Karen Oughtred

Karen Oughtred
New York, NY
Creative Non-Fiction, Fiction, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Playwriting, Poetry, Acting, Dance/Movement, Improvisation, Storytelling, Mixed Media, Media Arts
Adult Day Care, After School Program, Assisted Living, College/University, Arts/Cultural Organizations, Community Center, Independent Living, K-12 Schools, Senior Center
Karen Oughtred is an educator and theater artist who has developed Drama programs, mask and puppetry workshops for museum visitors, disadvantaged youth, the disabled, older adults and indigenous peoples in the US, Australia and Taiwan. As a Teaching Artist she co-created The Memory Project with Spica Wobbe (2016) delivering workshops in storytelling through visual arts, theater and puppetry to older adults at culturally diverse senior centers. At the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum she directs and performs in their outreach program, "People of our Past", which is delivered to numerous Senior Centers across the five boroughs. She directs Jay Heritage Center’s (Rye) interactive museum theater, "Striving For Freedom". Karen is Production Stage Manager for the National Museum of the American Indian and various NY theater and dance companies. Founder and Artistic Director of the Australian Aboriginal Theater Initiative (NY) (2003-2011), a not for profit theater company producing annual festivals featuring over 100 indigenous artists from Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Canada and the US. Her Puppetry credits include: Co-Curator Voice4Vision International Puppetry Festival, (NY), The Dream Community: teaching artist, (Taipei, Taiwan), IsleWilde: teaching artist, (Vashon Island, WA), Bread and Puppet Theater: performer (NY, Glover, VT, Canada) and Chinese Theatre Works: performer (Virginia, NY), Mary Seidman & Dancers: puppetry construction (NY), collaborated with puppetry artist, Spica Wobbe (9th International Toy Theater Festival, St. Ann's Warehouse, and Puppet Playlist, Tank). She is a graduate of New Actors Workshop (Mike Nichols, Paul Sills, George Morrison), MA, Theater, (Antioch University). www.facebook.com/thememoryproject.storytelling
As an educator and multi-disciplinary theater artist Karen Oughtred has dedicated herself to develop and deliver innovative programming for youth to older adults in multicultural settings. She passionately believes in the strength of the creative arts as a tool for education, and as a means of fostering understanding. Currently she is an intergenerational interactive performer at senior centers presenting a program she wrote and directed. Her determination to use her specialties to serve the elderly where they live in their own communities has been reinforced by her experiences as a Teaching Artist working with older adults at a variety of senior centers. Through participation in the arts, older adults’ lives are enriched. Completing the Creative Center at University Settlement’s Creative Aging Training has further informed her practice. By listening to the stories of her parents, she realized the significance of historically maintaining them, the connection they established between generations as well as the sheer joy in the telling and receiving. She aims to elevate the importance of storytelling by elders as the keepers of family tradition and cultural knowledge. Lifetime Storytelling is one of the most effective tools for community building and consensus because it creates a resonating two way channel between the storyteller and the audience. When stories can act as inspiration for others, they become the best way to honor memory and reflect personal experience. Supporting older adults growth as artists and storytellers is fulfilling and a privilege.