The Common Core English curriculum requires collaborative discussions in pairs, small groups, and larger groups. This residency teaches the behaviors, methods, and expectations that allow for group discussion and collaboration. Students will experience the basics of effective small group processes while creating a performance based on a text that relates to something they are studying. The text could be an original historical document, a poem or short literary work, a scientific theory, a performance, or something else chosen by the classroom teacher.
In this residency, groups of students collaborate to write an argument supported by reasons about something they are studying—for example a current event, a historical event, a work of art, or a scientific theory. They explore the topic dramatically, and then begin writing an argument. They practice reading their argument aloud, (with appropriate volume, clarity, rate, and expression) and, at the end of the residency perform it for their classmates.
NC Theatre Arts 3-8.C.1 Use movement, voice, and writing to communicate ideas and feelings. C.2 Use performance to communicate ideas and feelings. CC English Language Arts Grades 3-5.W.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. 6-8.W.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
This residency integrates Theater with Language Arts and Social Studies standards. Before the residency, student groups research a figure who played a key role in the history they are studying. During the residency, they explore dramatically and imaginatively their historical figure. Then they write monologues, arguments, or letters in the voice of their key figures that explain their points of view on the events they influenced–for example, in U.S. History, the Revolutionary War or the Civil War. They write about the motivation of historical figures, the obstacles they faced, and their hopes for and influences on the future. They work in collaborative groups to create mini-performances from their writing. Students gain skills and awareness of group dynamics and practice their skills in collaborative creative processes. Finally, students perform their monologues or letters.
CC English Language Arts Grades 6-8.W.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. NC Social Studies Grade 6.H.2.4 Explain the role that key historical figures and cultural groups had in transforming society. Grade 8.H.2.2 Summarize how leadership and citizen actions (e.g. the founding fathers, the Regulators, the Greensboro Four, and participants of the Wilmington Race Riots) influenced the outcome of key conflicts in N.C. and the U.S. NC Theatre Arts: 3-8.C.1 Use movement, voice, and writing to communicate ideas and feelings. C.2 Use performance to communicate ideas and feelings.
“Wow!!” What a fabulous time we all had during your visit to Saluda River. The ways in which you made learning fun as well as meaningful makes such a difference to our students. I was amazed at how flawlessly you integrated mime and math! The first graders are still talking about you! Thanks for being such a talented artist, teacher, and person.” –Stephanie Walker, Saluda River Elementary Theatre Arts Teacher.
This residency emphasizes the communication, collaboration, and creative thinking skills inherent in mime. Students, through imaginative movement explorations in pairs and small groups, learn basic skills like: focusing attention on a partner, leading and following and switching from leading and following, making creative choices, working with a partner without bossing, listening, (really!) rotating group roles and responsibilities, and practicing positive critiques of the work of their peers. They conceive, develop, and perform their own mime pieces as they are guided through group collaborative processes.
Especially geared for youth-at-risk and reluctant writers, this residency begins with setting guidelines for behavior together. The group brainstorms and discusses hot topics for a performance. Students write short pieces on topics that are important to them in genres that make sense to them. They collaborate on taking their writings from the page to the stage. If all goes according to plan, the residency culminates in a performance conceived and created by the performers about the issues that keep them awake at night and get them out of bed in the morning.
For drama students and professionals, this residency helps them create strong, believable, fully-physicalized characters. Students will experience a variety of physical approaches to character development such as image work, energy work, animals, honing kinesthetic awareness, sharpening focus, developing a physical presence, exploring rhythm and dynamics, and studying and practicing body language principles. Sessions begin with a warm-up, continue with guided physical approaches to character, improvisations based physical explorations, reflections on character discoveries, and end with reflection on learning and growth. By the end of the residency, students have experienced a variety of physical approaches to character and have found one or more physical approaches to characterization that work for them. They will have a sense of how physicalization can strengthen their focus and enlarge their stage presence.
Ms. Kerrigan’s residency was very beneficial and enriching for my 8th grade Movement class. It complemented our unit on gesture and made valid in very obvious ways how vital gesture and expression are to movement and choreography. Sheila presented very well and maintained a good rapport with the students. I was impressed with her clarity, humor and thorough approach to the material. –Mary Grady Norkus, Durham Academy
This residency leads participants through a collaborative creative process from choosing an initial idea and gathering material about it to performing their finished piece. They follow a structure for making progress on the piece. They learn about group dynamics and healthy group practices such as equitable power-sharing and consensus building. They practice giving rigorous, positive critiques and revising their work-in-progress. As people progress from a simple idea to a composition in time and space that communicates intellectually, kinesthetically, and emotionally with an audience, they learn the fundamental, liberating truth that they can create their own worlds with their bodies, voices, and imaginations. This is the power, and the empowerment, inherent in participation in the performing arts.
This is a semester-long interdisciplinary course for performing arts and public policy students that investigates the potential for performance as a catalyst for social change by pursuing the question, “How can the process of creating a performance clarify community conflict, create dialogue around issues, unite people to oppose oppression, and/or effect change in people’s lives?” Working alongside a community group, students harness the power of performing art to create positive change around a social issue. This is a hands-on, participatory course.