CUNY Creative Arts Team (CAT) is a nonprofit organization at The City University of New York that uses the power of drama to inspire youth to learn…more.

The mission of the Creative Arts Team is to contribute to the growth and well-being of the young people of NYC by identifying and responding to as many facets of their personal, social, and educational needs as is possible and appropriate to address through the medium of theatre and the related conventions of participatory drama.
Implicitly, this mission contains a complementary commitment to develop and disseminate, locally, nationally and internationally, the pedagogy and methodologies on which the work is predicated; and to work with, train, and otherwise support the many adults who share the lives of the young people either in personal or professional capacities.

It is the vision of the Creative Arts Team that from generation to generation, whether directly or indirectly, it should touch the lives of every young New Yorker; and that beyond the boundaries of New York City it should become established as a national center for applied theatre, and recognized as a world leader in the development of applied theatre theory and practice.

The work of the Creative Arts Team is based upon the following artistic and educational principles:

  • Applied theatre/ educational drama is both an aesthetic activity and a powerful medium for change that can illuminate all aspects of human experience
  • Applied theatre/ educational drama is ideally suited for the development of self-knowledge, emotional maturity, creativity, critical thinking, decision making, advocacy and communication skills; above all it is a collaborative and social activity
  • Cultural activity, particularly theatre/drama, is able to portray problematized visions of reality in complex, dynamic, provocative but entertaining ways which pose essential, challenging questions about our individual and social selves and encourage the formation of a critical relationship to our world
  • Applied interactive theatre techniques and education drama provide individuals with unique opportunities to be actively engaged as both the subjects and objects in the learning process
  • The main emphasis of our work is on learning through theatre rather than about theatre, but there is no essential dichotomy between the learning that can arise from participation in the creative process, and the understandings that can be engendered by an encounter with pre-prepared forms and content, particularly where the presented work embraces a participatory relationship with the audience: the educational principles are the same, though the activities and the time-frame they inhabit may vary
  • The most effective education occurs when people recognize the need to learn and perceive the relevance the content of study has to their own lives
  • Education is an holistic process of discovery, and should not be narrowly defined in terms of outcomes; it should actively engage the whole person, both cognitively and affectively: the same is true for art
  • Teachers (including actor-teachers) have the responsibility to stimulate and structure this process; they should offer leadership, guidance and challenges, but not presume to give the answers
  • The most productive relationship between teacher and student is one of co-intentionality: the teacher and student engaged on a journey of enquiry together, both open to learn from the other
  • In the co-intentional relationship the experience of all participants should be understood and validated: it is therefore essential to acknowledge and actively engage with the different perspectives that accompany differences in gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class and culture
  • The diversity of the many groups that CAT serves should be reflected in the composition, culture, processes, and priorities of the organization itself
  • The relevance of knowledge is most apparent when it is applied, and the most profound understanding emerges from practical experience
  • The unity of teacher and the artist exists in the shared commitment to question received truths, stimulate curiosity, provoke critical responses to the experiences of lived reality, and encourage the search for creative alternatives to those manifestations of individual and collective behavior that inhibit the development of full human potential and prevent the achievement of happiness
  • The artist-educator should constantly strive to develop effective and relevant forms, processed and content to meet the changing needs of the audience; the work should be of the highest possible artistic and educational standard; renewed challenges and training for the artist-educator are essential.

Chris Vine
Artistic & Education Advisor, CAT
Academic Program Director, MA in Applied Theatre


© 2018 Creative Arts Team

101 W. 31st Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10001 | (212) 652-2800 | info@creativeartsteam.org

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