Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ph.D. Candidates Pretend To Be Elephants In Order To Find Jobs

Just read this piece.  Too bad these people had to wait so long to get some “below the neck” education.  They are proof of Sir Ken Robinson's point, We don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. We get educated out of it.”   Now they get to do some remedial work.

Makes me think of my very first blog, “The Troll Bridge”.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Where have I been?  Just came across this TED talk by Tom Wujec. It’s a very interesting seven minutes. Find Tom on Twitter - @tomwujec  A very simple team building exercise, with some surprising (or not surprising) results.   Heartening to learn kindergartners can outperform MBA’s.  They know about “fail often, fail fast”.  They haven’t unlearned that yet.  MBA’s may have learned it somewhere, but they don’t always know it.

I’ll be trying it soon. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jonah Lehrer - Classroom Creativity

An interesting piece.  It raises questions for me.  I'm not sure creativity can be taught.  I DO believe that a teacher of just about any subject, can set up conditions in the classroom which allow for creativity.  Or  set up conditions which inhibit creativity.  Even, or worse, especially in the teaching of the arts.  I'd like to hear what people have to say about this.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


'A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.'' 
(George Bernard Shaw)

Call it Seth Godin in a sentence.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Romeo and Juliet have come to Twitter.  You can read about the Royal Shakespeare Company’s match with Twitter here:

Or here:

 You can Google for more information.  Or you can go right to the story at:

I’m curious what people think about this match between new media and old lovers.  Something new and exciting?   This will accelerate the fall of civilization?  Let me know.  Here.   Or Twitter me, Bill, at:  @BillEduTheater

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I stumbled across this talk by Tina Seelig, Stanford Technology Ventures Program's Executive Director, The Art of Teaching Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  How fortunate for me.  I recommend it.  

Check out their website at:

What struck me were the parallels between the course she describes and my course for high school sophomores, Theater and Creativity.  We both ask our students to solve problems.  The problems are simple at first, then become more sophisticated.  The solutions sometimes  (We both believe in fail fast and fail frequently.)  have merit.  I believe the essence of each course can be boiled down to what I call the Four C’s:  Communication, Collaboration, Connection, and Creativity. I’ll leave it to Ms. Seelig or her students to correct me if I’m wrong. 

Consider what Howard Nemerov describes in his poem, Poetics.


You know the old story Ann Landers tells
About the housewife in her basement doing the wash?
She's wearing her nightie, and she thinks, "Well, hell,
I might's well put this in as well," and then
Being dripped on by a leaky pipe puts on
Her son's football helmet; whereupon
The meter reader happens to walk through
and "Lady," he gravely says, "I sure hope your team wins."

A story many times told in many ways,
The set of random accidents redeemed
By one more accident, as though chaos
Were the order that was before the creation came.
That is the way things happen in the world:
A joke, a disappointment satisfied,
As we walk through doing our daily round,
Reading the meter, making things add up.  

I describe my course as a purposeful hunt for naked ladies in football helmets.  An assembly where the collision of individuals, problems, and purpose yields something new.  In my case pieces of theater.   In Seelig’s case entrepreneurial ideas.  Sure, not every solution is perfect.  But it has been created.  It never existed before and then it does.  Ready for discussion, development, refinement and giving to the world.  Creativity not as the result of accident, but of practice.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


In his new book, The Little Big Things, Tom Peters discusses enthusiasm repeatedly. Both directly and indirectly. Not to mention the enthusiasm that characterizes Tom and permeates his writing.  Just open the inside cover (or the back cover for that matter) and read “The 19 E’s of Excellence”.  Enthusiasm heads the list.  “Enthusiasm!  Be an irresistible force of nature!”

Part of my undistinguished and largely unenthusiastic academic career in high school was spent studying Greek.  Somehow enthusiasm stuck in my mind.  Enthusiasm comes to us from the Greek, enthousiasmos, equivalent to possession by a god.  Or en + theos, a divinity within us.  Surely there is a linguist out there who will quibble with this, but I like the notion that when we are truly enthusiastic, we are somehow approaching the divine, nearing our best selves. 

No wonder Peters is such a compelling force.   No wonder we do well to listen to him.    

To learn more about Tom go to:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Andy's Summer Playhouse

I went to my Facebook page today and saw that Andy's Summer Playhouse has an updated website to help celebrate its 40th Anniversary.  Including a picture of me, forty years ago.  Yikes!  I like the mission statement.  Makes me proud of what I started.  Go to:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What Did You Learn In School Today?

There were times when teaching bright high school sophomores in a course called Theater and Creativity I felt like I was teaching a remedial course in play.  Here's a reminder about what they were doing during the rest of their school day.

Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking?

Thanks to Barbara Bray and Brian Clark for leading me to this.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The PLAYwright's got it RIGHT.

I'd never read or come across this quote from Shaw until today.  I might have to make it the title, or a headline for my workshop on creativity.   "We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."  GB Shaw.  Also a good reason not to give up my hockey career.