Jill Vialet, Chelsea Marcantel/Matt "Airistotle" Burns


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On today's episode we feature two conversations: First is a discussion with Jill Vialet, founder and CEO of Playworks, who opened Chautauqua's week of lectures on "The Art of Play" on July 9. Then, Chautauqua Theater Company Artistic Director Andrew Borba sits with playwright Chelsea Marcantel and champion air guitarist Matt "Airistotle" Burns. Chelsea's newest play, Airness, is about air guitar competitions — CTC's production of Airness runs July 14 to 29 on the Bratton Theater stage.

Jill Vialet is founder and CEO of Playworks, a nonprofit that operates on a belief “in the power of play to bring out the best in every kid.” From its beginnings in two schools in Berkeley, California, Playworks has grown to a staff of 700 and now reaches about 900,000 students in 23 regions around the United States, and is present within 1,800 schools and organizations. During the 2015–16 school year, Jill was an Education Fellow at Stanford’s d.school — very familiar to us at Chautauqua — where she launched a new project called Substantial, re-designing the way we recruit, train, and support substitute teachers. Prior to Playworks, Jill founded, and was the executive director for nine years, of the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) in Oakland, California. Follow her on Twitter at @jillvialet, and read The Chautauquan Daily's recap of her Amphitheater lecture here: http://chqdaily.com….

Chelsea Marcantel is the playwright behind Airness, and also Everything is Wonderful, Ladyish, Devour and Tiny Houses, which CTC produced as part of its New Play Workshop in 2016. Airness was recently honored with the 2018 Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award by the American Theatre Critics Association. Matt Burns is a special guest at Chautauqua this week — he is a waiter and world-class competitive air guitarist living in New York City. Matt decided to try air-rocking almost a decade ago when he saw the documentary Air Guitar Nation, and has since become a two-time champion at Air Guitar World Championship. Follow them on Twitter at @AChelseaDay and @aYo_MattBurns.

CTC produces Airness from July 14 to 29 in Bratton Theater — click here to purchase tickets.

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