Theatre Under The Stars' Program Brings the Magic of Theatre to Students Across the City

Theatre Under The Stars' Program Brings the Magic of Theatre to Students Across the City

As part of the Musicals for Young Audiences (MYA) Program, representatives from Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) recently delivered free copies of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach to students in 41 schools across 13 districts in the greater Houston area including La Porte ISD, Houston ISD, Fort Bend ISD and Spring Branch ISD.

One group of elementary school students from Treasure Forest Elementary School in particular were very excited to receive the books.

"As educators we are always finding ways to create scaffolds for scholars to be able to understand what they read independently and become successful learners. This program is supporting our future Hispanic leaders to be able to make connections to a higher level by visualizing the characters, inferring about what their minds recreated while reading the book, activating their higher thinking, inspiring them to dream and fostering their limitless curiosity, as well as preparing them to go to college through the power of the arts," said Felipe Acosta, Bilingual Educator and Fourth Grade Leader at Treasure Forest Elementary School.

The MYA Program, which began in 2007, marries the work on stage with literary development. Each spring TUTS produces a musical with a literary connection through the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT) as part of the MYA Program, where children from area elementary schools are invited to come see the production in Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Crystal Williams, a 4th grade STEM, CS & Robotics Educator at Elmore Elementary School said "Our students carry their James and the Giant Peach books everywhere, even to lunch!"

Since its inception, the MYA Program has reached over 72,000 children. For many young students, it is not only their first time seeing live theatre, but also their first visit to downtown Houston.

"The MYA Program is at the core of our mission here at HSMT and at the heart of what our goals are as an institution. It provides the first chance many of these children have to even come to Downtown Houston, much less actually see a production," said Dave Clemmons, Dean, Director of Education for Theatre Under The Stars. "Providing the opportunity for children to study a story in the classroom and then to come to TUTS and see that same story come to life on the stage is a magical and meaningful experience for them. It provides an essential element of an understanding of the arts as it involves full immersion and insight into the artistic process and product."

This spring, the MYA Program is presenting JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, JR. and attendance is expected to be almost 3,700 students.

The MYA Program is made possible through the generous support of our sponsors: Accenture, Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, The CFP Foundation, ConocoPhillips, Enbridge, H-E-B Tournament of Champions, Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation, LyondellBasell, KPMG and Schlumberger. Children's MemoriAl Hermann Hospital is the official healthcare partner of Theatre Under The Stars and the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre.

Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is Houston's leading Musical Theatre Company since 1968, with a focus on education and community engagement. TUTS is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization that relies on the generous support of our donors to deliver first-rate theatre experiences. For more information, please visit www.tuts.com.

Founded in 1972, the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT), the nationally-recognized educational wing of Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS), offers the only technique-based musical theatre training program in the Houston area. HSMT educates and develops musical theatre students of all ages and is fully committed to providing our community with the very best in performing arts education. Focusing on the principle of process over product, students learn the fundamentals of musical theater performance through year-round courses, productions, workshops, and master classes, all geared toward equipping students with the tools they need to be successful in musical theatre and in life. Visit TUTS.com/hsmt for more information!

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