Michael Whistler Managing Director, American Center for the Teaching of Shakespeare in the Classroom
Michael Whistler has worked within open access classrooms for over 15 years, using applied arts and literature as a tool to open up dense texts and ethical issues for students of economically and socially diverse backgrounds. His teaching practice uses improvisation and Spolin games work to teach a variety of subjects in Theatre Arts (including Shakespeare) with tools to open up critical thinking, analysis, close reading, ethics, grit, and agency for his students. His work includes using gamesplay and interactive practices to create programming for English language learners and young people on the autism spectrum, and he has also worked in K-12 schools as a visiting teaching artist, crafting and delivering interactive programs on subjects ranging from playwriting to abuse awareness.
His work within his community includes creating, funding, and managing community projects across Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; implementing theatre to engage students and community members in empathetic, authentic learning experiences to explore cultural diversity, housing insecurity, as well as suicide prevention and awareness.
As an administrator, he built, implemented, and maintained a two-year degree program in Theatre Arts while at Montgomery County Community College, and served as co-chair for the state of Pennsylvania’s Transfer and Articulation Oversight Committee, rubricating and standardizing skills in Theatre Arts for transfer between two- and four-year colleges. He served as artistic advisor on the design and construction of the College’s Black Box Theatre, a state-of-the-art teaching classroom for theatre and performance space, where he served as Artistic Director.
As a theatre artist, his plays have been produced in New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Indianapolis and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Acting, where teachers included Zelda Fichandler, Ron Van Lieu, and Michael Kahn. BA, University of Pennsylvania.
He is currently Managing Director of the American Center for Teaching Shakespeare in the Classroom, a unique partnering of the Lively Action teaching practices of Globe Education, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the world class teacher training programs of the UC Davis School of Education.