Posts from Kate Quarfordt
August 13, 2013
If we made it a priority to help every classroom in America feel less like a test-prep bootcamp and more like an National Theater for Student Artists rehearsal, I’m willing to bet that our graduates would be far better prepared for college, career, and citizenship. (more…)
March 14, 2013
When I first saw “In The Heights” on Broadway five years ago and found a stage packed full of performers who looked exactly like the students I teach, telling stories that Lin-Manuel Miranda could have overheard in our school’s hallways, I knew our students’ response to the show was going to be epic. (more…)
February 19, 2013
Ten years ago I was in a trailer behind the church on Webster Avenue in the South Bronx where my school used to rent classroom space, staring at the bored, glazed-over faces of the kids in the first theater class I had ever taught. (more…)
April 20, 2012
It’s a Tuesday after ninth period and I’m walking down the hallway of my South Bronx school toward what looks unmistakably like a fight. A tight circle of high school boys are gathered around two other boys on the floor outside of the classroom where I teach theater. One of the boys appears to be (more…)
June 28, 2011
A few days ago I got an email that changed everything.
The cast of “Guys and Dolls” take their bows
It’s been a full month — and a seemingly endless succession of graduations, end-of-the-year recitals, awards ceremonies and fundraising benefits — since the kids I teach in the South Bronx put on our school’s annual spring musical, (more…)
June 2, 2011
Curtain call at the final dress rehearsalIn case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2 of our 100-day countdown to opening night of last week’s performance of “Guys and Dolls” in the South Bronx.
What follows is the saga’s final chapter: a steady crescendo of logistical challenges, costume malfunctions, police confrontations, cast-member meltdowns, (more…)
May 17, 2011
By the end of Part 1 of our 100-day countdown to opening night of “Guys and Dolls” at Bronx Prep, 30 percent of our cast members — including the talented 12th-grader who plays Sky Masterson — are on the verge of being kicked out of the show due to grades, I’m on my way to (more…)
May 9, 2011
After eight years of making theater with urban teenagers and witnessing how challenges can be turned into fuel for creativity, I know that Orson Wells was onto something when he said that “the true enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” That’s all well and good, but I’m pretty sure my man Orson never (more…)
January 18, 2011
“I can’t do this, Ms. Q. These kids hate me.” Eleventh-grader Ruth presses her forehead to the wall in the corner of the art room and sighs.
When my colleague Andrew Simon and I teamed up with Ruth and several other high school students last summer to create the Bronx Prep Performing Arts Academy, we all (more…)
December 10, 2010
“Wait — what? I thought you were Buddhist, Ms. Q,” says Simone, a talented ninth-grade member of the theater program and speech team I coach at my South Bronx school.
“Nope,” I say. “I do a lot of yoga, but that doesn’t automatically make a person a Buddhist. Technically, I’m Jewish.”
Jewish. It’s still weird for me to (more…)