Wheelock Family Theatre offers a variety of ways for educators to incorporate live theatre in their in-school or out-of-school curriculum.
The Yawkey Student Matinee Series
Students from Greater Boston and beyond may attend Wheelock Family Theatre performances through The Yawkey Student Matinee Series. Schools bring student groups to weekday matinee performances during the February and April public school vacation weeks. Young people also have a chance to meet and interact with cast members in the lobby after each performance.
For more information about The Yawkey Student Matinee Series, or to discuss having your school participate, contact Kay Elliott at 617-879-2252.
Teachers can enrich their children’s theatre experience with our Study Guides, prepared with helpful background information for each production and available for download from the right column “Resources” section of this page, two weeks before the opening of each show.
Now in Residence at Wheelock Family Theatre: Theatre Espresso!
Theatre Espresso uses interactive theatre to teach young people to think critically and to promote civic dialogue. We believe that student participation is the key to intellectual engagement with history, issues of human rights, and the concept of justice. Our historical dramas empower students to explore the parallels between historical events and contemporary issues. By putting students in role as Supreme Court Justices, state senators, or members of a jury, our professional company of actors invite them to question the characters and debate issues raised by our plays. We practice non-traditional casting in terms of race and gender to reflect our diverse audiences.
We tour the following plays to schools, museums and courthouses: Uprising on King Street: The Boston Massacre, The Trial of Anthony Burns (about a fugitive slave case), American Tapestry: Immigrant Children of the Bread and Roses Strike, Justice at War: The Story of the Japanese Internment Camps, and The Nine Who Dared: Crisis at Little Rock. We also offer teacher development and student workshops.
SCHOOL & COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
Wheelock Family Theatre partners with schools and community organizations through performance attendance, drama workshops for students, and professional development workshops that train teachers to integrate drama into the classroom.
For additional information contact Kay Elliott at 617-879-2252.
This program is sponsored by Bank of America.
School partnerships are the fastest-growing program within the Wheelock Family Theatre Education Program. School Partnerships usually begin by framing a public, private, or home school’s attendance at a stage production with a pre- and post-show educational package called a DramaShop.
Participating teachers receive a Wheelock Family Theatre Study Guide before attending the play, with narratives connecting the play to history and/or literature, as well as numerous drama-related activities that are fun to do, connect to specific Massachusetts learning standards, and prepare the students and teachers to more deeply appreciate the play. Each participating student also receives a WFT Partner button that enables him/her to attend another Wheelock Family Theatre production free of charge.
Our School Partnerships often deepen in subsequent years, as the schools and the theatre get to know one another better. Once teachers, administrators, and parents begin to see how students are positively influenced by their interactions with cast members and artist-educators, schools will often ask for classroom workshops, artist-in-residence programs, and teacher professional development.
The goal of every School Partnership is to eventually move from direct services for students to teacher professional development. When classroom teachers develop the ability to infuse drama-related teaching and learning strategies across the academic curriculum, not only does their teaching become energized, but they are better able to serve the needs of ALL students. And their drama expertise resides in the school culture, not outside of it.
Community partnerships pair Wheelock Family Theatre with non-school organizations, such as church groups, senior citizen centers, out-of-school programs, community theatres, and youth groups.
A good example is our community partnership with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. The WFT-GSEM Partnership began in April, 2002, when Girl Scouts from throughout greater Boston came to watch two deaf teenagers star in our production of The Trumpet of the Swan. As in school partnerships, the girl scouts receive WFT Partner buttons, and their troop leaders receive Study Guides with descriptions of many drama activities connected to the play. They also participate in the DramaShop, which consists of a pre-show workshop and discussion about the play and a post-show question-and-answer session with members of the cast.
Rather than making specific connections to state learning standards as the school partnerships do, community partnerships use the study guides and DramaShop to connect with teamwork, character-building, and other life skills valued by community organizations like the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. Since our initial partnership event, GSEM has sent ever-increasing numbers of Brownies and Scouts to Wheelock Family Theatre DramaShops and performances. Also, for the past few years, we have presented Theatre Badge workshops, wherein Scouts can qualify for their badges by participating in this Saturday morning event.
If your school or community organization is interested in working with Wheelock Family Theatre to create a collaborative partnership, please contact Kay Elliott at 617-879-2252.
Improving the Lives of Children and Families
As a private college with a public mission, Wheelock strives to be the premier college educating people to create a safe, caring, and just world for children and families. As we have since 1888, we contribute to the vitality of families, communities, and societies by:
- Educating students who are well prepared academically and as practitioners with real-world experience—ready to be leaders and advocates, confident in their abilities, and sought after in a wide range of careers
- Advocating for programs, policies, and laws that enhance the quality of life for children and families
By asserting that Shaw's thought-provoking, complex study of Joan of Arc is suitable for school-age audiences – and by following through on that assertion with a handsome and coherent staging – the theater is reminding us that young audiences don't only need light entertainment, any more than older ones do.
- Boston Globe’s Louise Kennedy, writing about Saint Joan