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Booking Open For Award-Winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's Oskar Tour

Booking is now open for TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's award-winning Oskar tour, travelling to Bay Area schools in Spring 2020. Developed in an effort to help today's K-5 students develop the resiliency and coping strategies needed to deal with bullying at school, and to increase sensitivity and discussing gender stereotypes, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's Education program will present the West Coast Premiere of Oskar and the Big Bully Battle, Part 2 as well as Oskar and the Countless Costume Changes, written by award-winning playwrights Prince Gomolvilas and Matt Ackels. The Oskar tour runs March 2 - April 10, 2020, and will travel to schools in the South Bay, Peninsula, East Bay, Marin, and San Francisco. To contact TheatreWorks Education about scheduling an assembly, schools may email or call 650-463-7146.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's ongoing Oskar Tour has reached more than 100,000 students throughout the Bay Area, receiving positive feedback from students, teachers, administrators, and parents. While all Oskar plays deal with their subject matter in a humorous fashion, they create conversations that can inform and impact on student behavior.

"The Oskar shows are high energy and big fun," says TheatreWorks Director of Education Lisa Edsall Giglio, "The playful style of each story engages students, and Oskar invites students to laugh, listen, and learn about topics they are concerned about and wrestle with in and out of school. Our goal is to generate ongoing conversation students can share in school and at home with a combination of a study guide, Oskar show, and Q & A with the cast after the show."

Following up on an Oskar Tour favorite, Oskar and his friends are back in Oskar and the Big Bully Battle, Part 2. Making its West Coast Premiere, this show is designed to give K-5 students the tools needed to handle and understand the epidemic of bullying that occurs in schools every day. When schoolyard scuffles leave everyone confused, Oskar plays detective and takes on the biggest cases of his career. While the previous show introduced the idea of bullies, victims, Bystanders, and Upstanders, this playground whodunit digs deeper into the bullying epidemic and invites audiences to understand the bully-victim cycle. Oskar and the Big Bully Battle, Part 2 cleverly incorporates and builds upon research which reveals that many bullies are victims of bullying themselves. This hilarious and mysterious sequel continues to encourage students to stand up for victims but also teaches them how to express empathy for bullies-hopefully moving everybody closer to breaking the vicious cycle. Actors use the techniques shared by many schools to call out and define Upstanders, Bystanders and Victims.

In Oskar and the Countless Costume Changes, Oskar fulfills his dream of directing the school play. However, when he tries to cast his show, a backstage brouhaha starts brewing. Beth feels brave and wants to play the Knight. Frank doesn't see why he can't wear a crown and play the princess. Oskar, who initially believes that only boys can do Kung Fu and only girls can be gentle, is challenged by how his friends feel. In the end, Oskar discovers that when his friends are allowed to shine for who they are, everyone is happy-and his play is a success. This contemporary farce tackles gender stereotypes head-on and encourages audiences to practice understanding and empathy. Oskar and the Countless Costume Changes was originally commissioned, developed, and produced by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and the Palo Alto Unified School District as a part of their partnership with Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program.

This year's Oskar tour includes three professional Bay Area actors ready to tell the story of Oskar and his friends. Jomar Martinez will play the beloved 10-year-old Oskar. Seen as Frank and other roles in TheatreWorks's 2019 Oskar Tour, Martinez has performed on stages across the Bay Area, including San Jose Repertory Theatre, City Lights Theater Company, Foothill Music Theatre, and Palo Alto Players.

Playing the roles of friends, classmates, teachers, and more are Tanya Marie and Max Seijas. Marie has worked internationally on an array of film, television, theater, musical theater, and voiceover projects. She has been seen onstage at San Jose Stage Company, Z Space, and New Hampton Theatre. Seijas's credits include performances at Custom Made Theatre, Left Coast Theatre Company, and Quantum Dragon Theatre.

TheatreWorks Director of Education Lisa Edsall Giglio directs this year's productions of Oskar and the Big Bully Battle, Part 2 and Oskar and the Countless Costume Changes. With over 20 years of experience, Giglio is an accomplished arts administrator, educator, director, teaching artist, and theater artist. Her experience in education includes positions with the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, University of San Francisco, California State East Bay, Alameda County of Education, and Harlem School of the Arts. Giglio was the Tour Manager and Company Manager for San Francisco's Pickle Family Circus and England's Fin de Siecle. Additionally, Giglio has directed for award-winning Bay Area companies that include Woman's Will, Rough Theatre, fablewood productions, Center for Imaginary Solutions, Playwrights Center of San Francisco, and the Playwrights Foundation. She has also directed for various companies in the U.K. Giglio earned a BA in theatre from San Francisco State University, an MFA in directing from Middlesex University in London, and an EdD in education from the University of San Francisco.

Reaching 20,000 students each year, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's education programs include in-school classes that focus on theatre-based arts integration and playwriting, popular summer camps, and the Children's Healing Project, a theatre-based therapeutic arts education program serving hospitalized children and their families with drama workshops and bedside visits at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, El Camino Eating Disorders Unit, and the Ronald McDonald House. TheatreWorks also enjoys a partnership with the Kennedy Center of Washington D.C. that includes the Palo Alto Unified School District and Stanford Live.

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary Season, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is the recipient of the 2019 Regional Theatre Tony Award. With over 100,000 patrons per year, the Palo Alto-based theatre company has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country.

Media sponsor for TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's 2019/2020 season is the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGATE.

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