July 26, 2018
2018 Institute: Meet the Players: Sarah Meister
This summer we traveled to the other side of the country to make a new play called, The Cardinal with and about the people of Queens New York, the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. The production is part of Cornerstone’s Institute Summer Residency, which has brought together thirteen participants (“the players”) from across the United States and Canada to live, learn, and create together. In one month’s time, and working alongside Cornerstone staff, Ensemble and community members, these creative souls are learning Cornerstone’s process for creating community-engaged theater. By participating in classes, workshops, and taking part in every aspect of the play-making process from casting, auditions, rehearsals, costume/design build, and acting. This blog series is an opportunity for you to “Meet the Players”!
Sarah Meister AKA Script & Community Engagement Associate
“Hello all! I am a director and theater-maker originally from the suburbs of New York City, and I’m thrilled to be participating in this year’s Cornerstone Institute. After graduating from Carleton College in 2016, I spent two years working for a college access nonprofit and making community-based theater in Minneapolis/St. Paul, where my interest in the relationship between social justice and the arts grew significantly. This fall, I will begin the Master’s program in Applied Theater at the CUNY School for Professional Studies.”
What inspired you to join Cornerstone’s Institute Summer Residency this year?
“I’ve spent the past few years exploring the intersection of my interests/work in theater and social justice/equity, and had the opportunity to work on a few community-engaged theater projects with a company called Wonderlust Productions in St. Paul, Minnesota. Wonderlust was co-founded by a former Cornerstone Institute participant (Leah Cooper), and the productions I worked on were very much connected to Cornerstone’s playmaking methodology. Coming to the Institute felt like the natural next step on my journey to figuring out how I want to practice this kind of work in my life and career. I grew up in the New York City area, and it felt a bit like the universe was sending me a sign when I found out this Institute would be in Queens!”
What has been your favorite moment thus far?
“Witnessing the nerves, joy, and immense bravery of community members at auditions.”
What do you hope to learn from your experience this summer?
“I hope to define some of my own values in making this kind of theater (is the aesthetic quality of a production more important to me than the conversations it starts or vice versa?), and clarify some important questions I want to explore in my future work (how do I hold those two things at once in a project?). I’m beginning a master’s program in applied theater this fall, so I’m excited to come out of the Institute with more questions than answers.”
Complete this sentence. Queens is….
“…frantic, fraught, and full of so much life!”
Why do you think people should come and see the play?
“Our world could use a whole lot more listening and empathy right now. This play tells the stories of connection across difference, and those stories come directly from community members here in Flushing. Coming to see this play is a radical act of empathy!”
The Cardinal performs August 10 & 11th. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets today!