FAU Theatre Lab Offers Free Virtual Educational Programming for Youth

By polly burks | 8/2/2020

Theatre Lab, the professional resident company of Florida Atlantic University, is excited to begin the 2020-21 season of Educational Outreach programming with the Future PAGES Project. In accordance with necessary distancing guidelines, the program will be presented virtually this year, and is open to all students in fourth through 12th grade regardless of location free of charge thanks to generous funding from the Heckscher Foundation for Children.

The Future PAGES Project, Theatre Lab’s fall Educational Outreach program will provide these students with the opportunity to experience theater and writing in a new way. 

“In pre-COVID times, Theatre Lab Teaching Artists would present a writing workshop at a school or educational facility, then students would attend a field trip to FAU for a live theatrical performance at Theatre Lab followed by a talkback with the actors and director,” said Matt Stabile, producing artistic director. “This program is at the core of what we do. This challenging time has given us the unique opportunity to create something new, and distance learning will allow us to broaden our reach even further, serving even more students than before.”

The inspiration gained from those experiences helped students to create their own personal story to submit to Theatre Lab for possible selection for a six-week writing intensive, where students created their own production using their original work. 

“In our mission to support teachers and students in this challenging time, we have modified all programs to fit distance learning and support teachers as much as possible, and are so excited to share this new way of learning and creating,” said Jill Carr, director of education and community outreach.  “Due to COVID-19 safety regulations, staging and recording of a full production this fall is not an option. In its place, we are spending this year in pre-production for the amazing, larger-than-life show, “The Impracticality of Modern Day Mastodons,” by Rachel Teagle, to be produced and performed next fall. And who would be better suited to help us bring this show to life than your own audience of brilliant student artists?”   

The initial story submission will give all students the opportunity to apply for a six-week intensive, where they will turn their writing into their own original (virtual) show. As a bonus, the creative work completed in the residencies will have the chance to be featured on our site and used in the actual production designs.

“Our mission to inspire, develop, and produce new work, audiences, and artists is directly linked to education outreach,” said Lou Tyrrell, founding director. “Watching the students work together to bring their own work to life is magic, and an experience that will stay with them for life.”

All partner schools receive a standards-aligned curriculum guide containing lesson plans, assignments and rubrics, with a wide variety of additional lesson plans available upon request. 

“There are few things more powerful than a child who has found their voice, and few people asked to do the impossible more often than teachers,” said Carr. “Now more than ever, students and teachers need our support, and it is my honor and passion to be able to provide this unique educational and creative experience through this program.”

The program officially begins Monday, Aug. 31. For more information on how the program works, including a brief overview video of previous programs, and how schools can take advantage of this free program, visit Theatre Lab’s website at www.fau.edu/theatrelab.