Blake received his M.A. in Educational Theatre from New York University, after studying abroad at Trinity College in Dublin. Blake’s thesis – based on an after-school program he created for a children’s home – was completed while teaching for Invisible Children at a displaced school in Northern Uganda. While at New York University, Blake was deeply involved in the development of Shakespeare programming for young people – editing and directing hour-long productions of Shakespeare’s plays that toured to New York City schools, as well as managing and co-directing productions by the Shakespeare Youth Ensemble.
After returning to New York City from Uganda and Ireland, Blake joined the Education Department of The New Victory Theater, where he expanded family workshop and camp programming, leading those initiatives to record attendance and income. Simultaneously, Blake co-supervised a team of 50 Teaching Artists across more than 150 partner schools throughout New York City and implemented digital platforms for communication, scheduling, and evaluation.
In his role as Media Manager for The New 42nd Street, Blake collaborated closely with the Education Department on two new endeavors – Family Activities and TXT Marks the Spot. Family Activities provide families an opportunity to explore performing arts skills without a professional artist from the comfort of their own homes, and are published online to provide access to anyone who might be interested. TXT Marks the Spot, an interactive, SMS-based scavenger hunt was created by Blake to engage families in performing arts literacy and inter-generational play.
Blake has facilitated workshops at the Face to Face Conference, Educational Theater Association Conference, NYU Shakespeare Forum, and American Alliance for Theatre and Education Conference, among others on topics including diversity, Shakespeare, digital media, Theater of the Oppressed, and using the performing arts with students with special need.
Check out this blog recap of one of those workshops featuring thirty ways to integrate social media into the classroom.
With experience teaching everything from filmmaking to Shakespeare and hip hop to Bunraku puppetry, Blake is an agile, skilled facilitator. Past partner organizations have included The New Victory Theater, the New Museum, Tribeca Film Festival, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Invisible Children, and countless schools.
Check out the activities and lesson plans Blake created for the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) in this New Victory School Tool.
Having developed programs to address digital literacy, intergenerational learning, Shakespeare, and even the therapeutic value of arts education at an orphanage, Blake’s primary focus is always the student. The sense of collaboration he brings to his artistic work is apparent in the classroom, as well – and in reflection and assessment, Blake is always reminded that he learned every bit as much from his students as they hopefully gained from him.
While working in the Education Department at The New Victory Theater, Blake managed New Vic Studio, which encompassed both Family Workshops and Studio Weeks (an arts-based day camp). Under his leadership, Family Workshops expanded to include programming for kids as young as three, established partnerships with other cultural institutions, implemented systems for curriculum and assessment, and set records for both attendance and income. Blake also expanded Studio Week programming while establishing initiatives for teens and creating extended camps for all ages committed to a broader set of performing arts skills.