Teach Literacy through the Arts in DC, MD, and VA

May 27, 2014

A New Residency: Learning to Build an Ensemble

"That's weird." We had just started the first activity of the first day of a new residency at the Oakcrest Community Center in Capitol Heights and already I had a student who didn't know how to react to what I was throwing at him. We were going through the four actor's tools of Body, Voice, Mind, and Imagination, using our bodies and voices to show each tool. Fortunately, after a few sessions, we have learned to all be "weird" together as we learn about storytelling, theatre and team-building in our after-school residency. Now the students make requests of me for activities they want to do and they even lead some of the warm-ups that may have seemed a little weird to them on our first day.

This partnership between the Washington Performing Arts (formerly WPAS) and the PG County Department of Parks and Recreation is a five-session residency where I am working with students from grades 2-6 to create our own version of the story of Thumbelina that we will perform for their parents during our last session. The students also now know that team-building for us is called ensemble-building (one of our French theatre words) and that our goal is not the performance, but what we learn in our process together.

Thank you so much for being a part of this process so that opportunities such as this residency are made possible!


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Project Leader

Arianna Ross

Germantown, Maryland United States

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