Musical Theatre Camp ignites emotional, intellectual, and creative growth

What an awesome musical theatre camp we had over these past 3 weeks! Four age levels of ensemble productions performed at the Palladium Theatre, and we're so proud of our teams of young artists. Our professional teaching artists guide students through a collaborative artistic process that ignites emotional, intellectual, and creative growth. And it showed in all 4 performances last night!

We are so grateful for the support from Creative Pinellas that allows us to provide professional development for our teaching artists. They each have their own unique process and expertise, so our training sessions inspire our already-amazing teaching artists to explore various educational methods and artistic techniques, as well as provide best practices in conflict resolution, and inclusion for neurodiverse students.

This photo was taken during the dress rehearsal of our K-2nd grade group performing FREDDIE THE FROG AND THE JUNGLE JAZZ with teaching artists Mikayla Philips and Ava Zisman.

Getting Ready for 'The Big Bad Musical!'

Miss Sarah is working with students in the 6-8 grade class as they learn blocking and choreography for the opening of their show, The Big Bad Musical!

The Bid Bad Wolf is on trial for crimes against other characters in the enchanted forest.

Each day students spend time learning the vocal score, practicing choreography and working on character study. Looking forward to the performance at the Palladium next Thursday night at 5pm!

Vocal warm-ups begin & WRIGHT!...a pop-rap musical takes flight on July 20th

Welcome to Session 5, Musical Theatre Production Camp! Over the next 3 weeks, students in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 will rehearse and perform fully produced one-act musicals. All performances are open to the public and will take place on Thursday, July 20th, 5 pm at The Palladium.

We're extra excited for the NEW musical: WRIGHT! Our 3rd-5th grade students are working with Miss Molly, Mr. Patrick, and Miss Alex to warm up their voices in this featured video. WRIGHT! is a pop-rap musical (HAMILTON-style) about the journey of the Wright brothers. 

Stay tuned for more exciting news with our Summer Camp next week.

Musical Theatre at Camp take a Journey through Music Genres

This week at camp we are all delving into the world of musical theatre! The K-2nd graders are exploring the Beatles with Teaching Artists Molly Healy (actor/playwright) and Ally Thomas (actor/stage manager). The 3rd-5th graders are learning Thriller with Sadie Lockhart (actor/choreographer) and Mikayla Phillips (actor/voice coach). The middle schoolers are creating a medley using the classic musical Grease with Teaching Artists Jaye Sheldon (voice coach/playwright) and Patrick Jackson (actor/choreographer). The 9th-12th graders in Teen Summer Institute are performing scenes and songs from Hairspray with Teaching Artists Alison Burns (actor/choreographer from the recent American Stage production of the same title) and William Bryant (actor/music director). This week's final sharing is going to be a colorful and delightful journey across music genres! Check out the students learning their choreography!

From Facebook Post to a Student Play

Session 3: Young Storytellers, On the Horizon

On Monday (the first day of this camp session), we posted this quote on Facebook.

"I'm so happy to be in a place where everyone is thought of as equal."
-6th-8th grade student, Session 3: Young Storytellers, On the Horizon

A parent instantly commented on it:

"My son came home so excited from camp today...When he came home he immediately started writing his own play. Thank you so much for providing an environment where he felt welcome and comfortable...He is always so worried about fitting in. He had really worked himself up that he wasn't going to be 'good' at camp. The fact that he gave up going to his JiuJitsu class to write this, really says how happy he was."

She then sent us his AMAZING story:

by Jack Tierney

Ever since 2014, hikers and adventurers have gone missing without a trace. I decided to investigate one day. Here is my diary…

10:30 Pm, June 15, 2015

In the black of night, I finally reached my destination. Whokai Forest, Panama. In one hand, I had a flashlight. I crept into the woods, pushing away undergrowth. I suddenly noticed this strange red light shooting up into the stars. When I got to the source, I discovered it was some sort of marking beacon. Then I saw little white lights leading in a path. It was a long path but when I reached the end of the road…

10:38 Pm, June 15, 2015

I saw the most amazing sight. A simply ENORMOUS UFO. It must have been the size of a 2-story house. No, no, it was MANSION SCALE. It looked exactly how most sci-fi UFOs are pictured. On a certain area, it read: “A B E L”

Just below that, strange symbols were organized something like this (btw: Key: 1 = upwards facing horseshoe shape, 2 = downwards of the same thing.) 2112 21 2 121

This miraculous figure was hovering 5 feet or so above the ground. A hatch that was apparently on the bottom opened. And out of it came a whole squad of Grey aliens (humanoid beings with weird grey heads (hence the nickname), black “clothing”, and big, black eyes that looked like they were made of glass.) They looked around. They saw me. They slowly walked toward me. I, meanwhile, gave them a nasty look. They turned their heads curiously. Then they somehow (even though they didn’t have eyebrows) looked very angry. And then I ran. I looked back only twice. But they were gone. I ran to home. And ever since that day, I have never gone to that area again. Ever.

07:26 Am, June 16, 2015

The next morning, I turned on the news. Local people have nicknamed the Whokai Forest (the place where those adventurers vanished) “Area 13”. I’ve heard of Area 51, but this is taking it to the next level! Could the disappearing people have been abducted? Who knows? But in the meantime, keep an eye out for ABEL… And if grey aliens come out of it, RUN FOR IT. And Don’t. Look. BACK.


Fun Learning Under the Sea!

Our Acting Explorers: Under the Sea class (grades K-2) created and sketched their sea creature characters! After making these cool drawings, they sat down to discuss, and brainstorm character names. Miss Sarah's schedule is on the board and keeping everyone looped into the fun with concepts explored in our Teaching Artist training, like the story structure prompts listed in blue ink. You'll also see the acronyms CROW, as students are learning the essential elements of any story: Characters, Relationships, Objectives, and Whereabouts. There is so much "fun-learning" this week in Under the Sea!

American Stage Summer Camp & Teen Summer Institute have begun!

American Stage Summer Camp & Teen Summer Institute have begun! Students in grades K-12 studied comedy this week with our fantastic Teaching Artists: Ricky Wayne, Hunter Brown, Molly Healy, Sarah Pullman-Atanacio, and Ally Thomas. 

In this video, you'll see Miss Molly leading a warm-up activity with her K-2nd grade class, Silly Seuss! She taught this super-fun activity to the entire Teaching Artist team during our summer staff training in last month. She calls it "Hit the Slopes!" Students stretch and then imitate the movement of skiing as they twist from side to side to get their muscles warm for the day as they make bold physical choices. Stayed tuned for updates about the teaching artists and our Summer Camp and Teen Summer Institute!



American Stage Education & Outreach Teaching Artists reach students throughout Tampa Bay with award-winning summer programs and Write On! Pinellas outreach drama clubs and playwriting residencies empowering students to be bolder, wiser and more compassionate onstage and in life. 
Our faculty of 25 professional Teaching Artists (TAs) work and train across our outreach and fee-based programs. Each project serves students in grades K-12 with learning objectives that empower artistic, intellectual, & socio-emotional growth. Summer Camp & Teen Institute reaches 600 students/year. Instruction, performance opportunities, and life skills enhance both academic and professional pursuits. Write On! Pinellas outreach residencies focus on playwriting and devised theatre production, occurring in 7 Pinellas County Public Schools throughout each school year.

In order to increase the impact of our TAs, we conduct professional development training with modules on teaching neurodiverse students, cultural sensitivity, and conflict resolution.  Required trainings for TAs help create accessible environments encouraging collaboration among socio-economically diverse classrooms for summer sessions/outreach residencies.

For the first time in the history of American Stage, Write On! Pinellas residencies will be led by TAs trained in inclusion facilitation.  The number of Inclusion Facilitators (IFs) increases from 7 to 9 for summer sessions, creating 2 new jobs for TAs.

Each TA works with the Director of Education/Outreach, creating a unique curriculum for each program they lead.  Before independently leading a class, every TA completes an internal certification program, requiring 24 Assistant-TA classroom hours, and curriculum development training. All TAs receive ongoing training in directing, playwriting, working with special needs, diversity, and conflict resolution.

Each season over 21,000 students and adults participate in over 60 classes/theatre experiences.  50% of TAs have been facilitating our programs for over three years.  

Providing enhanced training modules focused on accessibility & diversity across our TA Programs, ensures safe, supportive, collaborative learning environments for students. By focusing on the inclusion of neurodiverse students and building cultural appreciation, TAs break boundaries of participation. Not only does this elevate the creative, intellectual, and social development of our students, it also raises the artistic and social relevance of student work and performances.

Both 2017 Summer & Fall Teaching Artist trainings are required, and apply to all TAs, Assistant TAs, and IFs who work with us throughout the school year. The professional development training component of this project broadens the impact of our faculty year-round, as TAs lead Write On! Drama Clubs and Playwriting Residencies in the fall and spring semesters, in addition to year-round classes and summer sessions.  Trainings equip TAs through artistic and curriculum development, classroom management, working with students with special needs, and fostering culturally accepting classrooms through positive communication with students, teachers, and parents.

As students take pride in their high-quality artistic accomplishments, they too return to our programs and continue to bring their families to the theatre. This is key to future audience development while fostering an artistic and culturally aware community in Pinellas County.