Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A note from Fairview's Principal on collaborating with a theatre

Our relationship with Northlight has come at a good time because I have very open teachers who see the value of having studentsparticipate in theatre workshops and attend professional theatricalperformances. Without buy-in from theteachers who will be asked to coordinate events and miss students for normalclasses, the success of our program would not have been as great. I think that it was critical to be involvedas the Principal to select lead teachers who I knew would be receptive to thistype of experience and would view it as a great opportunity for the studentsrather than an encumbrance on their curriculum.

The students at Fairview have greatly enjoyed the chance to be creative in a purposeful way when the artists have come on-site to discuss the plays and play several acting games. Each time, the kids are very active and I am surprised by the students who step up in this setting. Some times this has been the student who behaves timidly in the classroom, but can open up in a more creative environment. Each time our students have gone to see a production at Northlight, they are not only experiencing professional theatre, but building etiquette skills on how to purport themselves in this type of environment. Hopefully, events such as these, early on in their education life will spur a life-long appreciation for the theatre.

Finally, Fairview has a tremendous auditorium facility with updated sound and lighting systems. For the previous 15 years, the space had been dormant when it came to developing a middle school theatre production. This was viewed as a gaping hole in our otherwise robust extracurricular offerings. With the help of Northlight,we are in the second year of Northlight on Campus. This group has opened up a vehicle of school participation for an entire new sub-group of students and we are anxiously awaiting their second production in April of this year. The artists who have led this group have been wonderful to work with and have developed high quality experiences for the students. We have been extremely pleased with the relationships formed with students and the type of training received by participants.

-David Russo
Middle School Principal
Fairview South School, Skokie, IL

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