WHAT IS ON STAGE?
Wendy Knox, Maria Asp and Rajané Brown at St. Catherine University facilitating an On Stage discussion about Marie and Rosetta
On Stage is designed to enhance in-class learning, to make local theater relevant to younger and non-traditional audiences, and to lay the groundwork for building future theater attendance.
On Stage is a theater outreach program that brings actors and theater educators into classrooms and community settings around the Twin Cities. Actors and students read scenes from a play in current local production followed by a lively discussion of the themes tying in current events, personal values and narratives, and stimulating critical thinking. Subsequently attending the full play is encouraged.
The event/discussion is one-hour in length (10 minutes to introduce the play, 20 minutes for the actors to read two scenes from the play, and 30 minutes for a discussion with the students). We assume that students have not seen the show and know nothing about it prior to our visit.
On Stage continues to focus on partnering with more small/mid-sized theaters that don’t have the resources for their own outreach efforts, and the plays we choose to promote and discuss highlight a variety of social, cultural and political issues.
UPDATE: Since Covid hit in March, we had to pivot and launch a new education experience for students. This new online program, OnStage/OnLine, is a series of discussions based on plays that are ‘in the works’ to be produced and performed in the Twin Cities in the future, designed to: stimulate an interest in live theater, examine the cultural context of a play, and, of course, to have fun! We offer students a discounted ticket voucher to see the play being discussed or a different play presented by the same theater at a later date.
Total number of On Stage in-class and community setting discussions covering eighteen plays: 176
Total number of students and community members On Stage has visited and exposed to local theater: 4,571
Total number of students and community members who have paid to see the show before or after our discussions: 1,317
29% of the students and community members we visited saw the play that was discussed.
ON STAGE ACTS AS A LIAISON BETWEEN THEATERS, COLLEGES, HIGH
SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY SETTINGS TO HELP BUILD CONNECTIONS
FOR POTENTIAL FUTURE THEATER-GOERS.
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES:
St. Thomas University, University of Minnesota, St. Catherine University, Metro State University, Augsburg College, Macalester College, Concordia University, Hamline University, Bethel University, Minneapolis Community & Technical College, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Normandale Community College, North Hennepin Community College, Hennepin Technical College, Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies
Communications, Sociology, Theater, English - Creative Writing, English - Literature, History, Education, Psychology, Music, Family Social Sciences, Leadership, Linguistics, Law, Environmental Science, Political Science, Women and Gender Studies, African American Studies, Addiction Studies, Culinary Arts.
Washburn High School, South High School, Southwest High School, Perpich Center for Arts Education, Harding High School
East Freedom Library, Shoreview Library, Sumner Community Public Library, Mill City Commons, Abiitan Mill City, Grandview Square, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, First Covenant Church, Hazelden Betty Ford
Students and younger audiences - Strengthening critical thinking skills and sparking emotional responses. Theater educators use theater to blend the arts and other educational disciplines to enhance in-class learning beyond the classroom. Students learn about the local theater community in the Twin Cities.
Teachers and community organizers - Shows teachers how theater can compliment academic content and for community organizers to see the relevance of local theater productions.
Twin Cities Theaters - Marketing and outreach that reaches a wide range of younger and non-traditional theater audiences including a variety of college departments. On Stage also helps create a continuous link between teachers, community organizers and theaters.
On Stage has partnered with the following Twin Cities Theaters: Mixed Blood Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Jungle Theater, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, Pillsbury House Theatre, Frank Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Yellow Tree Theatre, New Dawn Theatre, and Theater Latte Da.
Actors/theater educators - Gives actors creative freedom to build curriculum and to teach and discuss themes in plays in their own way. On Stage intends to be a fun and interactive experience for actors/theater educators that they might not have in more traditional teaching settings and post show discussions at theater venues.
"The conversation worked beautifully with the discussions that we have been having in class and especially with the material that I have been presenting in my lectures."
Diana Dean - Professor at Metro State University
Thanks for exposing [my students] to new ways to view the world, others, and themselves. That's exactly what I hope for in my classes and it was a joy to see it happen today! You all are welcome in my classes anytime.
Margaret Berg - Teacher at Southwest High School
NEW DATA from OnStage/OnLine:
Total number of students who participated in OnStage/OnLine discussions: 774
Of the students we talked to, 86% had seen a play before, but only 4% had ever seen a Frank Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre or Pillsbury House Theatre play.
Only 45% of the students we talked to had read about Nina Simone or listened to her music before our discussions.
When asked "when would you feel comfortable going to see a play",
33% answered "Now... but if it was socially distant AND masks were required"
26% answered "Not quite yet... but soon and when it feels safe"
24% answered "NOW"
17% answered "Not until most people have taken the vaccine"
97% of students said that the discussion added to their fuller understanding to what they have been discussing in class.
93% of students said that as a result of the discussion, they are more inclined to see this play when it is presented at a theater.
96% of students said that after participating in the discussion, they are more inclined to see OTHER live theater productions.
Note: This survey was issued to participants in twenty-seven of the forty-four discussions.