Archive for September 27th, 2017

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Who Are They? Portland Stage – Part 1

September 27, 2017

Introducing

Portland Stage, located in Portland, Maine, offers vital theater arts education to learners ages 4-18 through our In-Theater and In-School programming. All classes and workshops are taught by professionally trained Teaching Artists and focus on literacy, cultural awareness, collaborative play, and creative thinking. Our teaching philosophy highlights process over product, deepening students’ ability to analyze, synthesize, and think critically while making connections to the thoughts and ideas behind the written word. This is one of a series of 6 blog posts outlining who we are and what we do, brought to you by Hannah Cordes, Education Manager, and Julianne Shea, Education Administrator. These posts will appear September 27 through November 1, 2017, on Wednesday’s.

Hannah Cordes Education Manager & Julianne Shea Education Administrator Photo by Aaron Flacke

Portland Stage Education is a literacy-based program dedicated to empowering imaginative storytelling, playful collaboration, effective communication, and boundless creativity.  From In-Theater to In-School programming, our work is always student-driven and geared towards inspiring students to bring literature and characters alive in new and exciting ways. We offer programming for ages 4-18 throughout the state of Maine.

Education has always been a part of Portland Stage’s mission, but 2010 marks an important moment in our program’s history. Susie Konkel had the vision to create a space and program for young people in Maine to connect them to Portland Stage and, thanks to her generous support, we were able to realize that vision. In 2010, we opened our Theater for Kids space and expanded our education programming to further serve Maine youth through theatrical training, exploration, and creation. Then, in 2012, an anonymous donor established Culture Club-Portland, a consortium with the goal of providing free arts experiences to every child in Portland Public Schools each academic year. Culture Club-Portland includes Portland Stage, the Portland Museum of Art, Portland Ovations, and the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Out of this innovative program, Portland Stage’s In-School programming was born. We now proudly work with all of the Portland Public Schools and continue to expand our In School programming throughout the state of Maine.

Our In-Theater programs include the Play Me a Story dramatic reading series for ages 4-10, Vacation and Summer Camps, After School Classes, and Training Intensives and Workshops. This year, we are thrilled to be establishing a Shakespeare Teen Company that will put on a production of Macbeth this spring.

Our In-School programs include the PLAY program for elementary school students, Directors Lab touring Shakespeare productions, Student Matinees of our mainstage season, and workshops with students and teachers in their classrooms. Cynthia Loring, Principal at Presumpscot Elementary in Portland, shared that “We have seen the impact of this program in our students. Teachers report that they see a new confidence in students and they are ‘more willing to take chances to perform in front of a group. It’s more natural to them.’ The skills our students learn from these visiting artists translate to the work they do in their classrooms. One teacher noted, ‘I have seen a difference in my student’s fluency and inflection when reading aloud–’”. We are extremely grateful to the teachers and administrators who have partnered with us in the past and look forward to continuing to build relationships with more schools as our program continues to grow.

Interested in learning more about this program? Email education@portlandstage.org or call 207-774-1043 ext. 104 .

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