OTC’s flagship arts integration program grew organically from a partnership with a single area school in the 2012-13 school year. Since then, the program has grown rapidly, and in the 2017-18 school year alone, we reached 19 classrooms in 5 schools.
Our Play (formerly Collaborative Playwriting Program) is designed to capitalize on theatre as a collaborative art form by providing students opportunities to expand their 21st century skills, often described as the four C’s: Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Creativity. We target fifth-grade classrooms, but we have successfully modified the program for both older and younger students.
The program usually begins in the fall, when OTC’s education team introduces key concepts of ensemble improvisation and theatre, while reinforcing other curricular content. Schools have the option to schedule a field trip to OTC, allowing students to see theatre concepts in professional practice. As the program progresses, students actively collaborate in small groups to write and revise their original scripts.
In the final phase of the program, students learn basic performance techniques and refine their work during in-classroom rehearsals. Student groups collaborate not only in the writing of the play, but also in choosing/creating the costumes, props, and set pieces necessary for the productions. Finally, in May students travel to OTC to perform their original productions on our Historic stage.
Through the processes of script development and rehearsal, children can learn generosity, flexible cognition, problem solving, memorization, and commitment. Participating in a theatrical endeavor also provides kids an opportunity to explore the world through a different person’s point of view, which encourages empathy. Even if performing is not a child’s “thing,” there is so much to be gained! Since the program is process-driven, all students, even those who aren’t natural performers, reap the program’s benefits.
This program, targeted at fourth grade students, is designed to encourage cognitive flexibility and intellectual risk-taking. Theatre improvisation and performance are built on these concepts, making them uniquely suited to develop these skills. Other curriculum areas that are addressed include language arts, writing, and social studies. Students practice performance techniques, examine the differences between drama and other genres, and compose and perform short original monologues. My Monologue consists of six lessons taught during a single academic quarter.
For more information, contact Arts Integration Manager, Sara Qureshi, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-924-4485, ext. 157.
Arts Integration is made possible, in part, by our sponsor M&T Bank.