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Breath & Imagination—The Story of Roland Hayes By Daniel Beaty About the play: Before Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson, there was Roland Hayes—the first world-renowned African-American classical vocalist. Born the son of a slave, Roland discovered his voice as a young boy singing spirituals in church. This play chronicles his amazing journey from a plantation in Georgia, to singing before kings and queens in Europe. Breath & Imagination explores the life of an American pioneer through words, movement, spirituals and classical music. Grade Recommendation: 7th grade and up Topics:  The Early Civil Rights Movement  20th Century African American Experience  Racism  Classical Music  Spiritual Music  Parent/Child Relationships

Themes:  Faith in Dreams  Responsibility to Self and Family  Influence of Memories and the Past  Overcoming Obstacles  Fulfilling One’s Own Potential

Student Performance Series dates:  Tuesday, February 5 at 10:30 a.m.  Thursday, February 7 at 10:30 a.m.  Friday, February 8 at 10:30 a.m. Curriculum Standards Student Performance Series performances and workshops provide unique opportunities for experiential learning and support various combinations of Common Core standards in English Language Arts. They may also support standards in other subject areas such as Social Studies and History, depending on each play’s subject matter. The experience of seeing and discussing Breath and Imagination—The Story of Roland Hayes provides classroom links to the following Common Core standards in English Language Arts: Reading Literature: Key Ideas and Details  Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision (Grade 8).  Analyze how complex characters (e.g. those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the themes (Grades 9-10).  Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed) (Grades 11-12).

Reading Literature: Craft and Structure  Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text (Grade 7).  Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts (Grade 8).  Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise (Grades 9-10).  Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact (Grades 11-12).

Student Performance Series workshops also support the following Connecticut state standards in the arts for grades 9-12: Theatre  5: Researching and Interpreting. Students will research, evaluate and apply cultural and historical information to make artistic choices.  6: Connections. Students will make connections between theatre, other disciplines and daily life.  7: Analysis, Criticism and Meaning. Students will analyze, critique, and construct meanings from works of theatre.  8: History and Culture. Students will demonstrate an understanding of context by analyzing and comparing theatre in various cultures and historical periods. Music  8. Connections: Students will make connections, music, other disciplines and daily life.  9. History and Cultures: Students will understand music in relation to history and culture. About the Student Performance Series: Our Student Performance Series packages include  1 free chaperone ticket for every 20 student tickets  Free study guides that include historical context, thematic analysis, questions for discussion, and suggestions for learning activities (emailed to you in PDF format).  A talk back immediately following the performance. Hosted by a member of our education department staff and featuring actors from the play, the talk back provides students with the opportunity to ask questions and express their initial reactions to the play-going experience through dialogue with artists and each other. Pre- and post-show workshops are also available for an additional fee. Designed to help integrate the play into your curriculum, our interactive workshops are led by a Hartford Stage teaching artist who visits your classroom and gets students on their feet to explore the play’s major themes, plot points, and connections to history and culture. To book tickets for the Student Performance Series, please contact Chelsea Caplan, Education Sales Coordinator at (860) 520-7244 or

Breath & Imagination - The Story of Roland Hayes  
Breath & Imagination - The Story of Roland Hayes  

Curriculum Guide for Breath & Imagination - The Story of Roland Hayes