Senior Fellow for Constitutional Content
Constitution Check: Did the House act illegally in inviting Netanyahu?
Preview: Obamacare’s big Supreme Court test on Wednesday
WATCH LIVE NOW!
Please enjoy this live Town Hall event from the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Do We Need An Equal Rights Amendment To Ensure Gender Equality?
In celebration of Women’s History Month, explore the parallels between second-wave feminism and the Supreme Court cases of that time with constitutional law expert Cary Franklin, leading women’s history scholar Alice Kessler-Harris, and American legal history professor Serena Mayeri.
CLE: This program has been approved for 1.0 substantive law credit hour for Pennsylvania lawyers. CLE credit may be available in other jurisdictions as well.
Missed one of our Town Hall Events? Please click here to view past events in our video library.
Should President Obama, or any President, be allowed to serve a third term?
Where does the government’s right to require vaccinations come from?
Today in constitutional history: Presidents are limited to two terms in office
Constitution Check: Does anybody in Washington have a duty to save Obamacare?
Podcast: Who holds the redistricting power?
Who holds the redistricting power?
New Slate audio service will feature podcasts from the NCC.
Hiram Revels: The first African-American congressman
Online threats and a big deadline put pressure on Obama and Congress
Obama Keystone XL veto sets high constitutional bar
Constitution Check: Will the government’s global wiretap program ever be subject to challenge?
Marbury v. Madison: The Supreme Court claims its power
Speaking Out for Equality: the Constitution, Gay Rights, and the Supreme Court
If Abraham Lincoln had died 1861, who would have replaced him?
Freedom from Excessive Punishment Living News 8th Amendment
Search and Seizure 4th Amendment Living News
Freedom of Expression Antietam Living News
Living News Trailer
The Supreme Court’s headscarf case: What type of notice is the “right” notice?
10 fascinating facts about the Washington Monument
Can justice be served in the ‘American Sniper’ case?
Stay could prolong Obama immigration battle just a little bit longer
Supreme Court ponders another politics and false statements case
Obama’s Immigration policy at a legal crossroads
Obama’s Immigration policy at a legal crossroads
Obama’s immigration policy at a legal crossroads
Podcast: Obama’s immigration policy at a legal crossroads
A controversial order leads to internment camps
Constitution Check: Is the President’s new immigration policy already a constitutional dead letter?
Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln: Dueling inaugural addresses
Judith Rodin and The Resilience Dividend
Who holds the redistricting power? Supreme Court will decide
Judith Rodin: The Resilience Dividend
Do We Need An Equal Rights Amendment To Ensure Gender Equality? March 4, 2015
Video: Judith Rodin and The Resilience Dividend
Texas federal court temporarily blocks Obama’s immigration programs
David Boaz: The Libertarian Mind
Delayed Opening Today, Feb. 17
Constitution Check: Is the President actually giving up some of his war powers?
Bill Clinton ranks high in new historical presidents study
David Boaz: The Libertarian Mind
Judith Rodin: The Resilience Dividend
Child presidential re-enactors invade National Constitution Center
Video: David Boaz and The Libertarian Mind
Presidential Power and the Constitution
10 people who very nearly became President
Lincoln’s Legacy:The 13th Amendment 150 Years Later
Obama calls for war authorization, reopening constitutional debates
Presidential powers and the Constitution
Podcast: Presidential powers and the Constitution
Creating Camelot Press Kit
Video: Sandra Day O’Connor on Lincoln’s legacy
Justice O’Connor On Lincoln’s Legacy
National Constitution Center unveils Newseum traveling exhibit Of Kennedy family photography
Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe
Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe showcases more than 70 intimate photographs and iconic images of President John F. Kennedy, his wife, Jacqueline, and their children, Caroline and John Jr. — photos that helped create the legend of the Kennedy presidency known as “Camelot.”
Lowe was Kennedy’s personal photographer from 1958 through his early years in the White House. His extraordinary access to Kennedy’s private and public life allowed him to capture events that others could not. His photographs document Kennedy’s rise to power, from his 1958 re-election campaign to the White House, along with intimate scenes of the Kennedys at home. The exhibit also explores how Lowe’s images were used in the media.
A large touch-screen monitor allows visitors to view more than two dozen of Lowe’s original contact sheets, including the editing marks that indicate the images he selected for publication in various newspapers and magazines. The exhibit also includes an original film about Jacques Lowe and the Kennedy family.
Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe was developed by the Newseum in collaboration with the Jacques Lowe Estate. The Newseum, an interactive museum of news, is located in Washington, D.C. newseum.org
David Boaz: The Libertarian Mind
Lincoln’s Legacy: The 13th Amendment 150 Years Later
Federal judge orders Alabama official to issue same-sex marriage licenses
Living News is a play that dramatizes current constitutional issues. The piece modernizes the Constitution, focusing on the controversial issues we face today through the stories of ordinary people. It introduces a variety of constitutional issues and questions, and encourages students to think about where they stand on these issues. Use the classroom clips and discussion questions below to get started!
By exploring theatre techniques such as writing, improvisation, and storytelling, educators can breathe new life in civic education and controversial, current topics. Below is a link to lessons that provide innovative ways of connecting students to the Constitution through current events and original source materials. Educators of all subjects and grade levels are invited to share ideas and collaborate on how to apply these new approaches to teaching in their own classrooms! No experience with theatre or drama in the classroom is necessary.
To meet the actors and the creative team behind Living News, click here
Video: Lincoln’s legacy and the 13th amendment 150 years later
New Exhibition of Kennedy Family Photography “Creating Camelot” opens at the Constitution Center
Join the conversation with our exciting winter season of America’s Town Hall events!
Is Philly convention good news for the Democrats’ chances in 2016?
10 ways Abraham Lincoln remains in our daily lives
A Celebration of African American History Month, Presidents Weekend and a new Exhibit
Book Your Group
- Francesca Piccioni (Actor)
- Brandon Pierce (Actor)
- Isa St. Clair (Actor)
Francesca Piccioni (Actor) is a graduate from the University of the Arts where she holds a BFA in Acting. She has worked with several theater companies in the Philadelphia area including The Philadelphia Artists' Collective, Hella Fresh Theater, and New City Stage Company. She proudly serves the Simpatico Theatre Project as the Outreach Coordinator. Francesca is also a part of Bright Invention, a long-form improv ensemble based in Elkins Park with White Pines Productions. Francesca is excited to join the Living News team at the National Constitution Center and is very grateful for the opportunity to be among such talented people!
Brandon Pierce (Actor) Brandon Pierce is thrilled to be returning to the Living News Team. Recent credits include: Eric in Dutch Masters (Azuka Theatre) Valentine in Two Gentlemen of Verona (Delaware Shakespeare Festival), Avery in Charlotte’s Web (Arden Theatre), Mercutio/Prince in Romeo and Juliet and the Antipholi in The Comedy of Errors for Shakespeare LIVE! 2013 (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey). Brandon graduated with a BFA in Acting from the University of the Arts where he appeared in La Tempestad, Project X, and as Reverend D in In the Blood.
Isa St. Clair (Actor) Isa St. Clair is overjoyed to rejoin the Living News team. Favorite credits include Othello, Romeo & Juliet, The Tempest, Equus (Curio Theatre Company), Failure: A Love Story (Azuka Theatre), The Bends (Flashpoint Theatre Company), The Glass Menagerie, Macbeth (Commonwealth Classic Theatre), Ciphers (Inis Nua), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare in Clark Park), and The Winter’s Tale (Delaware Shakespeare Festival). She is a founding member of Murmuration Theater, whose first show, Makeshift, premiered in November of 2013. Isa graduated with Highest Honors from Swarthmore College and has sought additional training with Perseverance Theater (Juneau, AK), Shakespeare & Company (Lenox, MA), the British American Drama Academy (London, UK), and cherubs. She is proud to work with Philadelphia youth as a teaching artist with Delaware Theater Company, Curio Theatre Company, and Iron Age Theatre.
Larry Loebell (Playwright) is a Philadelphia playwright, screenwriter, dramaturg, and teacher. His feature film Dostoyevsky Man premiered in the 2012 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and was subsequently screened at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and elsewhere. His most recent play, WHAM BAM is in development for a future Fringe Festival debut. His 2008 play, House, Divided was nominated for a “Best New Play” Barrymore Award after its premiere production at InterAct Theater Company. His produced full-length plays include Girl Science, Arcadia University Theater 2011, La Tempestad, which premiered Off-Off Broadway at the OHIO THTR in New York in 2005, produced by The Resonance Ensemble, The Ballad of John Wesley Reed, which was produced by Theatre Catalyst in Philadelphia also in 2005, and Pride of the Lion. Published full length plays include La Tempestad in the anthology Playing With Canons: Explosive New Works from Literature by America’s Indie Playwrights, NYT Books, Girl Science, published by Indie Theater Now, and Pride of the Lion, published by Playscripts.com. Published short plays in regular production include Angie and Arnie Sanguine, But Who’s Counting, and Just Before the War Between the Plates, all published by Playscripts.com. Monologues and scenes from his plays have been published by Applause Books, Smith and Krauss Books, and Playscripts. He has been awarded four Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships in Playwriting, an EST/Sloan Science Foundation grant for his play Girl Science, and a new play commission for House, Divided from the National Council for Jewish Culture. He has written film documentaries on historical and scientific subjects, and has also written (and received Emmy recognition) for work on the children’s television show Rugrats. He teaches playwriting and dramaturgy at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA, and film history and creative writing at University of the Arts where he is an adjunct full professor.
Allison Heishman (Director) is the Artistic Associate at Azuka Theater and a freelance director based in Philadelphia. With Azuka: The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence, Skin & Bone (WP), Failure: A Love Story, Hazard County, the terrible girls (WP), Azuka One Acts. Other credits: Macbeth (Revolution Shakespeare), Rabbit Hole, Eurydice (Ruhl) (Arcadia University), No Reservations (PNAA Productions, WP), Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll (Plays & Players), Pinkalicious, the musical (Walnut Street Theater, Kids' Series), A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity, Spacewang (Tiny Dynamite, A Play A Pie A Pint). Heishman was the Assistant Director under Blanka Zizka for the Wilma Theater’s productions of Angels in America, parts I and II. She has written and directed for Theatre Programs at the National Constitution Center, where she worked for four years as the Theatre Programs Manager. She recently took over as director of Living News, and loves that she can continue to help grow and shape this amazing program. In addition to her directing work she is a Barrymore Nominator and on the Executive Committee of the Off-Broad Street Theatre Consortium, a group of Independent Theatre Companies in Philadelphia.
Daniel Kontz (Sound and Video Design) is a Multimedia Designer from London, England, based in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from West Chester University in 2011 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts, the JP Adler Award for Excellence in Theatre, and the Maverick Award for Excellence in Theatre. His Sound Design credits in Philadelphia include productions with The National Constitution Center, InterAct Theatre Company, Simpatico Theatre Project, Azuka Theatre, Plays & Players, The Renegade Company, and Matchbox Theatre. He is the Art Director for Revolution Shakespeare and was a member of Azuka Theatre's inaugural "New Professionals" production. Outside of Philadelphia, his work has been seen and heard in the VI São Carlos Videodance Festival in Brazil, Columbia University's New Plays Now Festival, the NYC Fringe Festival, The Left Out Festival, and the American College Dance Festival. His work can be seen and heard at www.danielkontzdesign.com
Becca Austin (Costume Design) is a freelance costume designer and technician. Some favorite design credits include Five Kings with Revolution Shakespeare, The Juniper Tree with The Renegade Company, Two Street and Antihero with Tribe of Fools where she is a Resident Designer. Becca is also the Costume Supervisor at the Wilma Theater. She is a graduate of Arcadia University.
David Bradley (Original Director and Artistic Director) is a Philadelphia-based director and arts educator whose work includes directing classic and contemporary plays at regional theatres and leading a variety of boundary-crossing collaborations with theatres, museums, universities, historic sites and communities. He’s been Artistic Director of Living News since the project began in 2006 and in addition to directing the piece has helped create its curriculum and teacher training materials. He was also Co-Artistic Director and performance director for the NCC’s exhibit/performance hybrid Fighting for Democracy. A long-time company member at People’s Light and Theatre, David has directed more than 30 productions there and was Associate Artistic Director, jointly leading its arts education programs. People’s Light productions include Of Mice and Men, Doubt, The Crucible, The Giver, Young Lady From Rwanda, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Holes. He’s directed frequently at Indiana Repertory Theatre and Philadelphia Young Playwrights and this season directs The Exonerated at Delaware Theatre Company. He’s currently directing the development of A Fierce Kind of Love, a new play inspired by the intellectual disability rights movement, commissioned by Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities. David is co-founder of LiveConnections, which creates interactive, boundary-crossing music programs and education with partner venue World Cafe Live. He’s been a consulting artist for the Animating Democracy Initiative of Americans for the Arts, the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage and CultureWorks Philadelphia and Outside the Wire Productions. David has led events on art, civic dialogue and education in the U.S., Mexico and the Middle East. He is President of the Board of Shakespeare in Clark Park. David teaches at University of the Arts in Philadelphia and is a graduate of Yale University.
Nora E. Quinn (Director of Theatre Programs) Mrs. Quinn has been with the Center since 2003. She oversees the artistic direction and production of all theatre programming including Freedom Rising, Living News, Gallery Theatre Series, Fighting for Democracy and other performing arts programs at the museum year round. She is a professional Theatre Artist, Manager and Museum Educator. Nora’s work includes Directing, Dramaturgy, Design, Acting, Teaching and Theater Management. When not at the Center, she has taught at Arcadia University, Community College of Philadelphia and University of the Arts. She serves nationally as a consultant on integrating theater and museum programming. Nora was named one of Philadelphia’s Top 76 Creative Connectors by Leadership Philadelphia in 2011. She has worked extensively in the Philadelphia region and other east coast professional theatre including Radio City Productions, Arden Theatre, Wilma Theatre, Theatre Exile, People’s Light and Theatre, Mum Puppet Theatre, Center Stage, Americans For the Arts, Broadway on Broadway, Folger Theatre, Azuka Theatre (Co-Founder), White Pines Productions, USITT and others. Nora is a graduate of the nationally recognized Arden Professional Apprentice Program and is a member of the Actors Equity Association, American Association of Theater and Education and the International Museum Theatre Alliance and has presented on Museum Theatre at local, national and global conferences. Nora holds a BFA from Penn State University and a MA from Villanova University, both in Theater Arts.
Robin Stamey (Theatre Programs Manager) has worked at the National Constitution Center since 2010 and is a graduate of Arcadia University where she earned her BA in Theatre Arts. In addition to working on many shows in various capacities at Arcadia, she has recently worked with Azuka Theatre, Band of Artists, The Renegade Company, The Bearded Ladies and Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium. She is the production manager for the Philadelphia based trio The Berserker Residents and traveled with them to the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Fesitval with their show The Post Show as the lighting designer and stage manager. She was awarded an honorable mention in Lighting Design by Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for her design of Samm-Art Williams' Home.
Melissa Erlick (Theatre Programs Associate) insert bio here
Theatre Programs Support
Assistant Lighting Design: Joseph Glodek
Wardrobe Supervisor: Jamie Grace-Duff
Past Creative Team
Sound Design: Christopher Colucci, Mark Valenzuela
Lighting and Video Design: Terry Smith
Scenic Design: Matt Saunders
Costume Design: Rosemarie McKelvey
New Questions. New Possibilities!
Living News is a fast-paced, up-close and live theatrical performance introducing current and controversial constitutional issues to students. This dynamic, 25-minute performance incorporating video, contemporary music and current news broadcasts features three engaging actors to bring the action right up to the audience. We encourage the audience to be a participants in the story!
Throughout the performance, actors talk directly to the audience and, at times, involve them in the action. Following the performance, the students are invited to offer their opinions, ask questions and share their thoughts. The museum’s education staff guides a dialogue centered around timely constitutional issues.
- Freedom of Speech and Religion- 1st Amendment
- Gun Control- 2nd Amendment
- Search and Seizure- 4th Amendment
- Capital Punishment- 8th Amendment
- Other court cases and current events relevant to students, including NJ vs. TLO
Topics are changed regularly to ensure the most up-to-date experience.
We know it is often challenging for young people to make a personal connection to the Constitution and its relevancy in their lives. That’s why we created Living News and why we’ve created activities surrounding it- check out these clips from the show, complete with discussion questions to get your students thinking!
To meet the actors and the creative team behind Living News, click here.
President Obama asks Congress to approve war against ISIL
Zephyr Teachout on Corruption in America
Alabama gay marriage debate hits old constitutional issues
Created Equal? Freedom Riders: Roadblocks and Redemption on “Freedom’s Main Line”
Corruption in America
Lincoln’s Legacy: The 13th Amendment 150 Years
Video: Law professor Zephyr Teachout
Celebrating our nation’s second founding
Request a Proposal
Templeton Essay Contests, New Advisory Board
The National Constitution Center has exciting news about two new projects that benefits students and adults interested in education about the Constitution.
The Center is pleased to announce the members of its new scholarly Coalition of Freedom Advisory Board, co-chaired by leaders of the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society. The new board was created to oversee a three-year initiative made possible by a $5.5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to increase awareness of the rights set forth in the United States Constitution and other founding documents. The initiative will bring together the best scholars in America to participate in Town Hall constitutional debates across America and to create the best non-partisan Interactive Constitution on the web.
An exciting part of the project happening right now is a contest that challenges public and independent school teachers to create plans to increase constitutional literacy in their schools. The contest includes prizes of up to $100,000 for the winning schools and $10,000 for the winning students in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.
The Founding Freedoms Essay and Playwriting Contest is designed to increase awareness of the rights set forth in the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, and to engage students to think creatively about our nation's great history.
Students in each of the 6th, 8th, and 12th grades are encouraged to participate by submitting an essay that responds to a grade-specific prompt. 12th grade students also have the option of writing a play that, if chosen as the winning submission, will be performed live at the Constitution Center by professional actors.
This contest is currently open to students from the tri- state area in public, private, and parochial schools, as well as registered home-study programs. The Center will expand the contest to the Mid-Atlantic region in 2015 and to the entire country in 2016.
Deadlines for entries are:
- December 2014 – February 28, 2015: Essay and Playwriting Contest will open and submissions will be accepted through our online submission platform.
- February 22, 2015 at 11:59 pm: Last day for submission for 12th grade Playwriting Contest.
- February 28, 2015 at 11:59 pm: Last day for submission for Essay Contest
- March 14, 2015: On the eve of James Madison’s Birthday, Essay and Playwriting Contest winners will be announced in a formal award ceremony with all winners and their teachers present.
- July 2, 2015: The winner of the Playwriting Contest will be in attendance for the first performance of their production.