School Artists-in-Residence Program Overview
Over the past 18 years Theatre Prospero has given thousands of Alberta Children aged 5-18 the chance to discover their creative powers, they make theatre with our mentorship. While we continue to offer Residencies grounded in Shakespeare, we increasingly offer Residencies where students can discover the richness of stories from other mythologies and backgrounds including Indigenous, South Asian African and other cultural worlds.
We offer a wide range of options for residencies, but the general format is as follows. We bring 3-8 professional theatre artists into a school to mentor 15-250 students for 1-15 days as they create a piece of theatre form 15 to 90 minutes long. The students share this with their school and/or community. Often the piece is a version of one of Shakespeare’s plays. Sometimes it is a piece grounded in mythology and the students’ imaginations. Sometimes it’s their adaptation to of a Shakespeare to another culture or cosmology. At times our actors perform with the students, but often the students do it all themselves. Students who want to support the piece without acting do so through mentored technical theatre and design.
The Impact of Arts Education
There are many positive stories about the impact of this work on students and schools. Over and over, we have seen students who do not shine in academics or athletics amaze themselves and their peers by excelling on stage. In Chief Napeweaw School, Frog Lake First Nation, one residency led to another, and this momentum led to a drama program, and a theatre. Other schools and communities have sprouted drama clubs and societies after our visits. The academic benefits are substantial, especially when they are learning one of Shakespeare’s plays by acting in them. Many successful theatre professionals got their start in our residencies. Thousands of children and youth who otherwise would not have had the chance got to be in a play because we came to their school. That is a chance every child should have, at least once.
Finally, there is a beautiful sense of unity that comes over a school that comes together to put on a play. Students learn teamwork, discipline, commitment, and they learn to share, speak and listen better. Maybe most importantly, the youth who may have forgotten how get to play again.
If you are interested in learning more about our School Artists-in-Residence Program, please contact us for more information.