FST and Brentwood Elementary Create A NIGHT IN THE MUSEUM

FST and Brentwood Elementary Create A NIGHT IN THE MUSEUM

Florida Studio Theatre is working with all students in grades 3, 4, and 5 at Brentwood Elementary School for A Night in the Museum. Through a series of arts integration workshops, just under 700 students in grades 3, 4, and 5 have been busy rehearsing for their debut performance on May 6 at the school, which will feature an array of music, dance, spoken word, and short plays while incorporating the school's social studies curriculum.

It was a talk given by FST Director of Education, Beth Duda, on the education program at Florida Studio Theatre that planted the first seed of this collaboration. The original expectation of the project was to complete a few workshops with students of one grade to expose them to their own creative potential. However, when Duda spoke with Brentwood Elementary's principal, John Weida, to begin the planning stages of this project, that all changed. What was intended to be a few workshops with a few select classrooms, has turned into a school-wide effort of many different grade levels all working together to create an entire evening of performances.

Duda describes the initial development of this project stating, "When I first met with Mr. Weida, I went in prepared to talk to him about doing an Arts Integration project with just one grade level at Brentwood. He had already begun to see the positive impact of hiring Kris Powell as a dance teacher, and just a short time into our conversation he said, 'I don't want to do this with a grade level, I want to do a project that will involve the whole school.' He had already selected the title of A Night in the Museum, but hadn't yet figured out the content or the logistics. We quickly put a plan together, and the support and enthusiasm of Mr. Weida and his staff along with the teaching artists of Florida Studio Theatre have electrified the campus."

There will be three performance areas presenting 15 to 20 minutes of the show at a time. This will allow each family in attendance to rotate through all the performances and view the connected visual artwork in a one and a half hour time frame. The evening will kick-off with a performance by the pre-kindergarten students as the audience is arriving.

Brentwood's Principal John Weida, has been instrumental in the development and creation of this unique project, along with the help of Lana Boardman, Jenn Greenan, and Angela Hartvigsen, and all the many educators helping to make this night a reality. Director of education, Beth Duda, expressed her passion towards this partnership stating, "What I love about this show is that the kids are learning about theatre, dance, and music combined with language arts and things they are already learning in school. There is not a kid in this show who will be stumped about any part of the Declaration of Independence."

The first performance area will showcase the third grade and kindergarten classes as they explore the five regions of the United States through music, dance, and spoken word poetry. At the second area, fourth and first graders will explore Florida history and geography through the creation and performance of two short plays. The third and final performance area will highlight the talented second and fifth graders as they create memorable portrayals of important men and women from American history in a wax museum and a musical number inspired by the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence.

To prepare the students for this grand evening, FST teaching artists have been hard at work administering seven workshops that will guide students through what is for many of them, their first rehearsal or theatrical experience. Through this partnership, FST and Brentwood Elementary are utilizing visual art, music, dance, and theatre to enhance curriculum within the school creating a fun and engaging outlet for each student's own individual creative expression.

FST is proud to be a partner with Brentwood Elementary for this Night in the Museum filled with music, dance, performance, and fun for all.

About Florida Studio Theatre: Known as Sarasota's Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company eventually settled down into a permanent home, acquiring the former Woman's Club building - now renamed the Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the renovated Gompertz Theatre, the Goldstein Cabaret, the John C. Court Cabaret, and Bowne's Lab Theatre.

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. Under Richard Hopkins, Artistic Director and CEO, FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.

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