Mosaic NY, a new ongoing theatre company launching at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2014, will draw on the lives and experiences of the individuals in the company as source material for its productions. This collaborative theatre project, as written in its mission statement, “is devoted to creating and performing works of theatre that promote dialogue, develop community, celebrate diversity, and encourage the active pursuit of social justice.”
“Mosaics are created by taking unique pieces of things and then combining them into a new art form that respects the integrity of the original sources. Our work is closely tied to this concept. We will devise original pieces of theatre and perform them as an ensemble without erasing or ignoring the specific characteristics of individual members,” says Associate Professor of Theatre Heather May, founder of Mosaic NY. May founded and is former artistic director of a similar endeavor, Mosaic Theatre Company at Auburn University (Alabama).
“Over the past few years, I have become increasingly troubled by studies that demonstrate a growing empathy problem in the U.S. as I feel that the lack of empathy contributes to an individualistic society in which personal gain is pursued above community,” says May.
“Theatre is an ideal forum for exploring diversity and social justice issues by engaging audiences and performers in an imaginative and empathetic exploration of shared narrative. By training a group of performers to think artistically about social justice and diversity issues, giving them time over the year to develop theatrical skills as well as social justice knowledge, and using this time to craft theatre that engages local issues in manners that reflect the beliefs and habits of the members of the affected communities, we believe we can stimulate dialogue and change.”
Mosaic NY has come to fruition under May’s leadership and with the support of Student Affairs, particularly Assistant Vice President Jeff VanLone, and the Theatre Program.
In addition to May, the company’s members include Andrew Coleburn ’16, Ashley De Los Santos’ 17, Selina Delgado’ 17, Kate DePietro ’15, Molly Doris-Pierce ’15, Lauryn Downing ’17, Michelle Feda ’15, Loren Hiser ’15, Jeffrey Matos ’16, Shannon Savard ’15, Sam Shaffner ’17, Justin Tacuri ’17 and Julia Yenco ’16.
The photo above features the company’s members.