115: Tap into play with applied theatre artist Amy Sawyers-Williams of See Saw Projects

Play as tool (for all grown-ups) + two bonuses at the end! Amy Sawyers- Williams discusses See Saw Projects’ residencies in the Wake Correctional Center, applied theatre and improv (in particular improv in the time of COVID-19), and Flourish: An Online Arts & Mental Wellness Initiative thru Arts NC State which is a compilation of online resources across the arts.

Double bonus alert: The first bonus is essentially an outtake from my conversation with Amy when my four year busted into our interview. I removed that interlude from the final version because it totally interrupted the flow of our conversation, but I included it at the end of the episode so you can get a sense of the behind the scenes reality (and so you can hear his cute little voice).  The second bonus is a storytelling exercise that Amy was so generous to send me in case you are looking for a writing exercise that you can do at home. I read it at the end, and it’s posted below.

Amy Sawyers-Williams

Amy Sawyers-Williams is a theatre artist and arts educator based in Raleigh. She earned her Master’s in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York (CUNY)  where she became skilled in devising interactive theatre rooted in a desire for social justice. Amy founded See Saw Projects in 2017 with an aim to create applied theatre projects in North Carolina, and is currently running theatre-based workshops at the Wake Correctional Center. Amy can also be found working as a teaching artist, at her day job with Arts NC State, and performing with her improv team “Cheryl!”

This interview was recorded on April 4, 2020; we do discuss the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASBX podcast episode: 011: Artistic Director Amy Sawyers-Williams applies theatre for social justice, education, and healing

Storytelling Activity While Homebound:

A Living Museum

You can do this solo, or with as many people as you are at home with.

Supplies needed

  • Objects of your choosing, and something to write with. A phone to record if you wish.

Instructions

  • Choose as many objects that have personal value to you as you like. For example, this could be a journal, favorite perfume or cologne, pillow, stuffed animal, favorite bowl etc.
  • Place each item around the house, museum style so it is on display.
  • Then get out a writing utensil and paper. Take 10 minutes to write the life story of this object using the first person. In theatre, this would also be called a soliloquy. For example, if I’m using the perfume, the beginning of my story might be: “I remember the day Amy pulled me off the shelf. She spritzed me and seemed really happy with how I smelled. When I came home with her, I met my new shelf mates. A lotion bottle who I now call “Sal” etc etc etc”.
  • Think about what kind of character your object is and what kind of voice they have. Do they have a French accent liket the perfume might? Are they very stressed, or grumpy, or bubbly? Let the story of the object inform what kind of character they are. 
  • If you are solo, you can record yourself performing or speaking your object story. Remeber to include your object’s chararcter trait, or accent if you have one. You can record it on Instagram and use the hashtag #seesawstoryproject

RELIEF FUNDS + RESOURCES:

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox!  This episode was recorded at the ASBX home studio. Artist Soapbox theme music by Bart Matthews. 

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