Saturday, May 29, 2010

Teaching With Alice

This week I’ve had the fortune of participating in Educational Outreach Workshops, promoting our production of Alice In Wonderland, along with Angie Gallagher (Education and Development Director) and Josh Mikel (Playwright's Initiative Co-Director).

Our days consist of roughly 6 one hour sessions in which we lead 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders through various activities related to Alice in Wonderland. Angie starts us off by telling the story of Alice in Wonderland (or at least the version we’ve selected to produce), encouraging the group to participate and share their ideas as well. I then lead them in a freeze frame exercise, in which we divide them up into groups to recreate parts of the story in tableau form. This is followed by Josh, who leads our gang of exuberant tykes through a coloring exercise. We then send them on their merry ways, along with a free ticket to come see the show in July (the announcement of this is usually followed by “Gasps” and “Eeks” of all shapes and sizes).

It’s amazing to see the excitement generated by these bright, young minds. Just when I think I’ve seen and heard it all, another group comes in to surprise us with their creativity. As the director of Alice, I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to step outside of the rehearsal room and have a one on one interaction with our potential audience. Aside from sharing the importance of making the most of your creativity, I view these workshops as a chance to custom fit our show to our audience. I can bring the ideas I’ve gotten from our workshops back into rehearsals and production meetings to insure that we are putting up a show suited for such a deserving audience.

The activity sheet Josh created for our workshops.

I’d be lying if I said Josh, Angie and I weren’t completely exhausted by the end of our days. There’s a level of intensity to the energy children exude that can be tough to match as an adult. While our brains may be zonked as we pack up the crayons and pick up stray pieces of paper, a huge Cheshire Grin stretches across my face. I am not s school teacher by any means (and if you are one - more power to you, cause it ain’t easy), but I can’t help but feel a little sentimental when I think that through sharing my greatest passion, I have possibly encouraged the growth of several young artists!

Want to support the growth of young artists too? Click here to donate to the Educational Outreach Program.


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