Theater Education for Disadvantaged Students

Feb 5, 2013

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe Project Report

Students from Rosa Parks Elementary
Students from Rosa Parks Elementary

Thank you for your generous support of Oregon Children’s Theatre!

OCT began the year 2013 with the classic story of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are four ordinary children until Lucy discovers a wardrobe that is really a gateway to the enchanted world of Narnia. The siblings find themselves in a scene of dazzling snow and in the center of a great conflict. All is cold, silent, and foreboding because the evil White Witch has cursed the land with eternal winter and turned many of her enemies to stone. But with the arrival of the children, the land begins to change, mur­murs of a prophecy surface, and rumors soon spread that Aslan, the beloved lion king, is going to return. As the children help Aslan free Narnia from the Witch, they learn lessons about kindness, courage, fear, treachery, loyalty, sacrifice, and forgiveness. C.S. Lewis’ beloved classic has inspired generations of young readers for more than 60 years.

Just under 16,000 students from ---- schools in Oregon and Southwest Washington have attended or will attend a school performance of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.. OCT provided full scholarships to 1091 students and partial scholarships to 1123 students. Teachers were offered a free professional development workshop in which they were able to observe a working tech rehearsal and have a Q&A session with the OCT production staff.

Seeing live theater is always a powerful experience for young people, and for many school audience members, it’s the only live arts experience they’ll have all year. Fan mail from students emphasizes the impact: “it was super fantastical—my favorite part was the whole thing.” “I did not want to leave, it was a blast.” Feedback from teachers illustrates that live theater is not only fun and engaging—it strengthens students’ appreciation of reading and language arts: “my students could not stop talking about [the play]. They were comparing their favorite parts, talking about what was funniest, and comparing it to the book.”

One of OCT’s goals as an organization is to provide school audiences with curriculum connections and opportunities for learning beyond students’ trip to the theater. Providing teachers with free resources is one of the ways that OCT deepens student experiences. Teachers receive complimentary tickets to preview performances and also attend backstage tours with OCT’s technical director. Each production also has a free teacher resource guide filled with discussion starters, activities tied to educational standards and learning goals, and reading resources provided by the Multnomah County Library.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe curriculum connections included:

  • Arts: Aesthetics and Criticism
  • Arts: Create, Present and Perform: Create, present and perform works of art.
  • Language Arts: Literature: Key Ideas and Details
  • Language Arts: Literature: Craft and Structure
  • Language Arts: Literature: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
  • Language Arts: Writing: Production and Distribution of Writing
  • Language Arts: Writing: Text Types and Purposes
  • Social Sciences: Historical Knowledge

The Big Ideas:

  • Courage
  • Self Sacrifice for the greater good
  • Resisting temptation and the easy way out
  • Growing up and becoming an adult
  • Learning to lead – being honest, proud, generous, forgiving, and kind

Read the The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe teacher resource guide HERE

Watch a video preview and interview with director Matthew Zrebski HERE

Please feel free to contact us if we can provide any additional information about The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe or Oregon Children's Theatre’s educational services for disadvantaged schools. Thank you again for your support!



For many, this experience is a first!
For many, this experience is a first!
Ready to be transported to another world!
Ready to be transported to another world!



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Project Leader

Rachel Tusler

Portland, OR United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Theater Education for Disadvantaged Students