An international project breaks new ground with
an exploration of Art, Education, and Democracy
MICHELLE HANER, HOD ARTS AND LEAD PRODUCER
In fall 2013, Awaiting Dawn launched with visits from world-class artists from France, workshops with local theater companies, open rehearsals, assemblies, curricular projects and myriad conversa- tions. The project culminated in spring 2014, with performances on March 20, 21, 22 and 27, 28 and 29, as well as a symposium open to the wider community on March 23. This yearlong, interdisciplinary project explored the con- nections between Art, Education and Democracy in this era of ast-paced technological change. Conceived of and helmed by the internationally-renowned director Moïse Touré, artistic director
of Les Inachevés, the project was developed in collaboration with the
project’s lead producer, Michelle Haner, Head of the Arts Department.
This project explored the connections between art, education and society
in the 21st century, asking: how can these can be most vibrant, relevant
and dynamic today?
To answer this question, the project looked back to the origins of
Western civilization, to Ancient Greece, where Theater, Democracy and
Education have their roots. In this process-oriented project, the investigation was not only happening on stage, but in the classroom and beyond. It
was a natural fit that this deeply social project be far-reaching and inclusive. Students, faculty, administration, artists, and parents were invited to
collaborate in the process.
The project included three groups engaged in critical, creative conversation with the Greeks from different angles: The Ancient Tragedy group
explored the plays Ajax and Antigone. The Chorus explored the tragic
theme of War, while using modern texts, movement and song. The third
group, the Fragments, embraced diverse individual responses to the project’s themes and ideas; it included original, short projects in film, photography, fine arts, theater and performance art, created by both students and
local professional artist.
The project’s scope also extended well beyond the three performance
groups. Students were involved creatively in the project through providing
leadership, publicity and technical support. In particular, student Alejandro Poler designed the Awaiting Dawn website, Marc Robert Wong and
Joe Hamilton created documentary material and a team of students on the
project leadership team designed a high school assembly, in which they
invited fellow students to debate and vote on questions related to themes
of war, rebellion, civic responsibility, democracy and creativity.
Parents were also providing key support as leaders, artists and participants. Lower school parent Pascal Lorne emerged as a vital collaborator
helping the students create a more dynamic, democratic on-line space
for sharing material related to the project through his recently-created
let.com application. Indeed, in a March teacher’s in-service assembly,
students would invite teachers to comment and post on
let.com on some