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Building Community Through the Arts

December 5, 2015

Last month

IMG_20151101_1031521-768x1024MAAE Building Community Through the Arts theater residencies were in full swing last month at Piscataquis County Secondary School in Guilford and Penquis Valley High School in Milo. The students of Joseph Hennessey’s two senior English classes in PCSS worked with teaching artist Jeri Pitcher to creatively engage with their reading of Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. At Penquis Valley HS teaching artist Beverly Mann worked with Chad Emery’s College Prep 10 English class as well as with Mr. Emery’s small (but very enthusiastic!) drama class. The classes performed their works at the Center Theatre in Dover Foxcroft on October 27th and November 3rd. For the three English classes this was the students’ first time on a stage, and even for the drama class it was the students’ first attempt at creating theater. Parents and members of the community also attended the performances, and all had an opportunity to watch compelling works, each exploring social themes that the students had chosen.  To learn about these theater pieces and see photos, visit MAAE’s website, http://www.maineartsed.org.

In post-performance discussions the students in all four classes talked about the program’s creative process through group improvisation as giving them a new sense of closeness with one another. Penquis Valley English teacher Chad Emery spoke about his admiration for the students’ work and about the combined impact of the program: “The program helps bring students closer together as evolving 21st century problem solvers. Teachers are able to witness these future leaders’ dynamic flexibility, creativity, and innate inspiration.  In seeing our students on stage, we see ourselves and all that the future has in store.”

Building Community Through the Arts in Piscataquis County was supported by funding from the Piscataquis County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation and the Maine Arts Commission.

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