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HERE NOW AND

CONNECTING TO KIDS THROUGH THE ARTS: EDUCATION AT CENTER STAGE


We believe that participation in the arts makes life better.

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HERE NOW

EDUCATION & COMMUNITY PROGRAMMING AT CENTER STAGE Arts education is a powerful way to motivate and engage kids— especially students from underperforming schools. Center Stage fills the gap between funding and demand for arts education,

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with programs for children, youth, families, teachers, and our entire community.

This publication is an evolving document. Find the most recent version at centerstage.org/educationbook.

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IN THE THEATER

Children and teens who are engaged in the arts feel more closely connected to school and have a higher high school graduation rate.* Encounter A safe space. A judgment free zone. That’s what teenagers from all over the region find every week at Center Stage. Kids from different schools, socio-economic, racial, and cultural groups come together to explore theater and learn to lead.

Encounter is a place to take risks, communicate, and form strong bonds, with peers who share a real commitment to learning and leadership. Training in acting, dancing, writing, and directing doubles as a vehicle for building confidence and inner strength to help students succeed in high school and beyond.

Encounter students take the stage at their end-of-year performance. * University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. “Major benefits for students who attend live theater, study finds.” ScienceDaily, 16 October 2014.

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IN THE THEATER

Contributing wholeheartedly to the greater Baltimore community is central to Center Stage’s mission.

Camp Center Stage Summer mornings are a peaceful time at the theater. The main stages are dark, the actors, carpenters, and costumers have scattered to summer stock venues across the country, and the building is quiet and cool. But if you walk down Calvert Street at just the right time you’ll see a line of cars emptying onto the sidewalk, parents and kids carrying lunchboxes and backpacks. By the time campers head up to the 5th floor Jay Andrus Rehearsal Hall, the quiet is broken. They sing, they act, they play games and they dance. Boy do they dance. Our circa 1899 building is charmingly historic, but not immune to 60 jumping, dancing campers.

When things really get going on the 5th floor, falling plaster is often seen on the 4th. Not all schools have the resources to provide high quality arts education on-site, and those that don’t have the resources also tend to have—not coincidentally—lower graduation rates.* Center Stage fills the gap during the summer, providing a fun, safe, all day arts enrichment experience that carries over into the school year and beyond.

Center Stage staff join 2014 campers to strike a pose on stage. * University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. “Major benefits for students who attend live theater, study finds.” ScienceDaily, 16 October 2014.

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IN THE THEATER Young Playwrights Festival Submissions to the Young Playwrights Festival Other Maryland Counties

(Anne Arundel, Cecil, Frederick and Montgomery)

Howard County Hartford County Baltimore City Baltimore County

Maddi Viteri is just such a student. Participating in Center Stage’s Young Playwrights Festival changed everything for the Severna Park Middle School 7th grader. Her mom Maria describes the experience: “There really are few words to express how grateful Pat and I are for the opportunity that Center Stage and the Young Playwrights Festival have given Maddi to get excited about doing something she loves. She

Young Playwrights Festival Imagine being a 7th grader, all dressed up and accompanied by family and friends, watching the play you wrote performed by professional actors in Center Stage’s Pearlstone Theater.

couldn’t have found better role models and for that we are most thankful. Center Stage has given Maddi a level of energy and encouragement that a parent can only wish for their child.”

YPF winner Lily Bradford, grade 2, joins actors on stage after the 2014 performance of her play, The Kite.

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IN THE THEATER “The students became more engaged in the actual playwriting process than I imagined. They were eager to work on their plays outside of class and share their progress. They really wanted/needed more time to complete their works.” —Teacher Becky Springswirth (The Harbour School)

Residency Programs The Young Playwrights Residency Program provides classroom-based instructional outreach to students in grades 1-12. This outreach cultivates creative reading and writing skills. Each residency is composed of 10 hour-long sessions of structured in-class instruction. “Students thrived in the experience, and their appreciation of creative writing and all of its

Center Stage is the in-school provider for the Kennedy Center’s VSA Playwright Discovery Program in Baltimore, giving middle and high school students with disabilities the skills and confidence necessary to describe their experience with disability through playwriting. Students with specific learning challenges grow as they express the challenges of living with a disability.

components really grew.… This experience changed the way students think of themselves as writers and of their writing as publishable work.” —Teacher Sean Martin (City Neighbors High School)

Teachers workshop plays with young playwrights from local schools.

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IN THE THEATER “It doesn’t matter that Puerto Rico is an island because continents are islands too; just bigger, surrounded by the same ocean that no man can walk on because all men are created equal.” –Viviana Prado-Nuez

My America/My Baltimore Originally from Puerto Rico, Viviana Prado-Nunez was in 9th grade at George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology (Towson) when a mentor told her about My America/My Baltimore. My America/My Baltimore asks young people to reflect on their surroundings—their city—and express what living right here right now means to them. It’s an opportunity for kids to express their own ideas in their own words, and to learn how to do so clearly and effectively.

Viviana wrote a beautiful piece; she used the opportunity to let others in on her thoughts and feelings and help make sense of her new and old lives. Viviana was recognized at Center Stage’s Young Playwrights Festival in 2013. Her monologue can be found at youtube.com/baltimorecenterstage.

Find Viviana Prado-Nunez’s monologue—and dozens more—on youtube.com/baltimorecenterstage.

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IN THE COMMUNITY Our Baltimore roots are deep; we love our city and work to strengthen relationships with the Baltimore community on every level.

Partnership with Baltimore School for the Arts There is much more to theater than the glamour of Opening Night. Students from Baltimore School for the Arts witness the opportunities and challenges of the professional rehearsal process at Center Stage. Mentees attend rehearsals for Center Stage productions, and work in the theater’s administration and production departments, shadowing professionals in each discipline. BSA students perform as curtain warmers before Center Stage shows and receive valuable experience in professional theater. The SEED School of Maryland Center Stage artists provide after-school performance training twice each week from November through March at the SEED School, a publicly funded college-preparatory boarding school for students from

disadvantaged circumstances. At the conclusion of the program students perform the work they’ve developed with Center Stage. Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women Center Stage is beginning a new partnership with the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women (BLSYW) to establish a residency program based on Encounter, Center Stage’s teen theater, after-school program. The Education staff and Teaching Artists will meet with the girls after school on a bi-monthly basis and provide workshops focused on performance training, creative writing, and leadership development. The partnership will culminate with original performances in the spring.

BSA students perform music in the lobby before select performances.

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IN THE THEATER & THE COMMUNITY

Internships From dramaturgy to carpentry, administrative to artistic: For 30 years, Center Stage has cultivated the next generation of theater professionals.

Center Stage Interns at Work: Reaching Baltimore’s Latino & Homeless Populations

Second-year Management Intern David Kanter is a theater person through and through; his depth of knowledge of musicals, actors, and designers is impressive. Equally impressive, however, is his ability to write code. The Ithaca University math minor’s dual interests mean he is able to contribute to the theater in a unique and valuable way. David was drawn to Center Stage’s competitive internship program because of our reputation for sound management and high quality art. This intensive, but rewarding, internship program is a huge step for young people who are serious about a career in theater.

Center Stage interns work very hard, immersing themselves completely in the theater. Two interns, already working 40 hours a week, took it upon themselves to go much further: The pair volunteer as teaching artists at two local organizations: At the Education-Based Latino Outreach (EBLO), Cat and Josh lead weekly theater workshops with Latina/o youth and help them create two short plays that are performed at their end-of-the-schoolyear celebration. They also lead biweekly improv classes at the Weinberg Resource and Housing Center, a local homeless shelter in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood. Through improv, Cat and Josh lead exercises that focus on problem-solving, effective communication, and self-expression. Weinberg improv class participants then visit Center Stage for a performance. For some, it is their first professional theater experience.

Left: Dramaturgy Intern Catherine María Rodríguez with Playwright Colman Domingo. Cat was the production dramaturg for Colman’s Wild with Happy. Above: Education-Based Latino Outreach.

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IN THE THEATER & THE CLASSROOM We work hard to attract and engage patrons from childhood through adulthood, providing each generation of Baltimoreans the opportunity to form a lifelong bond with the arts and culture in the city. STUDY GUIDE

Student Matinees Almost every theater offers discounted tickets to students. Only Center Stage expands the visit to include in-school visits with actors before the trip, curriculum support, online study guides, tours of the theater, and post-production discussions to make it a truly valuable experience. Moreover, help from a private donor provides 2,000 free tickets and costfree transportation to the theater for Baltimore City Public Schools. The Center Stage Student Matinee series has introduced more than 80,000 Maryland students to classic and contemporary literature since 1994.

AMADEUS Sep 10–Oct 12, 2014

Comprehensive, professionally developed study guides expand the learning experience and provide context for the play.

Students visit Center Stage to see quality theater.

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IN THE THEATER & THE COMMUNITY

Events & Partners Educator Night In honor of the Maryland Teacher of the Year Awards (March 2014) Center Stage hosted a special event for all educators in our community. The event included a special reception and discounted tickets to a performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Center Stage welcomes family and the community to enjoy performances by some of Baltimore’s most talented youth on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Plays and monologues inspired by the great Civil Rights leader take center stage as we honor the man and the day of service he inspired.

Trayvon Martin Moments In February 2014, Center Stage partnered with Safe Streets and other community groups to remember Trayvon Martin on the week of his birthday. This series of events continues the conversation about gun violence in Baltimore and throughout the country. From Our Daily Bread to the New Era Academy, Towanda Recreation Center to our own stages, some of the most respected local activists and artists expressed themselves through music, dance, theater, and poetry, leading to thoughtful, constructive discussions.

Guests at Educator Night.

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IN THE THEATER & THE COMMUNITY The three Rs are not enough. Some kids need more.

Kickin’ It with the ’Rents

Backstage at Center Stage

When money is tight and schedules are over loaded, finding high quality family activities isn’t easy.

Every fall we open our doors to offer free familyfriendly tours, workshops, demonstrations, and performances throughout the theater. The whole community is invited to get a behind-the-scenes look at how theater is made, hear local storytellers, dress up, meet talented musicians and magicians, face painters, and much more.

Our family night series, Kickin’ It With the ‘Rents, introduces families—especially those from underserved communities—to the magic of live theater, with discounted tickets and a special pre-show meal with cast members.

Kids (and birds) get goofy prior to show time.

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Season 2014/15 Sponsor:

Lead Student Matinee Sponsor:

Center Stage is also made possible by:

with additional support from:

Kickin’ It with the ‘Rents is made possible by:

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The Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds

Young Playwrights Festival is made possible by:

with additional support from:

The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation


Center Stage Education Here and Now