Westminster Education Professor Makes Waves with a New Play on Teaching
Making Waves! is a play for teachers, parents and anyone concerned about education
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Contact: Krista DeAngelis (801) 832-2682
Sept. 21, 2009
SALT LAKE CITY – In a recent play that’s been described as the “Vagina Monologues meets the Colbert Report,” three educator-playwrights describe real-world stories about teaching and the challenges of being a teacher. Performed by actual educators in the Wasatch Theatre Company, the theatrical production of Making Waves! premiers for the first time to a local audience during the “Page to Stage Festival” on September 10, 12, 18, 20 and 26 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.
Westminster education professor Heidi Van Ert, P.h.D., along with two other educators and Westminster alumni, Amanda Waterhouse and Katharine Dalton, began the project more than five years ago with the goal of reaching an audience of teachers, parents and anyone else interested in education.
“We believe there is a perfect storm brewing,” said Van Ert. “Fifty percent of teachers quit within the first three to five years of teaching, and currently there are more and more baby boomers leaving the profession. This means that both the experienced and inexperienced are leaving and nobody is coming in to take their place in the classroom.”
And with that, the three educators decided to write a play about teaching.
“We wanted to include true stories from real-life teachers,” said Van Ert. “There won’t be any cute anecdotes about kids, it’s about teaching. We called the play Making Waves! because we believe that good, high quality teachers should be making waves.”
Modeled somewhat after the Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues in its use of real stories and vignettes, one of the goals of Making Waves! is to create a website where teachers across the country, and world, can submit stories capable of being performed throughout the nation.
“We originally wrote the script for three women and one man, representing the female to male ratio in teaching,” said Van Ert. “However, the Wasatch Theatre Company is casting three women and two men.”
The original script was developed by Van Ert, Waterhouse and Dalton, none of whom consider themselves playwrights, but who each believed in the importance of writing a play focused on the issues of teaching and gathering real stories from teachers around the country. The script was submitted to the Wasatch Theatre Company two years ago and won an award. The script was resubmitted to the theatre in 2009 and is now being performed throughout September by the theatre company. The group hopes it will catch on and be performed in other theatre companies as well.
“The time is right to get more people interested in this field,” said Van Ert. “Attracting creative, thoughtful people to education is a challenge…we wanted to break the mold with this play and hope that it catches on.”
The writers hope that the play and the website will eventually attract attention across the country because of its originality and genuineness.
“There really hasn’t been a play about teaching, only TV shows. We did not want this to be a whiny piece since we all really think this is the most noble profession. But we did think it was important to address how much teachers make and the challenges they do face,” she explained.
Making Waves! will be performed September 10, 12, 18, 20 and 26 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at www.arttix.org.
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