What makes CCUSD turn out such fine thespians? Look no further than “Front and Center.” The Front and Center Theater Collaborative was formed to sustain and increase theatre education in CCUSD during the current economic downturn and beyond. The collaborative includes stakeholders from the Culver City Unified School District’s learning community, The Actors’ Gang, Center Theatre Group, We Tell Stories, Young Storytellers Foundation, The Culver City Education Foundation, the City of Culver City Cultural Affairs Department and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Additional supporters include, Chris and James Collins Foundation, Playa Vista, The Drown Foundation and Culver City PTA/Booster Clubs.
Here’s a snapshot of what Front and Center has been doing:
We Tell Stories
In 2010-2011, WTS performed On Our Feet in Open Court, an assembly program that dramatizes stories from the literacy program Open Court, for all CCUSD elementary schools. In addition, each elementary school received a professional development session from WTS founder and Master Teacher, Carl Weintraub on The WTS Method of Turning Stories into Plays and 4 in class sessions for all kindergarten and first-grade classes.
In 2011-2012, WTS will perform another popular assembly program for all CCUSD elementary schools chosen by the individual school. In-class sessions for all kindergarten and first-grade classes will continue with a total of five sessions per class offered to all elementary schools and thanks to the California Arts Council a total of 12 in-class sessions offered to El Marino’s first-grade Spanish classes.
The Actors’ Gang
In 2010-2011, AG’s afterschool programs served students at La Ballona Elementary, Linwood E. Howe Elementary, Culver City Middle School and CCHS Academy of Visual and Performing Arts. In 2011-2012 AG will continue and develop the after-school program by expanding enrollment to include all CCUSD elementary schools.
In 2011-2012, in addition to continuing the AG afterschool program, The Actors’ Gang will initiate and launch the Theatre Infusion Program (T.I.P.). AG will introduce this project to the sixth-grade Social Studies students at Culver City Middle School. The AG’s teaching artists collaborate with academic teachers in regards to curriculum, and then design a specific lesson plan to infuse decided upon elements of that curriculum to our concept and practice of “Composition.” “Composition” is an essential method of writing, research and exploration, utilized by The Actors’ Gang, in the process of creating original work.
Center Theatre Group
In 2010-2011, through CTG’s Young Audiences Program and Children and Family Program, CCUSD students and teachers attended performances of Venice, Circus INcognitus, The Glass Menagerie, Stories By Heart, 33 Variations and Les Miserables. Prior to each production, educators attended a conference exploring the themes and creative elements of the play using informative Educator Resources and thought-provoking Student Discovery Guides. Each performance included a pre-show introduction, a full-length production, post show discussion, and Q & A with cast members. In addition, as part of CTG’s ongoing relationship with the Culver City High School Academy of Visual & Performing Arts, CTG supported two set design residencies, one costume design residency, a film workshop and the
In 2011-2012, CTG will continue to offer students and teachers free access to select performances at the Kirk Douglas Theatre as well as opportunities to attend other performances at the Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum through their Target Young Audiences Program. Their relationship with Culver City High School’s Academy of Visual & Performing Arts also continues as they utilize their artistic resources to connect and support the AVPA curriculum in mentoring students and creating unique learning opportunities at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.
Young Storytellers Foundation
A recent addition to the collaborative, YSF has already been an active member of the Culver City community. In 2010-2011, YSF offered their writing program to La Ballona, Linwood E. Howe and El Rincon. In addition, YSF facilitated a short film project with a sixth-grade social studies class and provided on-set consultation for a directing project for the Culver City High School’s Academy of Visual & Performing Arts film department.
In 2011-2012, YSF will continue their work with the three elementary schools in the fall. YSF will work closely with Culver City Middle School and Culver City High School’s Academy of Visual & Performing Arts to create future learning opportunities. The mission of the Young Storytellers Foundation is to inspire children to discover the power of their own voice.