012.

Donate Supplies to TAP After-School

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

Theatre Action Project (TAP) After-School is always looking for new, used, and unusual supplies to add to our Supply Area. We stock a lot of craft supplies including:

  • scissors
  • paper
  • glue
  • glitter
  • pom-poms
  • plus much more!

TAP’s supply arsenal isn’t limited to what you might find at Hobby Lobby, though. We acquire a lot of recycled and materials from thoughtful donors and local recycling centers like Ecology Action. Anything and everything a teaching artist might need including: shoe boxes, paper towel rolls, buttons, brads, bubble-wrap, bamboo, newspaper, is organized and housed at the TAP office.

There are a few easy ways to donate to TAP After-School. All donations are tax-deductible and will be used to inspire learning in a TAP classroom throughout the school year. You can visit our Amazon Wishlist to donate either:

You can donate directly through Amazon and your purchase will be shipped to TAP. Or you can drop off gently used books, electronics (digital cameras, tripods), school, and craft supplies to the TAP office. Contact Cassie Swayze at cassie@theatreactionproject.org or 512-442-8773 x109 to arrange a time to donate.