Welcoming Hackley's Inaugural Creative Resident

Hackley hosted its inaugural teaching artist -- a drama educator -- during the week of February 9-14.  The Creative Residency program is part of the new strategic plan, Redefining Excellence: Learning Beyond Boundaries, and will serve to “promote the Hilltop as a learning hub” by bringing creative teaching artists in Performing Arts, Visual Arts, and Digital Arts to campus.

Elizabeth Anne Smith designed her residency on “the actor in response” with the students. Using Meisner-based repetition exercises with some classes, she helped students deepen their focus of their search for outward information.

The upper grades began in depth text analysis through “Psychophysical Actioning” meant to encapsulate each moment in a single word. Students also explored active analysis techniques that focused on impulse and improvisation to find route to meaning in text.

Middle school students explored being “in response” with basic Meisner repetition that began with meaning objects and meaningful statements. Students worked responsively either creating their own partner driven scenes or on a scene to personalize. Both were performed for their peers.

Student reflections on the learning process included responses such as:
  • In Drama we did some work on applying some elements of truth in our acting to better convey emotions while acting.
  • Ms. Smith brought an interesting idea…. she greatly helped the cast.
  • Always have a reason for everything you do on stage. The reminder to hone in on the purpose for all your movements on stage was really helpful.
  • Paraphrasing lines was helpful.
  • Ms. Smith helped…was really helpful because she helped me embody the character.
  • It was really helpful to learn about the importance of intentions or like doing things with a purpose in theater.
The Creative Residency Program was designed to further enhance instruction and education in the performing, visual, and digital arts. By inviting artists to reside and work collaboratively within a community for an extended period of time, these programs enrich the educational experience of the host institution, and provide developmental and cultural benefits to students, faculty, and community members. Check out this brief video.